March 2012

MLB Wraps up Japan Series


What a week.  A lot of firsts even for this old dog.  Great games both pretty close. A’s came out ahead tonight so now the A’s and Mariners are tied for 1st place for about a week.    A lot of thanks go out to way to many people I cant remember for helping us pull this one off.  Tamba, Hokike and my man Kas.   Shawn took us through the first steps and chad Olsen played the key roll in making the event successful   Along with the masked man and moma boss.  Both supervisors that we nick named for fun

What a great crew of Japanese and American turf managers.   Couple other fun shots of the final game.

Then there is cepesdes

And my fav..UMPIRES TRAINING!

MLB Opener Series at the Tokyo Dome


Actually have been a bit busy with the field here the past few days.  4 games and 10 BP sessions in 3 days.   2 of the 4 games were sellouts at 40,000+ .  Rehearsals running pretty steady for the MLB Season Opener.  See below a few photos.

Giants Mariners game tonight  sell out crowd to watch Ichiro

Japan’s double BP batting cage system

don’t see this public announcement in to many ballparks.  In case of earthquake hold on to a seat.

just a lot going on in this shot.

Tokyo Dome Prepares for 2013 MLB Opening Series


Plans are well underway on the field and ballpark improvements at the Tokyo dome for the 2013 MLB Opening Series.  Teams arrive tomorrow,  practice saturday then back to back double headers before the opening games on weds and thursday between the A’s and Mariners .    Reconstruction of bullpens, homeplates, mounds, base pits, turf repairs, etc… took place over a 38hour time frame due to the event constraints around the opening series…The guys worked in shifts from the crew but there were a few Yomuri warriors  along with the  grounds supervisors that worked  straight through along with Chad-son an Murray-son.    The dome is a slightly pressurized facility that helps support the roof membrane that covers the stadium. Built in 1988 on the old Velodrome site,  you can still walk in the outfield and see the track railings.   Every time you leave the park your ears pop from the pressure in the building.

This is our 5th time working in the “egg”.   The staff has always been great and they recently made a few changes.  The head groundskeeper Hoshimoto an his trusty assistant Suzuki retired last year  after working 50+ years with yomuri giants and the Tokyo dome .  They look like they are both 40!   A true inspiration to sportsturf managers around the world.  50 years with one company!   Hoshimoto  was telling me about the earthquakes and how the dome was swaying last night.    What’s cool is they promoted Tamba and Kohike from within showing consistency and loyalty to the young guys on the crew.   The Dome is showing its age but at the sametime versatility to be able to host major events throughout the year similar to the rogers centre in toronto.

Going to be a fun event…i really like not having that big  tarp to mess with!

In Honor of St Paddy’s Day…Thanks you Mr Hops!


When you think of St. Patrick’s day you cant help but to think of green and beer.  Growing grass is fun but brewing beer is pretty fun too.  It’s actually not that difficult.  A little water, brewers yeast, malted barley and hops and away you go!  Pretty much anything with sugar in it will eventually ferment but the brewers yeast helps the fermentation process.    The flavor of beer comes from the hops  ( photo above is a hops field we drove by in Germany.)  As a novice brewer, hops tends to balance the sweetness of the malt.    You can find Hops in all sorts of flavors and aromas these days.  Hops also acts as a preservative in the beer and helps maintain that frothy head after a good pour.  Beer is one of the worlds oldest prepared drinks and is number 3 on the all time popular world drinks after water and tea.

One of the coolest beer dispensers I have seen is located in the Narita airport terminal in Japan.  Set the “chilled”  glass on the machine, push a button…and the glass goes to a perfect angle as the machine pours the beer perfectly every time.   Pretty cool.

That being said off to Japan for the Opening Series Preps between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s !  Have a great St Patrick’s day and drink responsibly.

Its Spring…time to get GREEN!


Front_yard_photo_1Baseball Season Officially starts in less than 9 days with the MLB Opener in Japan on March 28th and it also signifies the time to Green up your Grass , especially for the folks who live north of the Mason Dixon line. If you are a competitive lawn man with the neighbor or just enjoy having green grass… you should be heading to Home depot or your local landscape shop this week to pick up your lawn products.  Temps are finally going to level out and your ground is going to start to thaw.

There are so many choices when you get there and the main thing is to keep it simple and go into the store with a plan.  Your plan!  Remember Different grasses + different climates = different turf programs so not all fertilizer programs are alike.

A little work this spring can keep your lawn healthier for the summer.  Here is a list of projects you may consider as you plan for a lush turf.

1.  Get a soil sample and have it tested by your local extension office.  This sounds tough but its as simple as it sounds. Every county has an extension agent that can send you in the right direction.  You will get your turf’s PH tested and also see what your lawn is missing as it relates to nutrients.  The sample of soil and root mass goes into a quart sized zip lock bag.  Go to a couple spots in your yard to collect soil. This test takes about 10 days…

2.  The report will give you the specifics of materials to purchase and at what rate to apply the materials. Some even give you the exact brands.  Many lawns need Lime and the PH test will help determine the level of acidity in the lawn.  An average is 6.5 to 7.0

3.  De-thatch your lawn. Bluegrass and fescue lawns build thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass between the ground and where before the blade turns green. Average thatch is around 1/2 inch thick. If its thicker than 1/2inch rent a de-thatcher and rake up the thatch layer debris. If you didn’t dethatch in the fall now would be a pretty good time to thin out the turf… but make sure the last frost has finessed and start the process the day after.  Removing Thatch helps your seed to ground contact and also reduces summer disease problems.

4.  Lawns need aerification in the spring and fall.  This is a process of plugging holes in your yard with a machine…. (they used to use shoes for plugging lawns years ago… they had long nails on them) The process of renting a machine could get expensive depending on how big your yard is but nevertheless it will improve the root growth and relieve compaction of the soil.

5.  Seed your lawn. Broadcast your seed after the aerfication and de-thatching. Use a seed that is common in your region.  Most ballparks in the north are bluegrass blends.  Most lawns are a fescue/bluegrass blend.  The key is to make sure you get a variety of mixes.  A four way blend of seed is preferred.

6. Fertilizer. The soil test will give you a some direction of types of fertilizer but more importantly don’t apply a pre emergence herbicide to your lawn if you overseeded.  Nothing will pop.  If your lawn is healthy and you are not overseeding…. then put out a granular pre-emergence in the spring with your fertilizer application. This will help control broadleaf and grassy weeds in the spring.  If you didn’t obtain a soil test, play it safe and Fertilize with a well rounded N-P-K product with micro nutrients per manufacturers suggested rates.

7. Irrigate or water your lawn for a couple days after the renovation is completed to wash the seed and fertilize next to the soil for good contact.

8. Patch any areas that require sod or new grass.

For that quick green look in the spring I like to use Ironite on my home lawn in the spring.  If you can’t find Ironite , use a Milorganite.  Both of these products can be applied with your regular fertilization plan.  Get a good cyclone spreader…not a drop spreader and layout a path so you apply it evenly.

That should get you started for a healthy turf in 2012!  Good Luck!

2012 MLB Dominican League Field Maintenance Clinic


The MLB Dominican League Office in the D.R. hosted the 4th annual MLB Dominican League Field Maintenance Clinic this week at the Cleveland Indians Academy in Boca Chica.   We had a great turnout with about 45+ sportsturf managers and operators representing 26MLB clubs and 5 winter league baseball stadiums.

Also had a couple new guest speakers take part in the education sessions this year.   Trevor Vance Kansas City Royals Head GK, Tom Burns and Rene Asprion with TXI.

The MLB Academy development in the DR has been growing extensively the past 5 years.  Each club has invested in building new and  upgrading existing 2 or 3 field  complexes that sport great fields and facilities for the young athletes.

As a teacher by trade,  it is a wonderful feeling sharing knowledge and experience to help fellow turf managers around the world improve and develop their skills.

The Fish have arrived!


We literally checked out the new fishbowl in Miami today.   Make it very clear this is now the Miami Marlins not the Florida Marlins. Also more importantly we have green grass and today they put the fish in the tank!    Yes little sun fish,  tropical fish,  swimming around behind homeplate.  Pretty cool.

They really did  a great job of capturing the local culture’s flair for bright color schemes throughout the ballpark.   And as another touch,  they actually planted some ficus trees in  center field.  I would like to think (personally speaking) this was a gesture of homage towards the old municipal stadium in West Palm Beach that also had ficus trees in center field for 36 years….. considering big chunk of the Marlins staff are former Expo employees.    But really, its more  likely because its the fastest growing tree. shrub in south Florida.  And its green!

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