Miami's secret is Prescription Athletic Turf, or PAT, developed in 1972 at Purdue (SI, July 22, 1974, et seq.). That same year the city of Miami, following the vogue, put in artificial turf. That surface turned out to be so unsatisfactory that in '76 the Orange Bowl dug it out and had PAT installed in its place. Lest you've forgotten, PAT is real grass, but it's more than just a matter of seed, fertilizer and water. Under the grass surface PAT has a complex subbasement, so to speak, of pipes woven through a base of sand. The pipes deliver water to the grass roots to keep the surface grass thick and strong, even under the pounding of a football game. They also drain away any extra water (as happened Friday), leaving the dirt base in which the grass grows relatively dry and stable.
PAT isn't cheap. Installing it costs at least $750,000, and the annual maintenance fee can run to more than $150,000. But with complaints, primarily from players, against artificial turf growing year by year, it's astonishing that more football and baseball fields aren't equipped with PAT.
HE'S NOT A CHIP OFF THE SPLENDID OLD SPLINTER
Ted Williams was a rotten baseball player. No, not that Ted Williams. The other Ted, the one pictured here.
Edward French (Ted) Williams, 38, of Grafton, Mass., whose baseball career fizzled out after junior high, isn't to be confused with Theodore Samuel (Ted) Williams, 66, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, who batted .406 in 1941 and is now in baseball's Hall of Fame. But he is confused with him, because Ted S. is known to be an avid fisherman and Ted F., a contributing editor of Gray's Sporting Journal, is a widely published fishing writer. When people read something on fishing by Ted Williams, all too often they think it's by baseball Ted. Even writer Ted's editors have made that mistake. When an article of his appeared in The Atlantic Salmon Journal, the contents entry said, "Writer and ballplayer, Ted exposes the folly of coho introduction." A story by John Rybovich in Boating referred to an Audubon magazine piece by writer Ted as having been done "by baseball-great/ sportsman Ted Williams" and was accompanied by a photo of baseball Ted posing with a tuna.
"I don't get upset by it," says writer Ted. "It happens all the time." When writer Ted was born, in 1946, baseball Ted was batting .342. Under the circumstances, the new father didn't want the boy to be called Ted, but his mother-in-law persuaded him that the ballplayer would be washed-up and forgotten by the time the youngster was five. So much for an in-law's advice.
Happily for the writer, the confusion works both ways. Once he received a splendid fishing rod from The Orvis Company, along with a letter asking for only an autograph in exchange. "That rod was beautiful," he says. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I sent it back. Orvis did send me some nice glasses, though."
Writer Ted has never met baseball Ted, although they've talked on the phone. "He told me he's taken heat for some of the stuff I've written," he says. And once, when baseball Ted was bonefishing in the Bahamas, his native guide kept raving about his articles in Gray's Sporting Journal.
"No, no," said the Splendid Splinter. "You've got me confused with the writer. I'm the baseball player."
"Oh," said the guide blankly, "I don't follow baseball."