CHICAGO (WBBM) — Soldier Field has new sod. The Bears are hoping that it can last five games.
The Bears’ head groundskeeper led reporters on a tour of the resodded field on Wednesday as workers began to line the field for Sunday’s Bears-Packers collision, which can be heard live on WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM.
The resodding is the second this year at Soldier Field. The first was in July, after a concert by the rock group U2. It held up through eight football games, including three Bears games, and a Manchester United soccer match.
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While Bears head groundskeeper Ken Mrock still deemed the turf serviceable, he said seasons are changing, and so are the Bears’ needs when it comes to the playing surface.
He said he wants a field that is soft but safe, and will drain more quickly following autumn and early-winter storms. The old turf was grown more for durability, and had a clay base. The new turf, which has a sand base, will provide the added drainage.
But how long will Devin Hester be able to sprint downfield on it?
Mrock said he expects the sod to last five games, with resodding of the middle of the field already planned for early November.
The Park District and the Bears made the choice together. They used sod from a farm in St. Anne, Ill., near Kankakee, that also gets business form the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.
The field, owned by the Chicago Park District, has been criticized for its sloppy sod, especially after it caused the cancellation of the team’s annual Family Fest last month.
Soldier Field spokesman Luca Serra said, although some players have voiced concerns about the turf and say they would like to see an artificial surface installed, most players still want natural turf. Mrock said the Bears have a continuing concern about the potential for injuries on artificial turf.