|Seton Park, as seen from the Whitehall|
During a site visit over the summer, the group he was with was split on whether or not to make more of the grass artificial, or simply repair the natural grass that is already there. Currently, only the baseball infield is artificial.
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Jump below for the pros and cons.
Before we get to that, let me just say this to those of you who haven't been on artificial turf in ten years: This isn't AstroTurf; it's not what they have on mini-golf courses. This is a legit playing surface that most football teams use today. Usually, pieces of blended tires and rubber are used as the "soil" and individual flakes of green plastic replicate the grass. Surf around this website for more information.
The pros for more artificial are: artificial is supposed to last longer, it costs less to maintain in the long run, drainage is far superior to natural, and it can be played on in the winter time when snow is removed from the field. The cons are: it costs a more initial money to install, sometimes concrete is underneath the surface, so it is very hard to fall on, it doesn't look natural, and when the sun is out, the temperature of the field can go way up.
The pros to natural grass are: it looks normal, it doesn't kill wildlife, it's softer to fall on, it is usually better on one's body, it stays cool in temperature, and it doesn't cost as much to fix right now than it would to install artificial. The cons are: drainage can be bad, which will also lead to bad field conditions, maintenance over the long run is more expensive, it has to be mowed.
I'm sure there are many more to each side. Personally, I don't have a preference. I've played a lot of lacrosse, (flag) football, softball and soccer games on both surfaces, and I still can't decide which one I prefer. As a purist and a golfer, I tend to lean natural, but as someone who understands the City's parks department budget, I understand artificial is better because it might free up money for other parks five to ten years from now. But as long as the field is level and dry, both types of surfaces tend to feel similar to play on.