GROUNDS FOR OPTIMISM

IN KANSAS CITY ON OPENING DAY, THERE WERE TWO GOOD REASONS TO CELEBRATE THE RETURN OF BASEBALL: CAL RIPKEN AND THE NEW SOD

The grass was lush and verdant enough, but it seemed even more so because for the previous 22 years, the field in Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) had been covered by that insult to both aesthetics and orthopedics, artificial turf. "We have nine different grasses at work here," George Toma, the Royals' ground-keeping consultant said last Wednesday, an hour before the first pitch of the season, in Kansas City. "Five bluegrass types-Princeton 104, Eclipse, Nassau, Glade and Suffolk-and four ryes-Derby, Gator, Regal and Top Hat. They act like a team. If one or two get sick, the others take over. Some...

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