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  1. #1
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem

    New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Thursday, Mar. 10 2005

    It looks like there could be a solution to the artificial turf problem at the
    Edward Jones Dome.

    The FieldTurf company has developed a tray system in which its artificial
    surface can be removed after football games for conventions or other
    non-football events at Dome facilities.

    "We have to see it first," said Bob Wallace, executive vice president and
    general counsel of the Rams. "But this is what the Dome has been looking for -
    this kind of technology that can get a surface in and out of the dome."

    Officials from both the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors
    Commission are traveling to Toronto to observe a FieldTurf surface being
    installed via the tray system at the SkyDome.

    "If we like what we see, I'm sure we'll have someone from the (Ram)
    organization's football side go look and see if this is acceptable to them,"
    Wallace said. "Or what issues or questions they have. We have to get some input
    from the people that are going to actually play on it."

    Rams coach Mike Martz has complained about the Dome's AstroTurf surface.
    AstroTurf, which is thin and can be rolled up when it needs to be removed, also
    makes for a hard playing surface when concrete is underneath, as it is at the
    Dome. The Rams have been hoping for a surface that is softer, thicker and more
    forgiving but that could still be removed when other events need to use the
    Dome.

    According to FieldTurf CEO John Gilman, it takes up to eight hours to install
    or remove a FieldTurf surface via the tray system.

    "It's like a bakery tray," Gilman said in a recent interview from his office in
    Montreal.

    A big, heavy bakery tray. Each tray contains a section of turf that is 8 feet
    by 14 feet and weighs about 1,500 pounds.

    "We've developed a motorized ability to take it off skids," Gilman said. "We
    have an attachment for a forklift that literally reaches out and grabs the tray
    and then brings it over to its spot. And it just starts laying it down like a
    jigsaw puzzle."

    There are no problems with seams because FieldTurf is thick and heavy. It will
    take about 800 trays of turf to fill out the Edward Jones Dome, but when not on
    the floor, Gilman said, the trays can be stacked 15 to 20 pallets high in
    storage.

    Gilman said FieldTurf's first full installation of a tray system surface was in
    Montreal's Olympic Stadium last season. Now that the baseball Expos have moved
    to Washington, that surface has been shipped to Vancouver. It will be installed
    later this year in B.C. Place, the home of the British Columbia Lions of the
    Canadian Football League.

    The cost of a FieldTurf surface alone is about $500,000, and comes with an
    eight-year warranty. A surface with a tray system costs somewhere in the range
    of $800,000 to $1 million.

    "It's the cost of a holder for a placekicker - depending on how long the
    holder's been around," said Gilman, a former CFL quarterback.

    Wallace said the eight-hour installation or removal time wasn't a problem.

    "We usually give ourselves much more leeway in between events," Wallace said.
    "The football field technically is turned over to the Rams 24 hours before the
    starting time."

    Last season, the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis and the RCA Dome in
    Indianapolis were the only stadiums in the NFL still using AstroTurf. But the
    RCA Dome is installing a new surface this offseason.

    Gilman said his company would have plenty of time to install a FieldTurf
    surface at the Edward Jones Dome for the 2005 football season should St. Louis
    officials decide that is the way to go.

    "We got the order for the SkyDome on Feb. 20, and we'll have it installed by
    April 6," Gilman said.

    Twenty of the 32 NFL teams have FieldTurf surfaces either in their stadiums or
    their practice facilities. The Rams installed a FieldTurf surface in their
    indoor practice facility in Earth City before the 2002 season.

    But Wallace stopped short of saying that FieldTurf was the company of choice
    for the Edward Jones Dome, noting several other companies "also have this kind
    of field and are getting close to that (tray system) technology."

    He also noted that choosing and buying a new Dome surface was the domain of the
    Convention and Visitors Commission and the St. Louis Regional Convention and
    Sports Authority - not the Rams.

    "Obviously, the ultimate decision is theirs," Wallace said.


  2. #2
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    Re: New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem

    Good Info Zig.I was hoping to get some positive news about the EJD.If they can get it up before the season starts Maybe Jackson career will have a good chance to last.
    My heart beats crazy and my blood runs wild

  3. #3
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem

    Sounds like a good alternative!

    It is about time a solution is addressed for our old, risky turf. I only hope it is indeed to the liking of our players and coaches. I take it the NFL would be ready and willing too.

  4. #4
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    News Flash: This just in ...

    UPI:

    In a disturbing twist of events, sources have reported that the story emerging from Rams Park - that a "portable turf" may be at hand to replace the widely-criticised turf currently installed at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis - is not being wildly received.

    Observers have noted that a commonly held belief is in jeopardy if executives at the ED decide to replace the astroturf prior to the 2005 season. Insiders report that Georgia-on-a-tarot-card-hunch was minutes from inking a deal to sell the team to an LLC based in LA. The LLC Group reportedly has held simultaneous negotiations with the City of Los Angeles to move the Rams back to LA if Georgia could use the failure to replace the existing turf as leverage to void current obligations.

    Replacing the turf negates Georgia's clairvoyant move to profit from the NFL's desire to capitalize on LA's media market. This disappoints some who have wanted to see the Rams return to LA.

  5. #5
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem

    "Look honey, I can walk on Mondays! Thanks Field Turf!"

  6. #6
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    Re: New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem

    Quote Originally Posted by ZigZagRam
    "Look honey, I can walk on Mondays! Thanks Field Turf!"
    This needs to be on billboards all over St. Louis by tomorrow morning!
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  7. #7
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    Re: New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem

    I'm not sure about being the first football test case for this new tray system, but anything has got to be better than what the EJD has now (as long as the trays don't shift or slide when in use).

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