Its been another crazy summer for maintaining baseball fields around the country considering the 100 degree days, not to mention the pressures of keeping them playing safely and looking great. This blog is for a few of our guys who really make that happen on our Brickman Sportsturf team. Next blog (when I have time) I will post the rest!
Camden Riversharks hosted the Atlantic League All -Star tour this year. Sportsturf manager Isaiah Lienau and his crew.
Southern Maryland Bluecrabs ballpark Operations Manager Kevin Moses and his crew.
Long Island Ducks baseball field managed by Sportsturf Manager Eric Ogden and his crew.
Lancaster Barnstormers Baseball field . Managed by Anthony DeFeo and his crew.
Staten Island Yankees baseball field managed by Ryan Woodley Sportsturf Manager and his crew.
York Revolution baseball field managed by Rob Borman, Sportsturf Manager and his crew.
Sugarland Skeeters ballpark managed by Sportsturf manager Brad Detmore and his crew.
First, it feels a little weird not having baseball or softball in the Olympics this year after working on baseball and softball fields during the past 3. It’s really hard to believe. So what happened? I have been asked this question a lot lately. In 2005 news folks reported that the IOC decided to vote baseball and softball out of the Olympics. Baseball was eliminated by a vote of 54-50 and softball was deadlocked at 52 which resulted in removal of the sports. ESPN put out a story about a so-called secret meeting where they voted off baseball and quickly tried to vote in karate and squash to replace Baseball and Softball. That’s why there are only 26 sports in the 2012 Olympics instead of 28. http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=2103234
In 2006 a re-vote was taken and it was 46-42 against baseball and 47-43 against softball. The first Olympic sport to be removed from the games since they booted polo in 1936.
The answer to “why” depends on who you ask and what you read as to the reasons baseball and softball lost the Olympics. Some say it was politically influenced because of anti- American feelings, others say it was due to differences regarding drug testing. Some say it was due to not having the best players represent the sport. All of these theories can be debated as to their accuracy but i do know that the IOC had their eye on introducing new sports to the games and unfortunately baseball and softball drew the short straw.
In 2009 there was a 3rd IOC vote and again we were not even shortlisted to the top 3. At this vote, Baseball and softball presented separate bids. The governing body of baseball “IBAF” is working very hard to get the game back into the Olympics. This time with a potential for softball/baseball to have a combined bid. I think we have a really good shot at making it back in under the leadership of IBAF and the ISF.
The GOOD NEWS! The sport Federations are making major strides towards being included on the shortlist for the 2020 games . The reinstatement campaign is in full force and the game is growing tremendously around the world. I have seen numbers on the web where there are 2 million or 4 million even one report says 10 million kids playing little league baseball. If you want to support the game and see softball and baseball back in the Olympics you should send letters and support to the federations in your country. Send a letter to the IOC too! The more we grow the game in our hometowns around the world, the better our chances will be for inclusion into the 2020 Olympics.
As part of the USA-Cuba Friendly Game Series this week, we held the 1st MLB Field Clinic in Havana this week. The Cuban Baseball Federation invited us to lecture on baseball field maintenance at Estadio Latino Americano. All 16 pro clubs from the country had representation at the clinic. What these guys have to work with would amaze many of you. Picture yourself having only a residential riding mower, 4 rakes, 4 shovels, no tarp, no clay, no soil conditioner, weed control, ant control, etc…. to prepare for an international tournament in front of thousands of people. These guys do this everyday. I just love the passion the people in Cuba exhibit for the game of baseball. That passion was also evident in the groundskeepers that care for the fields. I have had the privilege of traveling to this country several times.
It was the first time all these guys were together and you would have thought they had known each other forever. We did a slide show to talk about materials and maintenance processes then went to the field for hands on training. Typically hands-on means most are watching but this event had all of the guys heavily involved. They really enjoyed the Sports Turf Management slides ( WWW.STMA.ORG ) as they were translated in Spanish. Such a great exchange between friends in sportsturf. Hearing stories about their fields and issues was no different than sitting in a room with my peers in the states.
They have created a pretty good clay for the island. Drains well and is designed to wick water past a certain point. Then it will firm up. On opening night of the series, we had an inch of rain and puddles of water all over the infield. With no big tarp to cover the field and we still played in under two hours.
Havana – After a crazy rain delay USA battles Cuba in the opener of the freindly series 4-3. The teams used to play each other pretty back in the early 90’s and now they started a new set of annual games. The Cuban players played are seasoned squad and the college level USA team did a pretty good job handling them. A great game on a very wet night. After an 1 1/2 rain delay we finally got the game rolling. Heavy rains fell for an hour. No tarp was available so it was back to old school groundskeeping. Awesome ground crew with Juan, Orlando and Elier.