March 2014

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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38 SportsTurf | March 2014 PATRICK "IRISH" COAKLEY, CSFM, sports turf superintendent, Ripken Baseball, Aberdeen, MD "I don't map out anything ahead of time for the mowing I do. I try to keep my patterns all straight lines, mostly for practical reasons such as providing a guide for fertilizing or spraying. We have two mowers we use, John Deere 2653 models, and the width of cut matches my boom sprayer, for example. It makes for more efficient and quicker work. "This year for our stadium field (home of short-season Single A Aberdeen IronBirds), we'll be using a Deere walk-behind reel mower for the infield, which we got to minimize the amount of traffic on the infield. "I can mow a straight line; it's just a matter of picking a spot and making sure you stay symmetrical. Keep it simple. When you have straight lines it also is easier to change out the pattern, especially if you have constant play like we do at Ripken Baseball. "Reel mowers have a 'spiral' roller on the front that lays the grass in one direction so when the light reflects off it the grass appears to be a different color. It's like vacuuming a carpet in different directions; the reflecting light can make it appear to be two different colors. When grass keeps getting pushed in one direction, it lays down and can create a ball that zig zags. You mow in a different direction to stand that turf back up "During homestands, especially if they last more than three games, we change up the patterns because if you let it go too long that mow- ing in the same direction will affect the roll of the ball, especially in the outfield. I've become a fan of the 'blank slate' look in the outfield as well, where there is no pattern. This is the best for playability. But if you're going with patterns, it's best to choose two or three in advance so that it is easier to change from one to another without having to mow all day. It's a matter of efficiency, and simpler. "If the homestand is only 3 days, you can get more intricate be- cause you might only cut the grass one time in those three days, es- pecially if you're using PGRs. "It's all about efficiency for me; not taking too much time on the mower while not compromising playability." EDDIE WARCZAK, manager, grounds, Milwaukee Brewers* "Over the years I have done many different patterns in both the outfield and the infield ranging from simple straight lines and check- ers to team logos and baseballs. I have learned different methods from a variety of people in the industry but I have also learned a lot through trial and error. TOOLS & EQUIPMENT TIPS ON MOWING PATTERNS IN YOUR BASEBALL TURF Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, Appleton, WI "We try to change the pattern at least once a month however with our harsh spring and busy tournament schedule the first half of the baseball season the pattern doesn't always get changed out as frequently." — Eddie Warczak Ripken Stadium, Aberdeen, MD, home of the Single A IronBirds

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