The Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League) are being honored for their upkeep of the playing surface at Smokies Stadium. The Sports Turf Managers Association (SMTA) has given the Smokies and head grounds keeper Anthony DeFeo its annual Field of the Year award.
This prestigious award is released by STMA acknowledging the top field in all of professional baseball.
STMA selects one specific field for all of professional baseball to present the award to, as every professional baseball team is eligible for the prestigious award. The Smokies and DeFeo continue their success as being one of the best fields in baseball, as they were awarded with the Tennessee Professional Sports Field of the Year in 2015 by the Tennessee Turfgrass Association.
The Sports Turf Managers Association was formed by a group of men who wanted to improve sports turf through knowledge and exchange of ideas. The STMA focuses on developing the sports turf industry as a whole, and implementing awareness and safety programs to advance professionalism in the industry.
The STMA Awards reward and recognize turf managers who go above and beyond to further the progression of turf management. The STMA launched the Field of the Year program in 1992. The honor of being crowned the Field of the Year is something that people in the turf management industry strive to earn throughout their career.
A panel of judges independently score the entries based on many factors including playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget, and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program. Winning fields will be featured in a 2017 issue of SportsTurf Magazine, the official monthly publication of STMA.
“I am honored to receive such a prestigious award,” added DeFeo. “To have our field recognized on a national level is really something special.”
DeFeo just completed his third season with the Smokies as Head Groundskeeper. This is now DeFeo’s second prestigious award that he has been a part of in just three years of being with the team, and he looks to continue the success leading into his fourth year with the club.
“Anthony has done an amazing job, and I am thrilled he is getting recognition for his hard work.” Stated Smokies President and COO Chris Allen. “He is one of the best groundskeepers in the business and we are honored to have him here with us!”
Since joining the Smokies, DeFeo has helped bring the field back to life for the team. The process to bringing the field to the state is today began in DeFeo’s first year with the team, as DeFeo and Brightview Sports Turf completely renovated the entire field. Starting from scratch, the field then began to transform over the past three years into what it is today after great dedication and hard work by DeFeo and the Smokies.