For almost 10 years I was that old fart who took care of the fields, and if I do say so myself, they were the best in the area. Then came the day when one of the dads decided he knew better than I and we had a push comes to shove moment. Not needing the drama, I quit and never looked back.

 

Until I quit, the original infield hybrid Bermuda grass was still there and looked as good as the day it was laid. Within 2 years the infield had to be ripped out and replaced, and 3 years later it’s being replaced again. This time the superintendent in charge of all the maintenance for the HOA approached me and asked what it would take for me to start doing it again.

 

When we talked about it, most of the problem was the users although well intentioned, didn’t grasp the fact that when you drag a field and get too close to the grass, it’s inevitable that the dirt will build up along the edges and eventually build up a “lip”. What I would do at least once every day was using a high pressure hose, rinse off any dirt getting on the IF grass, and once a month or so use it to get rid of any buildup everywhere else the dirt and grass met.

 

The other big problem was the grass in front of the mound getting destroyed. It’s inevitable that there will be damage from normal game use, but even though the maintenance supervisor supplied mats for when someone would be pitching in front of the mound, the lazy *!#@&s wouldn’t take the couple minutes necessary to put it down and pick it up when they were done.

 

So, since at almost 70 I’ve got little else to occupy my idle time, I’ve taken on the job again to give me something to do when I’m not scoring games. Hopefully the jackasses will be kept away from me and I’ll keep them from screwing the fields up again.

Original Post
Stats4Gnats posted:

For almost 10 years I was that old fart who took care of the fields, and if I do say so myself, they were the best in the area. Then came the day when one of the dads decided he knew better than I and we had a push comes to shove moment. Not needing the drama, I quit and never looked back.

 

Until I quit, the original infield hybrid Bermuda grass was still there and looked as good as the day it was laid. Within 2 years the infield had to be ripped out and replaced, and 3 years later it’s being replaced again. This time the superintendent in charge of all the maintenance for the HOA approached me and asked what it would take for me to start doing it again.

 

When we talked about it, most of the problem was the users although well intentioned, didn’t grasp the fact that when you drag a field and get too close to the grass, it’s inevitable that the dirt will build up along the edges and eventually build up a “lip”. What I would do at least once every day was using a high pressure hose, rinse off any dirt getting on the IF grass, and once a month or so use it to get rid of any buildup everywhere else the dirt and grass met.

 

The other big problem was the grass in front of the mound getting destroyed. It’s inevitable that there will be damage from normal game use, but even though the maintenance supervisor supplied mats for when someone would be pitching in front of the mound, the lazy *!#@&s wouldn’t take the couple minutes necessary to put it down and pick it up when they were done.

 

So, since at almost 70 I’ve got little else to occupy my idle time, I’ve taken on the job again to give me something to do when I’m not scoring games. Hopefully the jackasses will be kept away from me and I’ll keep them from screwing the fields up again.

They are lucky to have someone who cares about the field maintenance.  The kids need that!  Maybe you can spend some time mentoring the kids to do their part.  You don't need to always have a tool in your hand, if you teach them to have pride in their field.

Stats - I had you pegged at around 40 yo based on the arguments you so strongly supported.  Hope you enjoy getting your hands dirty again.  Over the years I have gained an appreciation for what it takes to keep a field in good shape.  A lot of it is the daily stuff that takes a few minutes, but has to be done daily.  First time I as the high school hand out brooms I got confused, but after reading several articles about the creation of lips - and the rather extensive job it is to get rid of them once they appear - I understood their purpose.  Also have a huge appreciation for the airtight bucket and the tamper - I will say out high school has one of the prettiest mounds in the area.

Also, thanks for several educational threads on statistics - the good and the bad.

It's not all that uncommon in our area for fields to be owned by the town....rather than the HS....I can think of at least a dozen that my son played on throughout his HS career.  Our HS played on one of the nicest municipally owned fields I've ever seen until about 15 years ago when our then AD decided to spend big money on building a POS field that is probably in the bottom 2 or 3 in our 10 team league.  Horrible maintenance program (the city owned field has a retired guy who spends 6-8 hours/day out there).   That being said, 2 of the best fields we played on during HS were owned by parks....but both in towns with very, very good baseball programs.  The town provided the field....but the baseball program provided all the labor.  Not a bad deal for the school....great field....both with nice lights...all they had to do was maintain it.  Wish our HS would have stuck with that plan 15 years ago

2017LHPscrewball posted:

Stats - I had you pegged at around 40 yo based on the arguments you so strongly supported.  Hope you enjoy getting your hands dirty again.  Over the years I have gained an appreciation for what it takes to keep a field in good shape.  A lot of it is the daily stuff that takes a few minutes, but has to be done daily.  First time I as the high school hand out brooms I got confused, but after reading several articles about the creation of lips - and the rather extensive job it is to get rid of them once they appear - I understood their purpose.  Also have a huge appreciation for the airtight bucket and the tamper - I will say out high school has one of the prettiest mounds in the area.

 

Also, thanks for several educational threads on statistics - the good and the bad.

 

I left 40 in the rear view mirror a looooong time ago, but I do try to stay young at heart.

 

The 1st thing most folks look at is the game mound, but what I look at 1st are the bullpen mounds. My reasoning is, the pitchers will throw about 80% of their pitches on the pen mounds, so I want them as much like the game mound as possible.

 

You’re welcome for anything I’ve said that adds to the knowledge base.

FWIW, here's a pic right out of OBR that tells all there is to know about how a mound should be set up as far as the rules go.

 

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Stats4Gnats posted:

JCG posted:

An HOA owns your HS field?

 

I didn’t mean to imply they were the HS fields.


 

 

Used for Little League? HS would be easier; you only have one group of students to teach how to rake, not a zillion parents all with their own ideas.

I've often said that when I win the lottery, I'm going to build the greatest baseball field in existence, and maintain it between naps. There will be hot dog air fresheners, a repetitive sound loop of leather and cracks of the bat, and I want kids to sneak out at night to play pick-up on it.

In reality, it'll be between my game schedule...because I'd get bored too easily.

JCG posted:

Used for Little League? HS would be easier; you only have one group of students to teach how to rake, not a zillion parents all with their own ideas.

 

Yes. LLI has a contract to use the fields 1st. Others can use them, but only if LL isn’t.

 

Yes, HS would be easier. Unfortunately the closest HS is 17 miles away and it’s more than a quarter mile from the parking lot to the field. This way I jump in a golf cart the HOA gives me for use on the fields, drive about 1 minute up to the fields, and have access to all the equipment and materials I need, unlike at most HS’s.

Not only do I feel your pain, I know that these guys have taken a HUGE STEP forward asking you to help.  Yes, you have to use that hose IF you want to protect against that lip and it is so anoying seeing someone turn a gator or other machine fast on the dirt throwing the "dirt' onto the lip.  Then, they also dump the drag along the lip area.  It drives me crazy.  On an infield, "attention to detail is everything."  Congrats on getting to do something that you will enjoy and that the public will take note of. 

CoachB25 posted:

Not only do I feel your pain, I know that these guys have taken a HUGE STEP forward asking you to help.  Yes, you have to use that hose IF you want to protect against that lip and it is so anoying seeing someone turn a gator or other machine fast on the dirt throwing the "dirt' onto the lip.  Then, they also dump the drag along the lip area.  It drives me crazy.  On an infield, "attention to detail is everything."  Congrats on getting to do something that you will enjoy and that the public will take note of. 

 

What’s most frustrating to me is that none of the things it takes to keep a ball field looking great is difficult or requires expensive specialized equipment. The problem is when you add up all the minutes it takes, it becomes a huge task. Not many people want to spend an hour detailing a field after they’ve just spent 3-4 hours preparing for and participating in a game.

 

I’m not real good with either taking pictures with the phone, transferring files, or getting them posted on-line so they can be seen but I’m gonna try to put up an example of what I’m going through with the “lips”. As many times as I’ve done it I’m still amazed at how that dirt piles up and how much of it there is.

You don't need to do it all by yourself.  Obviously it's not going to be easy since you apparently have  multiple groups using the fields, but within the context of LL, it's possible to get the league to require coaches to assign parents to field work before and after games.   And of course once they hit the big field, the players should take that duty over.  Once you've got your workforce, the key is to train them to do it properly.  That part is much easier with kids than parents.

The key is pride.  The pride you feel when you look at your field.  IMO one of the most beautiful things on earth is a well manicured baseball field.  And I have no doubt that it is part of building a successful program. It's all about how much someone cares.

That said, 70 years old might limit what some of us can do.  I would ask if there is enough in the budget to hire an assistant or two with a strong back.  

PGStaff posted:

The key is pride.  The pride you feel when you look at your field.  IMO one of the most beautiful things on earth is a well manicured baseball field.  And I have no doubt that it is part of building a successful program. It's all about how much someone cares.

That said, 70 years old might limit what some of us can do.  I would ask if there is enough in the budget to hire an assistant or two with a strong back.  

That is a fact.  When someone walks up to your diamond and it is in top shape, it is such an awesome feeling. 

We have a great 4 field LL facility.  The facility does it's best to educate coaches on proper field care.  Of course the information is not always received equally and once the coaches pass on the info to parent (sometimes kids) volunteers it's even further diluted.  Volunteer work is free and many times you get what you paid for.  It's hard to knock well meaning volunteers when they are just trying to help.  The facily host close to 1500 games a year and all in all holds up pretty well.  I think a simple solution to help would be to have some simple direction on the rakes and drags.  Paint or attach a sign "KEEP DIRT OFF GRASS" or something.  

Well, those are all great comments, but as in other things in life, every field is a different situation, and when dealing with the lower levels especially, every year there’s a huge influx of new people to try to get on board and do things the “right” way.

 

Our situation’s problems begin with this being a community that has Augusta aspirations with a muni budget, and very little desire to do anything other than drive a $15K golf cart to the park, drive it wherever they please, then drive back home again leaving the work to someone else. That’s not a problem most fields have, but it really is a problem. The guys who mow know where the sprinklers are and avoid them, but not John Q. Public. The maintenance people also know where the low wet spots are and avoid them like the plague, but not Jane Q. Public. Then you have the problem of dad having a golf cart that will go 35mph and using it to drag the infield field just as fast as he can, often sending the drag over the grass.

 

For those of us who’ve grown up loving and respecting the game, it isn’t a problem. It’s the dad who never played beyond LL and doesn’t have a clue what it means to have pride in the field. Those are the people you hear comments from like, “Its only grass”, “It only takes my gardener a few minutes a week to make my yard look great”, and the best one, “I pay my dues, let them take care of it!”

 

A few years back they had to close the small field for a week to do some work and the league made arrangements to have the baseball games be played on the softball field. The parent went bat s*#t nuts and refused. Rather than have the boys play a couple games on a dirt infield, they built a 46’ mound on the big field planted base pegs. After a week that included about 20 small field games and 3 or 4 big field games, the big field’s infield was pretty much shot for the rest of the season all because a dirt infield wasn’t “good enough”.

 

It’s difficult to fight that kind of mindset.

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