The FIU baseball team will begin practice for the 2014 season on a new infield when practice starts Jan. 24. As you might recall from last year there were some pretty bad bounces on ground balls around the infield, especially the area between the lip of the grass and start of the infield dirt at shortstop.
Earlier this week a laser leveler was brought in to level the FIU infield. If you attended a rain-delayed FIU game last year -- such as the 12-hour doubleheader marathon against Florida Gulf Coast -- you probably saw puddles in the 5.5 hole between shortstop and third base as well as puddles at deep second base and between first and second base. There were holes in the dirt in those areas causing the puddles.
A laser leveler attached to the back of the tractor in the photo below pointed a laser to certain points of the infield to level the playing surface. In this photo below the area being leveled is the second base surface. As you can see a post was inserted behind the pitcher's mound as the tractor looks like it is trying to steal to second base.
The old infield grass was ripped up and new infield grass was installed. Here is an up close look at the new infield surface.
In the batter's boxes, umpire box, catcher's spot and on the pitcher's mound, clay bricks were installed to prevent the pitchers, batters, catchers and umpires from making huge holes throughout the game. With the clay bricks under the red dirt, about only a one-inch hole could be made as opposed to years past when you would see huge holes in those areas. Here are those clay bricks.
Both bullpens also got new grass installed between the pitcher's mounds and home plates in the pens.