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E. And You Thought It Was Just Grass

Narrator: And you thought it was just a baseball field. This is Science Today. Steve Cockerham, an agricultural expert at the University of California, Riverside, was asked to supply a new kind of natural grass that would grow indoors in a domed professional baseball stadium. That was the easy part. A pro baseball field has to be totally even so the ball won't take a bad bounce...

Cockerham: It has to be able to heal quickly from injury, if there's injury from a player skidding or tearing it up or whatever. And then the color has to be satisfactory, a good dark green color. The esthetics of this are almost as important as the performance.

Narrator: Plus, it has to grow quickly. But you have to be able to mow it down to half an inch. And...

Cockerham: The texture of the grass has to be such that it looks like a carpet, it can't be too coarse or too fine. It has to be such that it will give when a cleat hangs up in it so that it doesn't cause an injury. So these are some of the characteristics we look for.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.