Skip to content

Ever wonder how the Giants chalk their infield?

Jul 5, 2013, 2:08 PM PDT

Less than an inch can alter the course of history in Major League Baseball. It is imperative that field dimensions are exact and that umpires have a clearly defined boundary to determine whether a ball is fair or foul.

Have you ever wondered how a Major League Baseball grounds crew manages to lay down perfect foul lines and batters boxes before every game? In the Giants case, they use an old-school box chalking system. Nowadays, not all ballparks use real chalk to lay down the surface lines. Some grounds crew choose to use a spray paint can mounted to a push cart.

In this video, Giants manager of field operations Jeff Windsor provides a detailed behind the scenes look at the precise chalking process at AT&T Park.

How do big league grounds crews get it right every day? The key is having home plate in the exact same spot for every game. Using the apex of the plate, they can accurately determine where each base and the rubber of the pitcher’s mound should be.

Proper Distance From Home Plate:
Second Base: 127 feet, 3-3/8 inches
First Base: 90 feet
Third Base: 90 feet
Pitcher’s rubber on the mound: 60 feet, 6 inches

It should be noted that most grounds crews don’t actually have to measure these distances daily. They have holes in the infield that they simply plug the bases into.

Field of Teams

Join us on the Field of Teams as we cover the fun, viral, sometimes even downright weird aspects of Bay Area sports, powered by Casey Pratt and the staff.

Do you have a nugget for our Field of Teams staff? Is there something about Bay Area sports you've always wanted to know? Email us and let us know -- if we use it, we got a t-shirt in it for ya.