Effective just prior to Opening Day, both teams that have just completed a major or minor league game or practice on a game field are responsible to ensure that the following field maintenance tasks occur immediately at Wolcott Park, Eisenhower Park, Beachland Park or Fern Park:
Pitchers mound holes are fully filled in and packed, (holes most likely located in front of rubber and at the landing foot area). The mound is also to be fully raked after the holes have been filled in.
Home plate holes are to be fully filled in and packed, (most likely located at both sides of the plate from our batters, catchers area and umpires area). The general plate area is also to be raked after the holes have been filled in.
The baselines and infield are to be fully dragged using the rope pull dragger that is located in each field box.
Base caps are inserted if you are the last game on the field (how do you know if you are the last game on the field?, most likely no one is coming on after you). If no one is immediately behind you and ready to take the field, insert the base caps after you have dragged the infield or you can insert them before you drag to prevent soil from filling the base posts.
Why do we ask you to perform these field maintenance tasks?
If it rains or the sprinklers run at night or the next morning, water accumulates in dirt areas not level. These areas become more susceptible to holding surface water which can be problematic as they don't dry out by game time. Also, the eroded areas at the mound and plate become difficult to repack because the nearby soil at the mound and plate dries out by game time the next day and does not provide for reliable repacking material.
Many towns provide this type of service the next morning after games as a fee for service to the league but we have not contracted with the Town of West Hartford to do so to keep expenses manageable. This adds responsibility to all of us but if everyone chips in, it's not too much work for any one person.
It provides a more reliable playing surface for all of our games the following day. It's easier to prepare a field on game day if immediate post game field maintenance was conducted after the previously played game.
All of these activities should occur after any game played not just the last game of the day. For example if you have the 11am game and there is a 1pm game after you, you should conduct field maintenance immediately after your game, before the 1pm game. Or, if you have the 7:30pm Wolcott night game, you should repair the field before you leave that night.
If any managers or coaches plan to move up to the big diamond in West Hartford, this is standard operating procedure for big diamond usage in town under WHABA governance.
***This activity is also expected to be performed after any practice at a game field by the team that has just completed their practice. ***
Points of emphasis on general field care and conducting field maintenance activities, specifically raking in dirt area on the field and with water on the field:
Do not rake toward the grass or parallel to the grass, always rake away from the immediate grass boarder to the dirt area that you are raking. Dirt and mud kills the grass. Please always rake away from the grass on the dirt areas. Once you have created a large enough buffer zone from a grass boarder using the rake-away-from-the-grass method, you can use larger back-and-forth strokes with the rake on the dirt.
Never, never conduct squeegee-like activities using a broom or any other device to push dirty or muddy water from the dirt area to any grass area on the field. You are certain to kill the grass using this method of removing water.
Instead, dig a hole at the center of the standing water puddle on the field and hand bucket-out or pail-out the standing water. Dump the water on the other side of the surrounding field fence into the spectator areas. Spread the water out as evenly as possible to not create puddles in the spectator areas.
Application of speedy dry. Two/Three bags of speedy dry will be available in the game field boxes per game. Please do not attempt to use more than two or three bags of speedy dry to prepare a wet game field. Most likely if more than two or three bags is required, the field is not playable. Overuse of speedy dry destroys our field soil and makes it difficult for the soil to hold any moisture in the summer.
Never use speedy dry to save a practice on a game field. Allow the field to dry naturally and move your practice to a nearby grassy area off the field
Do not conduct batting practice on our game fields. That's why we put up the cages, to take some of the pressure off game fields.
When taking batting practice at a game field without a batting cage, make sure you are pitching and hitting in a dirt area. Do not pitch from a grassy area in front of the mound. This type of repetitive throwing and stepping motion, rips up the grass in the immediate area you are throwing from. Pitch batting practice a couple feet in front of the rubber while still on the dirt area of the mound. If you can't throw all the way from the pitchers mound dirt area to the batter located at home plate and have to shorten the distance, purchase a small section of industrial carpet or artificial turf (pretty cheap at home depot) and roll up and keep in our car for game days). Roll it out over the grass if you must throw on the grass.
Suggestions for delegating the work:
Managers should not be responsible for conducting all the field maintenance work. An effective manager is good at delegating tasks to coaches and willing parents.
While you as a manager conduct your post game meeting, your coaches should be working home plate and the mound. Maybe recruit a parent to start the infield dragging.
A little work for the older players is not a bad thing. It teaches them the importance and how to care for a field properly. They will be able to pass it on forward someday. We are not asking them to operate power or heavy equipment. All the work can be accomplished with a hand rake and pull dragger. It helps reinforce the concept of teamwork.
THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK IN MAINTAINING OUR FIELDS!