Back to the Basics in Beijing
Although there are much more efficient ways to build baseball fields in the world, the Olympic Baseball Fields here in Beijing, I can assure you, have accumulated the most "Man Hours" EVER during there this phase of field development. Yes… the photo of the man edging has him using a "Stick" for removing the Bermuda grass that has grown in the baselines. The hand type fertilization system is not what you would see in most countries where you are spreading material over a couple acres. Its a long and patient process but with with 22 days before the test event you really wonder how it will all come together with so many loose ends. Somehow it always does. One minute there are a hand full of people helping you, the next minute there is a swarm. In some situations when you are building a mound or home plate area, to many people can be a bad thing. People are triping over string lines etc..
We started some equipment training with the field Contractor as a TORO Sand Pro and Sidewinder was delivered this past week. The TORO Sidewinder is a triplex mower used for cutting Bermuda grass. After mowing the field with push mowers ..lets just say there were some happy china-men ( and women) in the park today! Immediately everyone became very excited about the field and the appearance the mower was making with the striping of the turf. A local Chinese equipment company was located and provided photos of various types of baseball equipment. Due to costs of shipping, the company attempted to "copy" some of the different types of maintenance equipment using a picture instead of bringing them in from abroad. Some items have been pretty close , but others… well they still need some work. We will evaluate these interesting creations during the test event.
One of my favorite is the Purple Tarp. Can’t say I have ever seen a purple infield tarp before. The Rockies might like it!
We also installed the first home plate into the main stadium. Sometimes you have to stop and think that this home plate is where a team will score the winning run to capture the Gold Medal next year. You also have to wonder how many people does it really take to install home plate! In this photo about 25. All in fun, the curiosity of this sport has everyone wondering what we are doing. This trip I brought Erik Frey (one of our Project Directors) to help with the tasks of training the local crew on mowing skills and assist with the various installations. He will remain for anther week after I leave. We return for the baseball test event in mid-august. We have along way to go but again somehow we will make it.
By the way, they were quite proud of the home plate installation.