Thursday, May 24, 2012

May rain continues...

As of 3:30 pm this afternoon, our rain for the month of May had reached 7.28" total. Last night we received 2.97" of precipitation. In addition to this rain event, we have been battling significant winds from last Thursday through yesterday. All of the wind has been from the south, which means it funnels in from the right field corner, where there is a gap in the building at the flagpoles. These southerly winds come straight into right field and then proceed to whip around the ballpark towards the left field corner, where they follow the seating bowl and gust towards 3rd base. So when we have wind from the south, the worst gusts on the field blow from a northeast direction. Fortunately on Monday it was calm and we were able to get a spray application in. With the winds and then rain forecast for the rest of the week, we loaded up the sprayer with UMAXX, some micronutrients, a fungicide and our PGR, Primo Maxx. My assistant Jarad stayed late Monday and got the application down before dark. Yesterday we did a few extra things, such as painting the TC behind home plate, in anticipation of today being a washout; with a busy Friday morning on the horizon as we start a series with Detroit on that night.

One of the ways we deal with rain and dumping the tarp is with our Toro Pro Force blower. During field construction, the project manager Steve Peeler and I were discussing tarp methods, and he mentioned using his SubAir system at other ballparks to inflate the tarp. Between the two of us, we came up with the idea of a "blowhole" that comes up behind the pitcher's mound. The lead contractor, Mortenson, gave us the OK and we installed a 10" solid ADS pipe that runs from the warning track on the 3rd base side, out to a valve box behind the pitcher's mound. We hook up the Toro blower and get air under the tarp. We have been using a lightweight tarp from CoverMaster this season and it is holding up quite well. By doing this, we are able to give the infield turf some air circulation when the tarp is on, and we can remove excess water from the tarp prior to putting it away. Our tarp holds a lot of water because our infield turf is flat and the dirt has a fall of only .33% towards the outfield. Thanks to the great contractors who built our field and the ballpark, we have created a new way to go about dealing with rain and tarp handling.  Below are some photos of the tarp being blown up. - Larry
Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grounds Crew Guest

Today we were joined by the TV play by play voice of the Twins, Dick Bremer. As part of tonight's game telecast on FSN, Mr. Bremer will be working with our crew throughout the game, and following the game we will do an on-field instructional, which is a quick segment that tonight will focus on one aspect of playing field maintenance. Mr. Bremer reported to the ballpark to work with me at 9am this morning and will pull the full-day shift just as I do...meaning he will be with us until 11pm tonight. In addition to helping us paint the TC behind home plate, Mr. Bremer also learned to operate a hose and set up big league batting practice. This was a fun idea that was thought up by Mr. Bremer and the producers at FSN. Like many of us on the crew here, Mr. Bremer went to the ballpark as a youngster and imagined how enjoyable it would be to work on the grounds crew in the big leagues. When I was growing up and we attended SF Giants games at Candlestick Park, I had a great time watching the grounds crew drag and water the field after batting practice. At that point in the late 1970's in California, the state was in an extended period of drought and water restrictions were the norm. It was pretty amusing for me at a Giants game, watching those guys put a large dose of water on the infield and warning track each afternoon and evening, as they attempted to mitigate the drying effects of swirling winds at Candlestick. Perhaps that is why my favorite part of my job is watering dirt. See below for Mr. Bremer in action. -Larry


About Me

Welcome to my blog. I am Larry DiVito, Head Groundskeeper for the Minnesota Twins. DISCLAIMER: content within this blog does NOT represent views or policies of the Minnesota Twins or Major League Baseball.This turfgrass management blog will provide insight into the work of a big league groundskeeper and his crew. I grew up in California playing and coaching baseball, while also working on fields along the way. In 1995 I was fortunate to be hired as Head Groundskeeper for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, where I spent seven seasons. In 2002 I became the Assistant Groundskeeper at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. I worked for four seasons in LA from 2002-05. In 2006 I became the Head Groundskeeper for the Washington Nationals in Washington, DC. After three seasons there, I moved to Minnesota in the spring of 2009 as Head of Grounds for the Twins during the building and completion of Target Field.
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