October 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor 12 // October 2017 are numerous reasons I chose to go that route, but the biggest and most important was durability. We roll our infi eld almost daily and are aggressive with maintenance practices to create that smooth surface. Through all of that, I've seen almost no structural degradation of the particles. Not only has this created an easier environment for maintenance, it has also saved us signifi cantly from a fi nancial standpoint. Checking the numbers Once we have the attained the desired surface with the conditioner, it is time to begin adding water again. [We] take a great deal of factors into consideration, many weather related. I will constantly be checking humidity and dew point levels. The higher those two are, the slower the clay will dry out, and the less water I'll want to add as we approach play. I also have to consider wind speed, cloud coverage, and temperature. Each of those three factors will also weigh heavily into how quickly the material will dry. Obviously, we need to take rain into consideration, as well. Beyond that, the schedule of fi eld use will come into play. Each night after a game, I will visit both our home and visiting managers. I inquire about whether or not there were any issues during batting practice or the game that day. I will also acquire a detailed schedule of exactly what each team plans to do for batting practice and additional early work on the fi eld the next day. This will help me know exactly when I need the infi eld to be at a point to be played upon. At our level of professional baseball, a signifi cant number of infi elders will not wear cleats during batting practice. This is huge in retaining the integrity of the surface through practice into the start of the game. I try to express this philosophy to teams at all levels that use our fi eld, but it often goes in one ear and out the other. I also have a great appreciation for infi elders that wear metal cleats rather than molded cleats. The metal cleats go in and out of the surface cleanly like knives and create almost no damage. The molded cleats, on the other hand, tend to be more like shovels and dig out small chunks with every step. With proper moisture, this is minimized, but regardless, molded cleats leave more of an impact than metal cleats. To me, proper moisture for playability is as follows. The surface is fi rm and you leave no footprints when walking. However, I can press my knife at least 1 inch into the surface and pull it back out cleanly. The conditioner is wet to slow the drying process, as well as to create a darker contrast for the infi elders to see the ball. For a standard game starting at 7:05, our visiting team will finish batting practice at 6:00 and fi nish infi eld at 6:10. This gives us approximately 35-40 minutes to break down batting practice and do all of our game prep. During that time, we will once again groom the infi eld and add more water. Following each game, I will continue to factor in each of those weather conditions and the upcoming forecast, as well as the next day's schedule, both for the professional teams as well as any other events occurring during the day. But most evenings, I will put the infi eld under standing water after we have given the infi eld a quick post-game drag, starting the process all over again the next morning. Wes Ganobcik is head groundskeeper at Huntington Park for the Columbus (OH) Clippers. This piece fi rst appeared on the blog, thanks to them for allowing us to reprint here. /ST/ FOR A STANDARD GAME STARTING AT 7:05, OUR VISITING TEAM WILL FINISH BATTING PRACTICE AT 6:00 AND FINISH INFIELD AT 6:10. THIS GIVES US APPROXIMATELY 35-40 MINUTES TO BREAK DOWN BATTING PRACTICE AND DO ALL OF OUR GAME PREP. DURING THAT TIME, WE WILL ONCE AGAIN GROOM THE INFIELD AND ADD MORE WATER.

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