Root For Home Team With MLB Stadium Grass Seed
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Madeleine Brand.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
With the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl both on the horizon, what better time than now, we thought, to talk about baseball, actually, baseball grass.
The lawn and garden company Scotts Miracle-Gro has signed a deal with Major League Baseball. And under the deal, fans will be able to buy grass seed blends to match those used at some of their favorite ballparks.
John Price is a brand manager for Scotts, and he joins us now from Bloomington, Indiana. Welcome to the program, Mr. Price.
Mr. JOHN PRICE (Brand Manager, Scotts Miracle-Gro): Hi, Robert. Thank you.
SIEGEL: And yeah, a have a lot of customers hoping for a little bit of, say, Wrigley Field in their backyard. Where did this idea come from?
Mr. PRICE: That's right. You know, baseball is such a great fit for Scotts. You know, we know that baseball fans are - tend to be homeowners and that's really our target audience. And so, what better way to marry people that love having a great lawn with tapping into a sport that people love as well that features a great lawn. So that's kind of where the idea came about.
SIEGEL: I went online and looked at pictures as best I could of Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, and I admit to being very indifferent when it comes to the lawn. But even so, I just couldn't see much difference between the grass at those two ballparks. Is there?
Mr. PRICE: You know, these Major League Baseball groundskeepers just are at the, you know, top of their game. They do an incredible job with these fields. And so, you know, between the looks of the two parks and the kind of Scotts grass seed they use, there's not a lot of difference between those two. But the differences tend to be much more dramatic when you go in different parts of the country.
SIEGEL: Ah ha. What's an outlier here that we might...
Mr. PRICE: An outlier would be more teams like Atlanta, Texas, Florida, California, they just - where different grass types tend to be prominent, and the groundskeepers tend to use different grass seed varieties on the field.
SIEGEL: But would fans generally then be limited to a grass seed that's used probably in a local ballpark because that's what grows in their part of the country?
Mr. PRICE: There are broader, kind of, agronomic bans than just the limited city. But what we would do, it's important for us to, you know, make it clear to the fan where they, you know, where they could use the Fenway Park grass seed. So you could use Fenway Park grass seed in Columbus, Ohio, for example, and you would have great results. If you used it in the Deep South, for example, you know, that wouldn't be the best grass seed for you. So...
SIEGEL: Is the seed that you're going to market as Wrigley Field grass seed, is that something I could also buy just called, you know, X22 and it's the same seed you're already selling?
Mr. PRICE: No, absolutely not. I mean, these are very premium, top-of-the-line varieties, you know, we supply to our Major League Baseball partners and until now haven't been available to the consumer market. So this is definitely not something that you'd be able to buy off the shelf.
SIEGEL: How much more would a bag of seed cost because it's a premium ballpark blend, say, than generic?
Mr. PRICE: Sure. The Major League Baseball grass seed will tend to be about an $8 premium to our turf builder line.
SIEGEL: Do you get a cap with it or something that can match your blend?
Mr. PRICE: You know, not yet. We are looking at some different options to, you know, deliver a promotional item with it. But, you know, we think that the product itself has incredibly strong appeal, and consumers are really going to get excited to bring, you know, the field back to their lawn and have a piece of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park on their home lawn.
SIEGEL: And when might they actually be able to do this?
Mr. PRICE: The products will be available by opening day. So you'll see them start showing up in the stores in March.
SIEGEL: You could actually be playing on this lawn by summer.
Mr. PRICE: Exactly. And it will take a few weeks for the grass seed to establish. And you'll definitely be able to have Wiffle Ball games on your own Fenway Park within a few months.
SIEGEL: It definitely beats putting, say, a dome over your front lawn.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. PRICE: Definitely.
SIEGEL: Okay. Well, John Price, thank you very much for talking with us.
Mr. PRICE: Thank you. I appreciate it.
SIEGEL: That's John Price, who is brand manager for Scotts Miracle-Gro, talking about new blends of grass seed that will match those used at major league ballparks.