'em a Field They Can't Refuse
9, 2007 -- Issue 13
Fields for Better Play
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,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Baseball Field Renovation Guide
You can see this
college field renovation project in the project gallery.
Read more about this baseball field project here...