Target Field Preps for Twins Home Opener
Grounds Crew Keeps Grass Green During Long Winter
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“To a degree, it’s a living being, essentially all 100,000 square feet of grass,” said Head Groundskeeper at Target Field, Larry DiVito.
One week before opening day crowds flood into the stadium, the grounds crew at Target Field is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the field.
“We’re just trying to perk up the grass a little bit more, working our dirt edges,” said DiVito.
Larry has maintained fields for many teams in the majors.
“Every field has its own time of year, or its own sequence of events that’s difficult,” he stated.
An outdoor field in Minnesota, Target Field’s biggest concern should come as no surprise.
“The biggest challenge is really the weather,” admitted DiVito.
The grass is protected during the off–season.
“We use a permeable blanket, because we’re usually expecting to have snow cover all winter,” explained DiVito.
Forty miles of tubes circulate heated water under the field year–long.
“It’s very necessary, not just for the greening of the grass, but for the playability of the field for the comfort of the players,” DiVito explained.
Larry says taking care of the grass is an art.
“If you had a surface that was either too firm or too soft, in either case it’s not comfortable for the players,” he told FOX 21.
As is making sure the pitcher’s mound fits major league requirements and the infield dirt remains damp.
“The pitcher’s mound gets, constantly the grade gets checked, the slope. The dirt, by having the moisture all the way through it, it plays more consistently, the ball bounces truer,” DiVito said.
After 5 years as caretaker, Larry knows every nook and cranny of the ballpark.
“You start to feel like you know different areas behave a little differently because of either sun angles, or different nuances in the sprinkler system,” DiVito laughed.
And while it’s no easy task, it’s all for the love of the game.
“Being able to work outside and working baseball, the game I love, is probably the best part,” DiVito smiled.
Monday begins the 6th season at Target Field.
In the 5 years since the Twins moved from the Metrodome, they have played every inning of every game at Target Field.
Grounds crew is looking to keep their perfect streak going through this 2015 season.