Blue Wahoos Switching To Artificial Turf

December 22, 2021

Construction is underway at Blue Wahoos Stadium to transition the award-winning Minor League stadium to an artificial turf playing surface in 2022.

“The transition to artificial turf is a very important step forward for our stadium,” team President Jonathan Griffith said. “After 10 seasons of use, our natural grass field did not meet Major League Baseball specifications for affiliated stadiums. Putting in turf now ensures that the Blue Wahoos will be compliant with MLB regulations and helps secure the long-term future of affiliated Minor League Baseball in Pensacola. We’re putting in a Major League quality playing surface at our ballpark that mirrors the field our players will play on when they make it to the Major Leagues with the Miami Marlins.”

Beyond meeting Major League Baseball field specifications, the artificial turf field will allow the team to hold additional future community events at the stadium.

“Our mission as an organization is to improve the quality of life in our community, and we see holding family-friendly events at Blue Wahoos Stadium throughout the year as a way to help create a more vibrant downtown,” Griffith said. “With an artificial turf field, we’ll be able to hold events more frequently and hold even larger events at the ballpark during the season and off-season.”

Centrally located in downtown Pensacola, Blue Wahoos Stadium is the home to the Blue Wahoos, University of West Florida Football, and over 200 total events on an annual basis. In its first 10 years, the ballpark has been a frequent award-winner, being named the Double-A South Ballpark of the Year three times and the Ballpark Digest Double-A Ballpark of the Year twice.

“We’re very pleased that the Blue Wahoos are dedicated to continually improving an already-great ballpark,” Geoff DeGroot, Director of Player Development for the Marlins, said. “The transition to artificial turf will enhance our player development and prepare players to play on the same surface when they reach loanDepot park.”

In addition to improving the playing surface, additional upgrades are expected this off-season at Blue Wahoos Stadium to meet new facility requirements including the installation of LED ballpark lighting and the addition of a new batting cage.

Comments

3 Responses to “Blue Wahoos Switching To Artificial Turf”

  1. Bill on December 27th, 2021 7:14 am

    Booooooooooooooo

  2. CJ Lewis on December 22nd, 2021 4:10 pm

    Long story short, the for-profit Blue Wahoo’s agreed in 2011 to pay for all minor league baseball changes to the city-owned stadium. This was a mutually-agreed upon contract term for a 20-year deal. Mayor Hayward even publicly thanked Mr. Studer for agreeing to a deal that most favorable to the Blue Wahoo’s was fair enough to the city. However, in 2021, the team presented a list of nearly $2 million in changes it wanted made to the stadium specifically for minor league baseball. The team said that it could not afford to pay for the changes. Team co-owner Quint Studer openly insinuated that if the city did not agree to pay for the changes he might have to move the team to a new city. Which one? Gulf Breeze? City council members were lobbied and pressured behind closed doors. The Blue Wahoo’s drafted a very one-sided contract that Mayor Robinson rammed through the city council. The city council agreed to reimburse the Blue Wahoo’s for the changes. This is the new contract term for the next ten years. For this first set of changes to include the plastic grass, it is going to cost city taxpayers $2 million. A minor saving grace is that because of the “CRA” funding scheme used most of the cost is being paid by county property taxes paid by Escambia County property owners. Most of the tax dollars being used to subsidize downtown redevelopment are coming from county property taxes. Commissioner Barry can explain.

  3. bob c on December 22nd, 2021 7:08 am

    Seems to be a perfect time to take the sod across Main Street and put it down onto the very fertile ground where the old ECUA Sewage-Wastewater plant used to be.
    It would look much better there helping to control any erosion and runoff.
    Lots of money being spent downtown. How about fix the potholes and whoop-de-dos on the streets and roadways?
    Merry Christmas to ALL at NorthEscambia and Thank You for telling us the TRUE FACTS.
    God Bless the USA





Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.