Atlanta Braves Closer Mark Melancon Runs a Turf Business?

Braves, Mark Melancon

Atlanta Braves closer Mark Melancon (36), acquired from the SF Giants last July, pitches during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the 2020 NLCS at Globe Life Field. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

SF Giants fans know Braves closer Mark Melancon for his work on the field, but it turns out he’s passionate about building fields too.

In an unexpected report on Tuesday, Braves reporter Joe Patrick revealed that former SF Giants reliever and current Braves closer Mark Melancon has been operating a turf company for some time.

Diamond Turf, based in Florida, offers standard backyard artificial-grass landscaping but also claims their product is capable of covering athletic fields. Perhaps most impressively, the companies website claims “More than 70 PGA tour professionals” have had Diamond Turf install PGA-Quality backyard putting greens.

The Giants signed Melancon to a four-year, $62 million deal before the 2017 season in hopes that he could be a stabilizing force at the back of the bullpen. Melancon had been one of the most consistent closers in baseball from 2013 to 2016, and seemed ready to lock down the only glaring hole on San Francisco’s roster at the time.

Melancon never quite had that success in a Giants uniform. Hampered by injuries, he was never quite able to be more than a solid middle-relief arm in San Francisco. However, the Braves clearly saw a potential rebound near. At last year’s trade deadline, Atlanta acquired Melancon in a trade for pitching prospect Tristan Beck.

Soon after the deal, Melancon quickly emerged as the Braves closer and has easily been the best reliever in their bullpen over the past 15 months. In 2020, Melancon appeared in 23 games, recorded 11 saves, and held opponents to a 2.78 ERA.

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It’s easy for fans to forget that players have lives away from baseball. For former SF Giants reliever Mark Melancon, it appears that even when he’s not playing, his passion remains focused on the field. At least as long as it’s made of artificial turf.