Way back in 1993 MLBI held an event at the Oval Cricket Grounds in London. We actually had to dig up part of the hallowed grounds to build the field for a group of minor leaguers from the Red Sox and the Mets. The grounds were used in WWII as a prisoner of war camp. I felt bad having to dig into the turf like we did for this event but thats the way it goes in the world of special event management.
The Oval has been around since the 1600′s. In fact I recently dropped into see an old friend from those days Bill Gorden. Bill Has been at the oval since the 1700′s too! Actually he took over the reigns from from the world renowned Harry Brind. The greatest MLB baseball event in europe at the time came off with some tense moments due to weather.
Without the support of Bill the "French’s Open Baseball Weekend" would have been a disaster.
For you cricket fans…the Oval is hosting the "Ashes" this weekend. In American terms its comparable to hosting the Superbowl. It has not been at the oval cricket grounds for well over 50 years and our British neighbors have a good chance of taking it back from the Aussies.
Good Luck bill and see you soon!!
The World Cup of Baseball has started and we have a few guys from our Sports Turf Service Division helping the Dutch Federation with field maintenance and overall baseball operations. Dennis Klien from the Round Rock Express also made a guest groundskeeping appearance.
What is most unique about the ground crew staff is that they are all volunteers. Even if there was not a world cup, the facilities are ran by the volunteer approach. Its what this country is all about! Reminds me of the early years when the community maintained the little league fields. The turf here is a POA/Blue mix and the infield clay as it is called here "gravel" is more course than what we have in the states. It plays good for a while …then kind of gets loose. Local materials were used for these fields because of budget issues but overall they are holding up OK.
Netherlands, Cuba and USA are up 4-0 in the tournament going into to days games. USA has there hands full with Peurto Rico.