FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Everything at Parkview Field is a part of the TinCaps game day experience, right down to the blades of grass that the game is played on. Parkview Field Head Groundskeeper Keith Winter and his team are hard at work making sure Parkview field is ready when the TinCaps take the field for their home opener Tuesday night.
Even though there were no games last year, the field still required maintenance to make sure it was ready for when players hit the diamond again.
“We were all furloughed,” said Winter, “We were all on leave for almost a year, but I was still here every day doing what we need to do to keep it growing because you just can’t walk away from a field and expect next year it will be fine.”
While it didn’t get as much maintenance with a lower budget than a typical year, Winter says the field was in good shape to start this spring. However, with Opening Day in May instead of April this season, the preparations for making sure the field is at peak condition for the TinCaps have required a different approach. That’s due to high school and college games that have been played at Parkview Field over the last month.
“Usually it’s the other way around, the TinCaps are here and we intermingle those high school games. So we’ve had a lot of activity out here as a result of that there’s a lot more wear and tear on the field than would normally be when the team arrives,” explained Winter, “So our Opening Day this year had to take on sort of a preventative side to try and hold the field together. Then once the team arrives then we can really dial in some of the fine-tune things we need to do.”
The TinCaps returned to practice last week, and the grounds crew has been packing the clay around the bullpens and infield, in addition to adding new sod in front of the pitcher’s mound. These fine details make sure the field is safe for the players but also look good for the fans who will be back in the stands.
“You realize how much you miss it and how much you enjoy the excitement of a game day. That’s what we are here for, we’re here for the game days. We are here to provide a safe playing surface for the players, and to have an aesthetically pleasing, something for these fans when they walk in and look at,” added Winter, “So when they come to Parkview field they go ‘Man that field looks great!’ That’s why we are here.”
The Fort Wayne TinCaps start the season against the West Michigan Whitecaps Tuesday, May 4th at 7:05 p.m.
Ticket information can be found here.