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Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen celebrates new turf, new LED lights

When the IronBirds show up in Aberdeen later this week, the Class A-Advanced ball club will find new artificial turf and lights at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.

Team owners Cal and Bill Ripken, several local, county and state legislators, and stadium sponsor representatives from Leidos celebrated the changes and improvements Monday with a ribbon cutting at home plate.

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“This is a community gathering spot,” Cal Ripken said of Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. Ripken noted that the field, now with this turf, makes the place a space for all kinds of use.

It’s not like the original grass/dirt field never had anything but baseball played on it, but now the turf essentially can withstand any and all events brought to the stadium. Todd Bradley, the turf specialist, will oversee the maintenance and care for the turf.

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The Aberdeen IronBirds officially unveiled the new turf field at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium earlier this week. The IronBirds 2021 season begins Tuesday in Wilmington with the first home game scheduled for May 18, also against Wilmington.
The Aberdeen IronBirds officially unveiled the new turf field at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium earlier this week. The IronBirds 2021 season begins Tuesday in Wilmington with the first home game scheduled for May 18, also against Wilmington. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

On a sadder note, Ripken talked about how he will miss looking up in the box and seeing mom, Vi Ripken, the matriarch of the Ripken Baseball family, who died Feb. 26.

“I’ll miss mom,” Ripken said. “She was royalty in this ballpark.”

Ripken said with the new lights and turf the stadium will play well.

IronBirds General Manager Jack Graham noted with the turf, no more watering needed and no more need for chemicals/pesticides to be applied.

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Shaw Sports Turf created the turf and it was installed by Sports Fields Inc., with the assistance of LEMS Contracting Company, an Aberdeen-based contractor.

The new LED lights, an Ephesus lighting system from NGU Sports Lighting, will brighten the new turf like the original lights did when the stadium opened in 2002, Graham noted.

The turf and lights, not necessarily together, are in use at multiple MLB stadiums and other professional and college sports venues.

There were two proclamations delivered. The Harford County Council addressed the city of Aberdeen and the Aberdeen IronBirds in recognition of the improvements to Ripken Stadium for the benefit of the citizens of Aberdeen and Harford County.

The state senators from Harford County is for the same thing but is technically an “official citation.”

As for the ribbon that was cut by the Ripkens and all of the guests, there were two — a blue one and an orange one. Graham said the blue ribbon was for Aberdeen and the orange for the IronBirds.

Cal Ripken Jr. smiles as he talks about his mom, Vi Ripken and her love of the ballpark as he speaks about the importance of Ripken Stadium as a community place. Ripken, brother Bill and a host of local dignitaries officially unveiled the new turf field at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium this week.
Cal Ripken Jr. smiles as he talks about his mom, Vi Ripken and her love of the ballpark as he speaks about the importance of Ripken Stadium as a community place. Ripken, brother Bill and a host of local dignitaries officially unveiled the new turf field at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium this week. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

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