WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Wind Surge is a Minor League Baseball team that gets to play on a Major League-caliber field. But, maintaining that Major League quality takes a lot of work.
“We always carry a little chip on our shoulder. We’re perfectionists,” said Ben Hartman, Wichita Wind Surge head groundskeeper.
Hartman gave KSN’s Taylor Rocha the chance to help get the field ready for game day. The first task was mowing.
“Are you sure you trust me?” she asked.
“Oh yeah, this is super easy!” Hartman said. “When I point to drop, push it down and it will go on its own. That was a really straight line. Good job. The white stripes, I’m mowing away from you, the dark stripes, I’m mowing towards you, and all that’s doing is rolling the grass blade over, and that’s the reflection off the sun. That was a really straight line. Good job.”
“It’s a lot more than just mowing,” he said. “When people come to the game, what they look at is the field, but what I look at is how the field is playing.”
Hartman spends most of his time on the dirt.
“I want a clean in and a clean out,” he said. “I want that ball to roll really smooth and I don’t want any bad hops. I also want a clean transition from the grass to the dirt. Seamless.”
There is also the pre-game watering of the dirt.
“Can you see it there? That gloss? Throughout the game it’s going to maintain the whole time, that’s because I have good moisture underneath us,” Hartman said.
He says that when it rains, they will roll out the tarp. But he says it is always a challenge.
The groundskeepers are also responsible for drawing the lines on the field and placement of the bases.