Keith Bulicz, left, and Blair Elliot of Aspen Parks and Recreation stand in front of the new Grand Slam Safety fence at Iselin Field.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
With Pyramid Peak visible in the distance, Iselin Field at the Aspen Recreation Center has never been short on character. What it has lacked, however, is a proper fence to host higher-end tournaments for baseball and softball.
Now, with the recent addition of the Grand Slam Safety fence, the doors have been opened.
"It already was the field of dreams with this view, but now we added this thing to it," said Keith Bulicz, the recreation supervisor for Aspen Parks and Recreation. "It's probably one of the better ball fields in the country."
Grand Slam Safety, LLC opened for business in 2009. Located in Croghan, New York, which is about 100 miles northeast of Syracuse, the company specializes in creating state-of-the-art athletic safety fences. The fences can be found coast-to-coast these days, although Bulicz said the fence at Iselin Field is the first of its kind in Colorado.
"I've never done a system like this before. There is nobody in the country that builds it like this," said Blair Elliot, the campus and field supervisor. "You have an instant fence. … The big deal is we can put this up and take this down in about three and a half hours."
The fence is a vertical suspension system with a top and bottom guide wire holding the mesh netting in place. The netting allows players to run into the fence and bounce safely off it, such as an outfielder trying to catch a fly ball. The fence is meant to easily be put up and taken down, a plus on a multi-purpose field such as Iselin.
The fence also meets the required criteria for USA Softball. Plans already are being made for Aspen and Iselin to host a sanctioned adult USA Softball tournament in the fall, something it couldn't have held before the fence was in place.
"That's the direction we're heading," Bulicz said. "But initially, this is an enhancement for the local community and the people who live in this valley to come play ball on this field."
Bulicz hopes to one day add a similar fence to nearby Rotary Field as well.
Prior to Monday’s season-opening co-ed softball games, there will be a small ceremony, including a first pitch and ribbon cutting, to celebrate the start of the season and the addition of the Grand Slam Safety fence. The ceremony will start at 5:15 p.m. at Iselin, while the softball games begin at 5:30 p.m.