with the Turf Manager of the Year
27, 2007 -- Issue 10
Fields for Better Play
September 11, 2002 -- WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Pacific Coast
League today named Sacramento River Cats Head Groundskeeper Matt LaRose
its “Sports Turf Manager of the Year” for the 2002 season.
I wanted some hints for renovating a high school basebal field so
I arranged a tour of Raley Field back on June 10, 2003. Raley
Field is home of the Oakland A's AAA team - the Sacramento RiverCats.
I wanted to find out what the Turf Manager of the Year was doing with
My tour guide for the afternoon
was Tony Asaro, the Director of Community Relations. I met with
Pat - the facility coordinator, Roy - one of the groundskeepers, and
Matt - the head groundskeeper.
What I found
out was dynamite for improving field quality and play. I want
you to listen in as we talked about this exceptional ballfield and
Jim: Roy, can you tell me what you are doing today?
Sure. The River Cats are out of town for the week. So we are
aerating the grass with a core aerator today. Then we mow over
the cores to chop them up and we rake out any chunks left near the
edges of the grass. Don't want any lip buildup. Core aerating
is done only when the team is on the road to allow time for chopping
up the cores, then applying top dressing, and letting it settle in.
As you can see, we use riding mowers when we mow the outfield.
This is really a great looking facility and the field looks fantastic.
I don't know if you know this, but the field is on sand, not hardpan
like much of Sacramento. The sand goes down 17 feet. So we can water
The entire field has many underground French drains with one leading
out to center field for drainage.
We only use flat
Morwear paint for foul lines. We don't use an chalk anywhere.
The lines are put down using a stencil and a sprayer.
We condition our infield skin with Turface products - Quikdry,
MVP, and ProLeague.
use a 2-pump booster system to increase their water pressure. You
know there are over 100 sprinkler outlets across the entire field.
And with the cement walls all around the park, we have no gopher problems.
Very few squirrels. But there are occasional cats that we chase out.
We have their own sewage pump and a 145,000 gallon collection system.
The Sacramento sewer system can’t handle 10,000+ people all
flushing within a couple hours. So, we pump and hold it and then slowly
send it out to the city sewer system. Good to know, huh?
Well, I want to pick up some hints about your dirt mix and how you
take care of it.
The dirt mix on the infield is 60% clay and 40% tichert #2 sand.
Matt suggests you contact Hasty’s Sand & Gravel on Jackson
Rd for good baseball mix clay. The warning track is made of
crushed brick. We get it from C&L Trucking in Woodland. It is
1/8 crushed lava brick.
The batter boxes
and the mound has unfired clay bricks about 3” under ground.
We get these the Muddux brickyard on Bradshaw. I do suggest
you choose a dirt that does not stain white uniforms too much. Our
original mix was horrible on uniforms.
Jim: Good to know. Now, how about your grass?
OK. The field grass is a mix of Bermuda and chaparral perennial
rye. Rye is used for over-seeding during the season and heavily used
Fertilizing is done with both liquid and granular materials. We use
19-25-5. And periodically we use extra ironite and sulfur.
We always use baskets to catch the grass when we mow. We don’t
want to deal with thatch buildup. The
infield grass is ¾ inch high and the outfield grass is 7/8
inch high. When the team is home, we mow every day.
-- end of part
I'm sure you are finding
this conversation fascinating. In part two we'll find out what
they do for ongoing maintenance as well as some professional suggestions
for anyone wanting a premier ballfield.
Yours for better play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Baseball Field Renovation Guide
directly to part 2 of the conversation with the Field Manager of the