Maintaining a baseball field is more challenging than most people will ever realize unfortunately. However, that won’t stop them from complaining if your baseball field is not kept in the best of conditions either! To maintain a baseballfield in good condition throughout the harshest seasons, we have a few tips fromveteran groundskeepers today.
Record keeping is Crucial
Former groundskeeper at the Durham Athletic Park, Josh Marden firmly suggests that a good groundskeeper is also an excellent recordkeeper. The following suggestions from Mardenare quite insightful.
- Track and regulate worker-shifts daily in advance tokeep them in sync with the next day’s planned field usage.
- Track and record weather conditions and prepare your workforce in advance to counter those conditions.
- Manage yourfield managementand protectionequipment with precision by using aninventory management software application.
- Analyze the soil twice a month for significant changes and keep records.
- Check the field daily for damage and maintain a daily record, even if nothing significant is noticeable.
- Track and record all financial expenses of field management and protection via a grounds management software system.
DedicatedField Protection Covers are a Must
Baseball field tarps alone are not going to be sufficientfor protecting the entire field, especially ifbad weather tends to last longer in the locale. Protect your field thoroughly with large field tarps, infield covers, dedicated spot covers,pitching mound tarps, and whatever else you may need to coverthe baseball field from persistent, harsh weather.
Do not forget to measure the ground thoroughly before buying covers. Also, you need to protect your baseball field with tarps and covers that are up to the task. For example, field covering designed to prevent rain and flooding damage may not be sufficient to protect the field against freezing temperatures and snow accumulation. Always keep the local weather inmind.
Don’t Ignore the Jar Test for Soil Consistency
The soil consistency ofa baseballinfield will varydepending on its groundkeeper’s decisions. There are tried, tested, and proven guidelines tofollow, but in time you will learn to introduce changes of your own.
The jar test is one of the easiest, andmostconvenientsoil analysis techniques that groundskeepers still use. The simple test is apt for gauging the present conditions of an infield, providing necessaryinformationfor planningrestorative steps if necessary.
- Collect five scoops of soil from the infield
- Make sure that collected sampleshave all layers of the infield’s soil mix
- Blend the layers together thoroughly
- Pour10cm of the blended soil mix inside a wide-mouthed, straight glassjar
- Saturate the soil by adding only a few centimeters of water at a time and then shaking it a bit
- After three centimeters of water remain unabsorbed up top for 10-minutes, leave it overnight
- Add a few pinches of salt to expedite the settling process
- The soil willbe divided into a bottom layer of sand anda top layer of clay, with a thin layer of silt separating the two
- Take a tape and measure how deep each layer is
- Every millimeter represents roughly 1% of the total soil composition; 5mm = 5%, 10mm = 10%, 70mm = 70%, etc.
Experts suggest that the ideal soil mix for an average baseball infieldshouldconsist of around 70% sand + 10% silt + 20% clay.You can find a more detailed guide on that here.
Now that you know what needs to be removed and what must be added, you will be able to maintain or change the infield as needed. Not that this is the most comprehensive list, but these three will prove themselves to be the three most important facets of excellent groundskeeping.