New surface: The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has decided to install a new surface this week, called AstroPlay, to replace the aging AstroTurf at the Metrodome.
AstroPlay's makers won the project with a bid of just over $715,000 that beat out second-place finisher, FieldTurf. Both products are considered in-fill surfaces, where synthetic blades of grass are laid above a mixture of sand and rubber.
The total project cost for improvements at the Dome will be around $2.2 million.
Players from the Twins and the Vikings and Golden Gopher football teams were invited to test the different surfaces this summer.
"In terms of product, AstroPlay and FieldTurf were very close," said Steve Maki, the MSFC's director of facilities and engineering. "AstroPlay was rated better by most of the players."
Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, is the only other baseball stadium that has an in-fill surface. It has FieldTurf.
Maki said the AstroPlay surface would take three weeks to install and would be ready before the Twins open their 2004 season April 5.