Niagara Gazette

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November 12, 2013

Pesticides benched at Doubleday Field

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — One of the nation's most famous baseball diamonds, Doubleday Field, will no longer use toxic herbicides and pesticides on its grass.

"We decided last year we wanted to move away from pesticides and this year we got it all the way down to zero," village Mayor Jeff Katz said Sunday.

The village's accomplishment at a playing field widely regarded as a shrine to the national pastime will likely attract national recognition, as the environmental movement has been concerned with the health impacts of chemicals to treat lawns and playgrounds, officials said.

Doubleday Field is owned and managed by the Village of Cooperstown, in upstate New York. The field is just blocks away from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and it hosts more than 250 events each year. In 2004, it was named Baseball Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association.

The move to eradicate synthetic pesticides at Doubleday began several years ago with Michael Whaling of Sharon Springs, N.Y. The stonewall builder and Vietnam veteran argued that the use of toxic herbicides would result in carcinogens getting into Otsego Lake, the supply of drinking water for some 2,000 people.

Health experts have linked exposure to pesticides to cancer and several other health problems, from reproductive disorders to asthma.

The new pest management practices being used at Doubleday include using entomopathogenic nematodes – or roundworms – to control white grubs, officials said.

Details for this story were reported by The Daily Star in Oneonta, N.Y.

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