Cheap Seats

This road trip makes me glad the St. Louis Cardinals got rid of their artificial turf

It seems so unusual to see the St. Louis Cardinals play on artificial turf.

Oh, how I love to be able to make that statement.

For many years the Cardinals were of professional sports' teams biggest beneficiaries, shunning the traditional style of baseball built around the long ball for an all speed team with little power that could scoot around the bases on balls that shot through the infield on the slick turf.

I tip my cap to manager Whitey Herzog for adapting to his surroundings and revolutionizing the game. But, as exciting as watching stolen bases was, baseball on turf just doesn't seem right. The ball doesn't bounce or roll the same and if I was an MLB outfielder, I sure wouldn't want to dive on that stuff to try to catch a ball. You'd get up to find you looked like an over-ripe raspberry.

I remember the great Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck remarking that he didn't think it would make a big difference when the Redbirds switched back to turf at Busch Stadium in the late 1990s after a period of about 25 years in which they employed the fake stuff. But he raved that it made a huge defense and made the game so much more pure.

Besides, Lou Brock found a way to re-write the stolen base record book while playing for several years on natural grass before the turf found its way to St. Louis.

It looks bad and it plays bad. Despite the fact that many professional and college sports teams have moved back to artificial grass, I sure hope the Cardinals don't follow suit. As Kevin Costner's character said in Bull Durham, I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment against artificial turf and the designated hitter.