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Facility Inspections

The safety and security of our players, volunteers, and spectators has always been a major consideration of Babe Ruth League, Inc.  Over the years, we have been proud to provide you with valuable input and services to help you provide a safe environment for everyone at youth baseball and softball games and tournaments.

It is important that you continually inspect your facility to make sure its design and layout meet all current standards, regulations, codes and guidelines.  Whenever necessary, facilities must be redesigned, refurbished or abandoned if they do not meet the prescribed codes and regulations.

Listed below are facility considerations and other recommendations to use as a general guide for baseball/softball facilities.

PARKING

  • Capacity – 1 parking space per 3 seats
  • Parking Surface – should meet local code
  • Handicapped Accessibility—parking closest to and accessibility to facility entrance
  • Bus Spaces—within reasonable walking distance

REST ROOMS

  • 1 Location per gender
    • Ratio—1 location per 150 women
    • 1 location per 250 men
  • 1 stall per 80 women
  • 1 stall per 350 men
  • 1 urinal per 100 men
  • Handicapped Accessibility—meet local, state and federal code—adequate accessibility per sex

DRINKING FOUNTAINS

  • Meet local, state and federal code

SEATING

  • Handicapped accessibility in each type of seating (box, reserved, general admission)
  • Meet local, state, and federal building codes

SOUND SYSTEM

  • Acoustically balanced for capacity and seating arrangements

PRESS/SCORE BOOTH

  • Accommodate scorer, public address announcer, scoreboard operator

BASEBALL PLAYING FIELD

  • Tarps – Circle cover for pitcher’s mound; covers for plate area; base area covers or infield cover

SOFTBALL PLAYING FIELD

  • Tarps:  Infield cover

Facility Checklist

ON FIELD

  • Surfaces—proper grading; no holes; no abrasive items/rocks; check for high/low spots
  • Bases—proper secured posts; no holes; bottom of home plate flat on playing surface
  • Running Paths/Sliding Zones are leveled off—no dips near bases
  • Skinned Areas—make sure they do not have unsafe wet spots and/or puddles
  • Fencing—bottom rail or properly buried; no holes or breaks; properly covered
  • Dugouts—screened; roofed; bat and helmet racks installed and secured
  • Pitcher’s mound—proper height and grading; no holes
  • Backstop—base properly buried; no holes or breaks
  • Warning track—minimum 10 feet from fence; no holes; no large rocks
  • Sprinklers—make sure they do not stick up above the dirt level to avoid tripping

OFF FIELD

Concession Stand

  • In compliance with local/state/federal codes
  • Appliances in working order
  • CO2 tanks secured
  • Smoke alarms/fire extinguishers working
  • Barbeque grills located away from exits
  • Barbeque grills propane tanks inspected
  • Cleaners/chemicals stored ay from foods
  • Boxes stored on shelves—off the floor and out of walkways
  • Customer doors or windows checked for safety
  • Pricing signs correct
  • Breakers boxes locked and grounded
  • Signage posted for proper emergency first aid in prominent area
  • Emergency phone numbers posted in prominent area

BLEACHERS

All Bleachers

  • In compliance with local/state/federal codes
  • Vertical opening between guardrails, footboards and seat boards should not exceed four inches
  • Cross bracing and footings on fixed bleachers should not move
  • No loose, missing or protruding nuts and bolts
  • Steps should be even and accessible
  • Painting a 1”-2” contrasting color across the nose thread of each step will help the view of the steps for people coming down

Aluminum

  • New bleachers must meet ASTM Guidelines
  • Electrically grounded
  • End caps checked
  • Hand and back rails checked
  • Protective fencing along back and sides

Wood

  • Rotted and splintered wood replaced—Besides a visual inspection, any wood that can be easily entered with a pointed object such as an ice pick, screw driver or pen-knife is suspect and should be cause for immediate repair
  • Single board bleachers should be no higher than six feet

SAFE ROOTING LOCATION

  • Sometimes parents prefer to set up chairs and blankets further down the baseline or in any areas instead of sitting in the bleachers or behind fenced-in areas.  Often the area they pick is in a location that is exposed to hard-hit foul balls or errant throws.  More times than not, the game becomes a social event.  Conversations can distract the spectators from the game action, which means they are not prepared to protect themselves from batted or thrown balls.  This becomes more dangerous when small children are thrown into the mix. 
  • If an official and safe rooting section cannot be set up (other than the bleachers or behind fenced-in areas), then rules must be established and displayed via signage or other postings, that sitting/rooting in certain areas of the facility is not permitted.
  • Make sure that children who are playing together are adult-supervised and far enough away from the field to be out of danger.

OTHER

  • Proper Nettings, Screens and Fencing to protect players during practice and games, as well as to protect all volunteers and spectators
  • Well-stocked First aid kits available at all times
  • Rest rooms—cleaned, stocked and in working order
  • Scoreboard—in working order; properly grounded and locked
  • Rules —signage/postings informing players, volunteers, and spectators of rules and regulations
  • Construction/Hazardous Areas — signage/postings warning of areas under construction, areas blocked off and other hazardous areas
  • Waste/Garbage Containers—Supply and location must be adequate

LIGHTING

  • For lighting guidelines, please visit www.musco.com.  Musco is the official lighting company of Babe Ruth League, Inc.

SUGGESTED MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT

Many pieces of equipment are considered necessary to provide adequate field maintenance.  Listed below is a guide for the many tools and equipment used by groundskeepers for the maintenance of a field:

 

Tools and Equipment

Batter’s Box chalker

Small backpack-style sprayer

Base hole covers

Spiker

Batter’s Box and Catcher’s Box outline frames

Sprinkling (water) can

Push Boom

Tamp

Drags

Tarpaulins

Edge Cutter

Watering equipment – hoses, spray nozzles

Line marker

Mound and hitting mats

Wheelbarrow

Rakes

Materials

Calcined clay – granulated

Line marking material

Diamond dust – ground calcined clay for drying wet balls

Stockpile of mound clay – approximately 2 tons per field

Fertilizers

Stockpile of soils for fill and top dressing -approximately 25 tons per field

Herbicides and pesticides

 

TARPAULINS

Tarpaulins, also known as tarps, are used for several purposes—to protect the field from rain and to retain moisture in the mound and home plate areas when the fields is not in use.

In the event of rain, the mound and home plate areas should be covered as quickly as possible.  A heavy plastic or nylon cover is suggested.  The tarp should be as heavy as possible to keep the tarp on the ground during high winds.  The tarp should be large enough to just overlap the grass by approximately eight inches. 

A tarp that covers the entire infield is also available, as shown in the photo.  The folding and rolling of the tarp can be difficult and should be consistent to cover the field as quickly as possible when it is raining. 

FIELD SIGNS

As mentioned previously, fields signs are very helpful in providing rules and notices or warnings in regard to the use of and about the facility.  In addition, field signs can be used as a source of revenue to sell to sponsors and local businesses.

Daily Field Maintenance Suggestions

 Daily Routine before Practice:

· Remove tarps

· Water skinned areas and baselines

· Install the bases

· Erect safety screens for pitcher, first base and second base

· Place the batting cage at home plate

Daily Routine after Practice and Games:

· Remove the bases and cover the base anchor sleeves

· Drag the skinned areas and baselines

· Recondition the mound and home plate area and cover areas with tarps

· Recondition the bull pen mound and home plate area

· Replace and tamp any loose divots in turf areas

· Dispose of trash in and around field and bleacher areas

Day of Game Routine:

· Remove tarpaulins

· Mow the grass

· Scarify the skinned areas with a spiker

· Drag the skinned areas smooth

· Water the infield area

· Sweep and clean dugouts

· Set the chalk lines and mark officially

· Place the batting practice pitcher's mat on the mound

· Place the safety screens: pitcher, first base and second base

· Paint or wash bases, pitching plate and home plate

· Prepare the bullpens

· Hang flags on the foul line poles and flagpole

· Check the operation of the field lights

· Check the operation of the scoreboard

· Prepare the press box and operation of the public address system

· Check the operation of the electrical equipment in the concession stand

· Clean and prepare the locker rooms and umpire rooms

· Dispose of trash found in and around field and bleacher areas

 

Annual Field Maintenance

Spring Routine:

· Perform soil and tissue tests

· Aerate the field

· Top dress the field

· Fertilize the field

· Apply pre-emergent herbicides

· Clean, paint or repair dugouts, fencing, bleacher areas and field signs

Fall Routine:

· Perform soil and tissue tests

· Aerate the field

· De-thatch or verticut turf

· Over-seed and top dress the field

· Fertilize the field

· Apply post-emergent herbicides

· Add ground limestone every other year

· Complete renovations or reconstruction projects if needed

Winter Routine:

· Review field maintenance plan and budget

· Review upcoming field use schedule

· Clean, repair or replace field maintenance equipment

· Drain Water Pipes

· Properly winterize sprinkler system

· Concession Stand—Remove perishable goods and winterize

· Plan future renovations or reconstruction projects to be completed next fall

The information contained in this article is a suggested general guideline.  When planning, constructing and/or maintaining a baseball/softball facility, providing a safe environment for players, volunteers and spectators should always be of the utmost concern, as should meeting all local/state/federal codes. 

Babe Ruth League, Inc. is available to help you develop facilities that are safe, affordable and fun to play on.  Click here to download the latest copy of the BRL Facility Guide.  There are also numerous sources on the web, and most likely within your own community and state, to assist with facility construction and/or maintenance. 

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