BrightView Transforms Historic Rickwood Field for MLB Special Game

Official Field Consultant for MLB renovates nation’s oldest professional ballpark

(Graphic: Business Wire)

BLUE BELL, Pa.--()--History will be made June 20, when the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals play in the first ever regular season Major League Baseball (MLB) game to be held at historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. And BrightView (NYSE: BV), the nation’s leading commercial landscaping company, is playing a critical role by ensuring the field conditions meet current MLB standards.

As the Official Field Consultant of MLB, BrightView renovated the entire playing surface at Rickwood Field, the oldest ballpark in the country, which dates back to 1910.

Under the direction of Murray Cook, President of BrightView’s Sports Turf division, the overhaul of Rickwood’s field included removing the existing field, bringing in all new clay for the infield and warning tracks, replacing the infield and outfield grass with a new Bermuda Turfgrass called Tahoma31 and adding a new padded outfield wall, bullpens, foul poles, and netting along the foul lines. New dugouts were also installed and temporary field lighting added.

“In all my years of working these events, I’ve had the privilege of building and reconstructing some unique and amazing ballfields all around the world, but the history surrounding Rickwood Field makes this project extra special,” Cook said. “Baseball legends of both the Negro Leagues and MLB stood at home plate, and this game and overall environment will certainly be a great tribute to them.”

Special consideration had to be taken to keep Rickwood’s history and legacy intact, including the outfield fence that holds vintage advertising signs and the iconic scoreboard replicating the one from 1948.

“We had to be mindful of the existing, historical features of this field and stadium,” Cook said. “The outfield walls, for example, had to be padded for player protection, but our partners Populous and BaAm Productions were still able to keep the old signs intact through some unique branding methods. We did have to make some adjustments to the positioning of the field, which involved moving home plate back 10 feet and shifting the angle counterclockwise.”

Gameday Grounds Crew

BrightView not only rebuilt the playing surface, but will also maintain it. The BrightView team is responsible for keeping the playing surface groomed and ready for each of the three events to be played this week, including the minor league game, a celebrity softball game, and the MLB at Rickwood Field game. The grounds crew for the week will consist of eight BrightView team members, 24 locals volunteering as tarp crew, three members of the Friends of Rickwood grounds crew, and three local MiLB grounds crew from the Birmingham Barons and Rocket City Trash Pandas.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the exceptional work our team has accomplished at historic Rickwood Field for MLB’s tribute game to the Negro Leagues,” said Dale Asplund, BrightView President and Chief Executive Officer. “Murray Cook and our Sports Turf team has once again demonstrated their unparalleled dedication and craftsmanship by transforming Rickwood’s playing surface into a stunning and immaculate ballfield, ensuring what is to be a fantastic experience for players and fans alike.”

MLB at Rickwood Field Facts

  • Removed 5,000 tons of material from original field
  • Excavated 100 years of chalk from both foul lines, which solidified into a 10-inch thick mass
  • 6,000 tons of sand, clay, and warning track material were used
  • 120,000 square feet of sod was installed
  • Moved home plate back 10 feet and the backstop wall forward 10 feet
  • Outfield fence distance was changed to 325 feet in leftfield, 400 feet in centerfield, and 332 feet in rightfield
  • Shifted entire field 5 feet counterclockwise

The MLB at Rickwood Field game is yet another special project in a long line of celebrated games that BrightView and MLB have collaborated on, including the recently completed London Series played at West Ham United F.C.’s soccer arena, London Stadium. Also, in 2024, BrightView will again manage the playing surface at historic Bowman Field for the Little League Classic; managed the Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú field for the Mexico Series; managed the Estadio Quisqueya field for the Dominican Republic Series; and renovated Gocheok Sky Dome for the MLB Seoul Series. The company has also worked with MLB to develop, construct, and maintain fields for notable games, such as MLB at Field of Dreams, Fort Bragg Game, Sydney Opening Series, Japan Opening Series, and Puerto Rico Series.

About BrightView

BrightView (NYSE: BV), the nation’s largest commercial landscaper, proudly designs, creates, and maintains the best landscapes on Earth and provides the most efficient and comprehensive snow and ice removal services. With a dependable service commitment, BrightView brings brilliant landscapes to life at premier properties across the United States, including business parks and corporate offices, homeowners' associations, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail centers, resorts and theme parks, municipalities, golf courses, and sports venues. BrightView also serves as the Official Field Consultant to Major League Baseball. Through industry-leading best practices and sustainable solutions, BrightView is invested in taking care of our team members, engaging our clients, inspiring our communities, and preserving our planet. Visit and connect with us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Candice Henry

David Freireich

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Candice Henry

David Freireich