McNair Field Named Best in the Nation

PRESS RELEASE – McNair Field, the home of the Forest City Owls, was named the best baseball field in the country in the category of Schools and Parks by the Sports Turf Management Association. The STMA is a no-profit professional organization of groundskeepers. McNair Field was one of 14 category winners.

McNair Field joins Lambeau Field in Green Bay WI, Community American Ballpark in Kansas City, KS, and War Memorial Stadium in Union City, TN as a winner in 2009. The best baseball field in the category of professional and college was given to Whataburger Field, home of the Houston Astros Double A affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks in Corpus Christi, TX.

McNair Field is a division of the Town of Forest City Parks and Recreation Department. Jody Wright is the Director of Parks and Recreation and Brian Blanton is the head groundskeeper at McNair Field. Matthew Gowan, Travis Keever, and Tim Blanton work with Blanton to maintain the playing surface.

The STMA uses a six judge panel to score the entry based on playability, appearance, innovations, effective use of budget, and the sound use of an agronomic program.

“The Field of the Year Award validates the intense dedication of our members,” said Kim Heck, CEO of the STMA. “Each year STMA awards no more than 14 fields, so a very small percentage of our members are winners. Brian (Blanton) and his crew are very deserving of this prestigious award for McNair Field.”

“Jody, Brian, Matthew, Travis, and Tim are well deserving of this award” said Owls general manager James Wolfe. “They work extremely hard over long hours to maintain the playing surface and keep it in the best shape possible. I would rank our field with any in baseball in the quality of its condition. We are very fortunate to have them looking after the facility.”

Owls manager Matt Hayes added ““I think that the playing surface at McNair Field is by far the finest in our league and it doesn’t surprise me at all that they should be honored for the surface,” said Hayes. “It is a very special place and the field is very special, but not as special as the people that work on it and the people that fill the stands every night.

“The job that Brian and his guys do is amazing and I couldn’t be prouder to call it home for three months out of the year.”

McNair Field will host over 30 NCAA and high school baseball events this spring before the Owls open their 30 game home schedules on May 26.

Owls fans can now follow their favorite team on facebook and Twitter. Become a fan of the Forest City Owls on facebook and search ForestCityCPL on Twitter for all the latest news and updates on the Owls.

The Forest City Owls are the 2009 Coastal Plain League Petitt Cup Champions. The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league, heading into its 14th season. Featuring 15 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with wooden bats during the summer months. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at

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Filed under Awards & Recognition, Field & Turf

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