Results tagged ‘ USA ’

MLB Fort Bragg Event – Much more than just a game


fort bragg cover

The dust is starting to settle after the #MLBFortBragg game last week where a regulation game between the Braves and Marlins was held.  What a way to celebrate the 4th of July weekend.  To say it was a whirlwind event would be putting it mildly.   Building a field and a 12,500 seat ballpark in 4 months was a daunting task but with MLB putting the right people together we were ultimately successful.   This event was special in so many ways.  Not only did the families on the base receive a free MLB game to see, the field will also be donated to Ft Bragg.  In comparison, the Cuba Game was historical due to the POTUS factor,  But this one was doing something for the men and women who put there life on the line for us every day.  MLB built a “Field of Thanks” an named it Fort Bragg Field.

Acknowledgment of those involved that made this event possible is important.

ft bragg tarp crew

A BIG thank  you to MLB and MLBPA for funding the project.  Even though tickets to the event were free to our military service members and families there were still costs for building everything.   Annmarie and her team with BAAM provided outstanding project management services for the bleachers, locker rooms and staffing as well as all the logistics for ESPN and VIP’s.  Todd and Bobby from Populous provided some cool concepts for us all to work with and also provided onsite design services.  The field site, fencing, bullpens, batting tunnels, dugouts were managed by Peter and Ernesto from our Brightview Development and Construction teams.  The field actually took just under 3 months to build.  I would be remiss if I didn’t thank and clearly acknowledge Chad Olsen, Eric Ogden and Cindy Unger from our sportsturf team who performed the real magic in making the field MLB quality during the final couple months.

fort bragg field shot

This event had a lot of moving parts and temporary build outs. BAAM is currently dismantling the ballpark bleachers and tents but the field stays.  It will be tweaked a bit to have softball games but other than that it stays as is.  We worked with the local sportsturf guys ( and gal) at the base on maintenance operations during the event.   We also enlisted several vendors to help us out with materials and services for the field and ballpark. Carolina Green, Duraedge, Turface,  Rainbird, Promats, and John Deere all had a big hand in the success.  Our friends at Musco brought in the temporary lights which were beautiful and really created a great ambiance at the ballpark.

Our tarp crew was composed of service members from the 82nd Airborne Division and over a period of a few days we had worked the clock down to 1 minute and 30 seconds to deploy the big 170 x 170 cover.  They were awesome.  We had cameo appearances by a few PRO baseball turf managers from around the areas MiLB parks that chipped in to help us with final details.  Chris Ball Gwinnett Braves, Jake Halloway Greensboro GrassHoppers, Chad Kropff Roanoke County, Scott Strickland Durham Bulls and Zach Severns August Greenjackets. the overall team effort on this project by everyone was truly remarkable!

It was an amazing and historical event that allowed us to give back to the service members and their families on the base.  A way of saying Thanks for all they do for our country.  Looking forward to seeing where the next one will be because this one will be tough to top.

USA 4 – Cuba 3 in Opening Game of Friendly Series.


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.

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.

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