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A new field of dreams

Page 3 of 3 -- On top of all the pipes, they laid nine inches of USGA-certified sand (the kind approved for use on golf courses). Then they laser-leveled everything, to make sure it’s REALLY flat. Actually, there will still be a slight crown, but only in the outfield. About 40 feet past the infield dirt things will slope off slightly toward the outfield wall and the foul lines, to help with drainage. It’ll barely be noticeable.

The field was resurfaced with a specially grown sod, composed of four species of perennial Kentucky blue grass (The old field had some perennial bluegrass, some annual blue grass, some perennial rye grass ... SOOOO messy!) -- 96,000 square feet of it. Two acres worth. It was laid down In four-foot-wide swaths 45 feet long. Bigger pieces mean fewer seams, which will take a few months next spring to really knit together, Mellor said.

The field should play truer. The grass should stay healthier and resist wear and tear better. The irrigation will help keep it in shape. The whole playing surface will drain faster. Rain delays will be shorter. And the view of the game will improve for a lot of people in the stands. For the first time since Fenway opened, people who sit in the first 15-20 rows will be able to completely see the opposite side of the field. So will the players and coaches in the dugout. They used to not be able to see the outfielders below their knees. Now they’ll be able to see their feet.

“Next to my daughters being born and getting married, the Red Sox winning the World Series and being part of putting in a whole new field are my biggest dreams come true,” Mellor said. He declined to say how much this new field of his dreams cost to build. One source suggested it was several million dollars, the going rate for a No. 3 starter these days. If it helps reduce some of those excruciating unearned runs and turns a bunch of games from Ls to Ws, it could be one of the best offseason acquisitions the Red Sox have made. 

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The new Fenway field is protected from the winter elements.
The new Fenway field is protected from the winter elements. (Boston.com Photo / David Roepik)
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Boston.com correspondent David Roepik lifts the curtain and sheds light on the inner-workings of one of baseball’s oldest ballparks.
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