Tampa Bay Rays Donate Artificial Turf to Clearwater
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Clearwater is now the proud owner of a piece of baseball history, the artificial turf the Tampa Bay Rays played on for more than six years. The AstroTurf was originally installed at Tropicana Field in 2011, and remained the playing field for the Rays and other sports teams until earlier this year when a new artificial turf was installed.
“Because of the generous donation from the Tampa Bay Rays, our youth, as well as the Clearwater High School baseball team and St. Petersburg College baseball team, will be able to train on the same field that major league baseball players have played on over the past six seasons,” Mayor George Cretekos said. “My city council colleagues and I appreciate the Rays’ contribution to the city and benefits that will be provided to young athletes in Clearwater.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 16 the Clearwater City Council approved the donation and money to install the artificial turf at Clearwater’s Jack Russell Stadium complex. The AstroTurf will be installed at the practice field, replacing the current turf that is more than 20-years-old.
“The Rays are glad that this turf will have a second life in our community, growing the tradition and love of baseball, and sharing a part of the Rays way with the city of Clearwater,” Bill Wiener Jr., Rays Vice President, Employee and Community Development said.
Jack Russell Field, the former spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is currently undergoing renovations including new locker rooms, new batting cages, new bleachers and more. The field is now home to Clearwater High School’s baseball team and St. Pete College’s baseball team.