November 2005

Help Wanted!!

Panama_series_1 This time of year many groundskeepers have put there field to bed for the winter and have started to get a little cabin fever. 

Maybe your not even a head groundskeeper and want to become one someday!!!  Let me give you a couple of the pros and cons of this industry before you decide to throw your shirt and tie out the door in exchange for a rake.

1.  Ask yourself ….If you like to work outside, in all climates, everyday of the spring and the summer and holidays….which would include 16 hour game days !  If the answer is yes then go to next question.

2.  If you want to be the head groundskeeper of a professional level field you will need to "pay your dues", just like anywhere else. It may take a couple years and some turf courses here an there but there are many head groundskeepers in this industry that began as a bat boy or clubhouse person and then moved to the field.  Actually there are even a few Big League GM’s and VP’s that dabbled with groundskeeping before they moved up the ladder. 

3. I would suggest heading over to the local pro ballpark and initially request to work part time on the ground crew. You will know within a few weeks if the profession is what would like to do for a new or possible career change. 

I have had the privilege of working with many guys and gals from many different professional backgrounds.  For example: Dr. Steve S. is a professor at an Ivy League School in sports marketing. Not your typical groundskeeper type. This guy is probably the hardest working volunteer I have seen in years.  He takes his summers off to help with the maintenance of fields for Olympics and baseball tournaments.  Awesome guy …with a vast amount of knowledge regarding sport turf management.  If he really wanted to change his career he could probably land a minor league job somewhere.

So if your shopping for a career change send me note for more tips. 

Have a great holiday season and be safe!!

Baseball Stadiums of the Winter Leagues

Baseball season in the North America may be over,  but elsewhere it is just starting.  The Winter Baseball League in the Caribbean starts this Friday with the Series final in Valencia sometime around mid January.  For years this has been a solid league that has been used by MLB clubs to assist in honing players talents for the following season.                                                                           

Many times you will see players change to a new Dscn0495_1position and they will send them to the Caribbean to sharpen the skills of there new position during this season.   

(To the left is Mayaguez Stadium in PR.)

Dscn0306During the past few months I have seen 22 baseball stadiums in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela and will complete my duties this month in Mexico for MLB evaluating the parks, fields etc. with my trusty partner Moises Rodriguez, MLB’s Latin American League coordinator! 

(The stadium to the left is in Santiago, DR. Great location and cool park.)

Many of the the stadiums remind me of the early minor league parks from back in the 70’s.  Some range in capacity 6000 seat La Romona Stadium, DR  to the 25000 seat stadium in Caracas, Venezuela.  Recently, you read the story where White Sox manager Ozzie Guillian circled the field of his hometown in Venezuela with the 2005 World Series trophy. What a sight that was!

So if you still have the fever, here is a list of a few great parks to visit in the Caribbean this winter if you want to soak up some sun and more baseball.Dscn0254

Carolina Stadium and Mayaguez Stadium in Puerto Rico.  Valencia, Puerto La Cruz and Caracas in Venezuela and in the Dominican Republic you have a couple of unique ones in Santiago,  Santo Domingo and  San Francisco.  This is really good baseball with current MLB players playing for many of the teams.

Dscn0502   To the left is Carolina Stadium in PR.and above is Santo Domingo Stadium, DR.

Carolina is a relatively new park in the Carribean with an AstroTurf field.  Most fields are natural turf.  Only 3 out of the 22 I have seen are synthetic.  Ticket prices are very inexpensive and if you have never been to a game in the Caribbean you need to prepare yourself.  The people are passionate about the game cheering, horns blowing, drums pounding and mas cervesa flowing…nonstop through the entire game!!!!

Dscn0718 The Stadium to the right is Puerto La Cruz, on the beach in Venezuela….. where gas is 8 cents a gallon!!!  This a another great park in the Caribbean with some really nice Bermuda grass.

Have fun!