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Miller Park Grounds Crew prepares for Opening Day

Prepping field a year-round affair
Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-30 18:29:04-04

One of the best parts of Opening Day is seeing the team take the field for the first time. The focus is typically on the nine players but it's what they're running on that creates a picturesque background.

The field at Miller Park doesn't resemble the "spring" grass seen all around Milwaukee. Inside it's a lush, green carpet ready for some of the best baseball players in the world to stomp across. But the Miller Park Grounds Crew didn't groom this grass overnight.

"Everything inside the walls that you see here, we put a lot of meticulous work into it to make sure it plays 100 percent right for the players," said Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher.

Boettcher says they started growing this turf every fall at the end of the season.

And while he edges the first base line with precision, it's about more than beveling beautiful blades to turn out this grass. 

"There's a lot that goes into it," Boettcher said. "The soil sensors under the surface are kicking data back to us constantly so we're managing the surface to its proper conditions."

The science behind the grass is what keeps Miller Park so green. It's a round-the-clock effort that can be especially difficult with the ballpark's retractable roof. It casts shadows on the field that can prevent some patches from getting the photosynthesis it needs to be so photogenic. 

"We don't get much direct sunlight over there," Boettcher said about the right and center field areas.

"We're trying to help fire that portion of the field up with the grow lights. We'll move them around, analyze our growth patterns and how the turf responds, where we're placing them and move them accordingly to make sure we're 100 percent ready."