Behind The Scenes With The Target Field Grounds Crew

(credit: CBS)
Target Field
Keeping the Target Field grass green and lush takes a crew of seven dedicated men.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Grounds Crew
Less than eleven hours after the last pitch the crew is back out on the field uncovering home plate.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Jim Thome Batter's Box Divots
"You can see Jim Thome played last night," Nick Wilz says peeling back the protective tarp. "He's like a bull, digging his back foot into the batter's box creating these huge divots."
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Scoring And Tamping
There are two important steps to patching the batter's box: scoring and tamping. The guys will draw hashmarks, or score, the clay to help it bond.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Packing The Dirt
Then they'll pack it with what looks like a flat shovel to pound the ground making it harder.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
Finally, they smooth it all out.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
Everything has to look great for the start of the game.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Learning The Ropes
"They don't have fixing home plate 101 in college," Nick Wilz says pouring some clay onto the ground, "We've all just basically jumped into it learning as we go, though some of the guys do have a degree in turf management."
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Sand
The grounds crew also has daunting task of keeping the grass in pristine condition. The emerald oasis doesn't have a lot of dirt beneath it -- it's actually grown in sand. The rest of the field is half sand, half silt-clay. The warning track is crushed granite.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Watering Target Field
Head groundskeeper Larry DiVito stands on the sidelines spraying down the infield.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
"The trick on a sunny day is to water it all day to keep the top few inches nice and moist," Tyler Carter said. "We want a nice foundation throughout the day so we don't have to keep watering it during the game or batting practice."
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Painting The Lines
Once the infield is patched and the grass is cut it's time to start painting the foul lines -- and it's a nerve wracking task. The crew runs a string from the foul pole to the outside of the base to mark in and out of bounds.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Grass At Target Field
"The things we replace the most are the batter's box, where the umpires stand [behind short stop and second base] -- they really beat it up just from standing in the same spot either behind second base or short stop for three hours -- and right field, because it doesn't get as much sun so it doesn't grow as well," Wilz said.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
The Twins made some major improvements when they moved to their new home at Target Field last year. But the groundskeeping duties haven't changed since the days at the Metrodome. The only real transition is dealing with the weather.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
"Watching Larry with a hose is like a surgeon and his scalpel. It's an art form," Carter says.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
"Sometimes when the tours come around they stare at us like zoo animals, they're not quite sure what to do, or if they can talk to us," Wilz said.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Painting The Lines
"The trick to painting the lines is keeping the string side straight, so it'll look straight," Carter said.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
The good news is, you can actually talk to the grounds crew. They're a close-knit group of guys who take a lot of pride in what they do. After all, everyone in Twins Territory gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Batting Practice
Around 2 p.m. the players arrive for batting practice. It's now the home stretch for the grounds crew. Their final task of the day is putting out the batting cages, covering the infield to protect the grass and do any final watering on the field.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Putting Out The Bases
They also put out the bases for batting practice. Each base, even the ones used in games, are labeled. That way if a player reaches a milestone, they can have that base as a keepsake.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Putting In Third Base
While Twins blogger Tracy Perlman wasn't allowed to hose down the field (you have to earn that right) she did get to do something pretty special. The guys let her put in the third base for batting practice.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Getting Ready For The Game
"Their biggest jobs are tearing down batting practice, drag the field, changing out bases during the games and hosing down everything at the end of the night so it's set for the morning," Tyler Carter says.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
"I think a lot of fans at the game think they do all the grounds keeping. I guess we're just the behind the scenes guys," Carter adds.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
The field should look the same at the start of every game.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Target Field Grounds Crew
"Everyday people day people say 'how'd you get your job? I want your job,'" Wilz smiles. "It's awesome. I get to come to the 'office' -- to the field -- every day. Beats sitting at a cubicle."
(credit: CBS)
Categories: Photo Sports Twins

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