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Make 'em a Field They Can't Refuse
June 9, 2007  --  Issue 13
Better Fields for Better Play
Jim Reiner

Once upon a time a high school senior headed off to college to play baseball and to learn about life.

His college team was in its third year and really the program was still forming.  Being a new program, the college team played on a field at a park and rec complex.  There were six fields... softball, little league, and one college size field used by PONY league.

The college field was old, worn out, and worst of all, had a huge buildup in the middle of the infield. It was as if the mound was 30 feet in diameter and much higher than regulation.  Not many grounders bounced straight.

People had talked for years about scraping it flat and staring over.  But since it was a multi-use field, the only time open to work on it was during the winter rainy season.  And that just wasn't going to happen.

Well in August of 2004, I saw this field and thought, "This field condition is dangerous at this level of play.  but it can be fixed."

So, I proceeded to put together a proposal for the park superintendent.  I took pictures and identified the problem areas and how to fix it.  I got estimates for equipment and materials.  I found many local businesses willing to donate or steeply discount what we needed. I put together a time line and the labor required for the work - I expected to use the baseball team themselves.

So, in late August I met with the park superintendent and talked about what we could do and how we'd do it.  He listened. Then he asked me, "Are you trying to sell me something?" 

I laughed inside.  Here's what was happening. The park and rec department was short on funds. And here I was talking about doing a major field renovation, but not asking for any money or labor from them... just be there to help oversee what we planned to do.  I was offering to manage the project for free, get the equipment and materials, and get free labor.  I just needed their permission to renovate their field.

This really was an offer they couldn't refuse.  We started in early September and the team was playing on the field in mid October.  It did take a couple weeks for the sod and new grass to take so it was ready for collegiate play.

The team played better than ever on this new field.  They went 13-3 the spring of 2005 on this new and improved baseball field. 

The team was recognized for their outstanding volunteer work and contribution to their community.

What a success story.  Make 'em a field they can't refuse.

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

Jim Reiner
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide

You can see this college field renovation project in the project gallery.  Read more about this baseball field project here...

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