January 2012

National Mall Turf Renovation update


The National Mall turf renovation is well underway with sod planned for April.  The pump station for the irrigation system is being installed along with the sub-drains in the first turf panel closest to the Capitol.  Since the drains are placed 4feet in the ground they will be tough to hit with all the tent stakes used to erect structures for the 3000 events the mall handles annually.  Its been determined the panels will be sodded in this phase using a 3 way blend of fescue.  The extremely mild winter in DC has allowed for some progress in the renovation. 

The NPS put up some panels around the site to help educate the public as to what is going on and why the area is blocked off from use. 

The irrigation pump station is huge.  It will be pumping from the four  250,000 gallon cisterns to reduce the use of city water.

Marlins Ballpark Looking Good


Stopped into check out the new ballpark in Miami and its amazing to see how far the stadium has come along since my last review.  The venue is on schedule with workers putting the final details on the facility.  The field is almost completed and more importantly they have their head GK on board Chad Mulholland who was an asst. in Philly.  In a week or so the field will be green as the Celebration Bermuda turf will be laid in big rolls to cover the straight sand rootzone mix.  With a retractable roof he will have some relief from the typical showers that you have in southern florida.  Greg Jones one of our previous turf managers at York will be one of Chad’s assistants this year.   Its great to see guys move up the ladder and to achieve their professional goals.

Paying it forward


Big week for the Sports Turf  Managers Association   (STMA) Our conference starts this week in long beach ca.  This will be my 25th year attending the conferences.  Quiet a bit has  changed and for the better.  Great leadership and our industry staying true north with a vision to educate and share information about making sports fields safer and playable around the world has allowed our numbers to grow.  When I started to become really involved with the association was in 1991,   I think we had about 100 people show up at the conference in Vero beach.  Now its in the thousands.

I have always enjoyed teaching and sharing what I have learned over the years in baseball.  I recall sharing stories of my own turf problems and field issues with so many that its difficult to remember the number of times others shared their insight to make a project better or a field safer that i was involved with.  It’s all about paying it forward.  The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.  This conference is all about sharing ideas and learning new ones from others.

This past year we did several sports turf clinics around the world and this year we have a bit larger docket of clinics in the works.  I believe we are up to 6 on paper.   Dont want to let the cat out of the bag but they are all international.  Its going to be a fun year with the MLB Opener in Japan, the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers and several new ballparks developing outside the USA.  Looking forward to sharing those experiences and many others with everyone this year.

Hoping everyone has a great and prosperous new year.

MLB Groundskeeper Hall Of Fame Trophy Named for Gary Vanden Berg


In a great show of respect for Gary a group of MLB Groundskeepers selected a couple of sport turf industry greats in the trophy’s inaugural year.  George Toma and Emil Bossard were announced as this years recipients for their outstanding contributions to the game and the sportsturf industry.   I never had the pleasure of meeting Emil but  have spent a little time with George over the years at conferences and turf events.  He is a true inspiration to the world of groundskeeping.  The Hall of fame committee members are Bill Deacon Mets, Trevor Vance and Justin Scott Royals, Bob Christofferson Mariners and Mark Razum Rockies.    

To be considered for induction in the MLB Groundskeeper Hall of Fame, a person must have made a significant contribution to the sportsturf industry at the major league level and has not been employed full-time in the profession for at least 5 years.

Gary was one of the kindest people in the sportsturf industry.  Always one to answer a question or talk about his field.  He will be missed by many. Naming this award in his honor was truly an easy selection as it passed unanimously by the association members.

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