New wall design protects outfielders from head injury
The Minnesota Twins knew they had to do more to protect their players when two center fielders both suffered concussions after running full speed into the same wall at Target Field in Minneapolis. That’s when they turned to Covermaster to design, manufacture and install a new proprietary type of wall padding focused on player safety.
The innovative design, which distributes impact force over a greater area, extends across the entire outfield and runs about 75 feet along both the third and first base lines. During the next offseason, the new padding will be installed around the entire playing area. It replaces the old wall covering made of three-quarter-inch plywood covered with four inches of padding and a vinyl cover.
“If you hit the old stuff real hard, you’d go right into the (plywood),” said Twins Senior Vice President of Operations Matt Hoy. “The way (groundskeeper) Larry (DiVito) showed it to me, he put the old stuff on the ground and a sample of this new stuff. He literally dropped his knee on it, and right away on the old stuff, you go right to the floor. With this new stuff, it just disperses. He dropped on it a couple of times and never made it to the floor. Right there, I was convinced.”
Hoy said he believes the new material on the walls at Target Field is the first of its kind in a major league ballpark.