Above: That woman struggling to lift up second base in the middle of the game is me. Panic set in, but I was eventually successful!
SEATTLE -- Sure, when you think of the Seattle Mariners, you think of the players. But there are a lot of people working hard behind the scenes to make them- and the field- look good.
As the Mariners prepare to kick off a weekend home stand versus the Los Angeles Angels, we wanted to show you how that field is kept looking so perfect for every game. On Wednesday, I was honored to have the opportunity to join the groundskeeping crew as a "guest groundskeeper", and served as an assistant of sorts as they prepared the field for the game, and groomed it between innings.
Some highlights: helping chalk the catcher's box; and running out among the players mid-game to pick up 2nd base while the crew raked the infield. Oh, and Robinson Cano greeting me and having to remind me to put the base back in.
Bob Christofferson is the head groundskeeper; he's been at Safeco Field since the second season the M's were here. Prior to that, he spent many years as head groundskeeper at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.
On this particular day, Bob's work for a 12:40 game time began at 6:30am. He works with two full-time assistants, plus has five guys on day crew, and a pool of fifteen who rotate among the games eight at a time. And even after all of these years, Bob says he still loves his job.
I helped them hose down the infield before the game; they do this to help the 'lie' of the ball. (Imagine it bouncing on bone-dry dirt that can act like concrete.) Once the game begins, Bob heads to his office just 60 feet away from the field, to watch the game on a television screen like a hawk. He's looking at how the field is responding to the ball, and ready to jump if any mid-game maintenance or changes are needed. Additionally, Bob and his crew drag the infield in the 3rd and 6th innings.
It was a huge kick to work alongside this talented groundskeeping crew; big thank you to Bob and his team! And, as always, GO M's!
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