Springer: What’s in the infield skin?

From Stephanie Springer at The Hardball Times on May 21, 2019:

When watching a baseball game, we spend a lot of time looking at dirt. It may be in the periphery, its appearance in our consciousness as fleeting as the slight puff of dust surrounding a rogue hop. We notice the dirt when a player slides, creating an unsightly red-brown stain on his pants. We may focus on the actual infield dirt when watching the cathartic, cleansing process of raking the infield skin between innings. But the dirt only really becomes the center of attention when the threat of rain looms, and even then, the grounds crew is tasked with concealing it underneath a tarp.

It’s not as pretty as the cross-cut patterns of the turf, but the infield dirt is the true workhorse of baseball, seeing more playing time than any other piece of equipment, and it’s a deceptively complex material. It’s easy to think of dirt as a fairly uniform, homogeneous mixture, comprised of, well, dirt. But anyone who has taken a look at the dirt in their back yard, local park, or community athletic field will recognize this dirt is probably not what professional baseball players play on.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/whats-in-the-infield-skin/

Originally published: May 24, 2019. Last Updated: May 24, 2019.