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Every spring, Putnam County baseball coach and athletic director Dave Garcia spends many hours working on the team’s fields in Granville and Hennepin.
This year, however, it’s a different kind of work.
“You’re always working on your field,” Garcia said. “This year it’s been more about trying to save the field. Usually, you spend (a large) amount of hours on the field, but you’re working on the little things — you’re manicuring it a little bit more.”
The heavy rainfall this spring has forced area coaches, players and maintenance workers to put in extra effort getting baseball and softball fields ready for games. “There’s a lot of raking, a lot of squeegeeing and a lot of waiting around to see if the wind picks up,” Garcia said.
Friday, for example, Garcia was outside on Jenkins Field in Granville at 1:45 p.m. to try to prepare the field for the next day’s Legends Wooden Bat Tournament. After school, he was joined by his junior varsity players and they finished up the field around 5:30 p.m.
Garcia then drove to Hennepin and met the varsity players on Massino Field to get that field in shape for Saturday’s games.
They worked on the field until 10:30 p.m.
Coaches and players throughout the area have similar stories.
On Friday, April 12, the day before the La Salle-Peru baseball team played host to Sterling and Rockford Boylan for a round robin, first-year Cavalier coach Matt Glupczynski spent 10 hours at Veterans Park preparing the field.
His players were out there for seven hours.
“When you get a large amount of rain and then you finally do get a nice day, instead of being able to get outside and practice and work on the things you need to work on to be competitive, you have to have your kids out there to help get the diamond ready just so you can play,” said Glupczynski, who gets help from L-P’s maintenance crew on game days. “It takes away from everything fundamentally that you’re trying to accomplish.”
Along with spending hours working on fields, area schools have gone through more diamond dry and other materials for fields.
Garcia said he doesn’t “even want to guess how many bags of diamond dry we’ve had to go through.”
PC baseball buys 20 bags of diamond dry each year using it’s fundraising money. “We normally don’t have money budgeted for it,” Garcia said. “Usually it’s just something extra. This year we’ve had to buy more than we originally anticipated.”
Glupczynski and the Cavs have used more than usual as well.
“We’ve already gone through a pallet of field conditioner, which normally would last us a season and a half or two seasons,” Glupczynski said. “We’ve already gone through a pallet and another 8-10 bags of field dry already this season. I’m purchasing a half pallet of both of those materials in case we need it to get games in.”
Glupczynski met with L-P athletic director D’Wayne Bates and members of the booster club Tuesday.
“Normally, what we do (with field conditioner and diamond dry) is we take care of it through our own budget,” Glupczynski said. “Due to the circumstances we’re in right now, the booster club is helping us out.”
St. Bede athletic director Tom McGunnigal said the Bruin baseball and softball programs have tried to limit the use of diamond dry as much as possible.
“I don’t know if (we’ve used) any more (diamond dry) just because it’s been pretty obvious when we have not been able to play on it,” McGunnigal said. “In those cases we kind of let Mother Nature take its course a little bit. If it’s too wet, we’re not going to load it up with a bunch of stuff that first of all is going to cost us money, or second of all is going to put the diamond in bad shape for later on when we know it is going to get warm and the sun’s going to come out.”
Better weather is expected soon. According to www.weather.com, there will be four days next week with sun and temperatures in the 70s, including 79 degrees and mostly sunny Tuesday.
“It’s really hard because you can’t get into any type of rhythm,” Garcia said about the current weather. “You really can’t work on a whole lot of things outside that you need to work on. … It’s hard and I think some of the kids’ stats are showing that. Hopefully, the weather will break here this week or next week and we can get to playing some baseball and softball.”
And get back to manicuring fields instead of trying to salvage them.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by:
What do ypu get paid for? Does your job discription include bitching, complaining, making excuses. It's to dry, the infield is to hard, the kids can't slid.
It's to wet spikes clog, kids can't practice, can't get a rhythm going. It's baseball, it's a game, in the over all scheme of life it don't matter one whit. Maybe you could have them read a classic, listen to classical music, Can't practice, go to a nursing home and play cards with the guys, read them a book or just visit
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