WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Nothing says springtime like some baseball. It’s the opening weekend for the Wichita Wind Surge, and curveballs won’t be catching staff off guard. Instead, they are keeping their head in the game.
The last few months have been busy as staff prepared for this weekend, and they are not dropping the ball on this sophomore season.
The field is ready to go, and a hidden athlete is executing on and off the field. His name is Ben Hartman, and he is the head groundskeeper for the team.
“I try not to get too overwhelmed by it or into the craziness, but it is crazy,” said Hartman. “Dirt work, grass, mowing, and then some of the fun touches like we get to paint the logos, paint the foul lines, and coaches boxes and get those down.”
He said he’s more prepared this year. Last year, because everything was brand new, there was less time to prepare.
“Last year, I had 10 days to get the field ready, so I was here from 7 a.m. to midnight every day, just an all-out grind,” said Hartman.
While it’s a slower pace of play this year because he started in early March, it’s given him the time to focus on the small details.
“We take care of a major league field on a minor league budget,” he said. “What I mean by that is these guys are going to be playing in the bigs, and we saw two of them get up last year, and so I want that transition to be as smooth as possible for them.”
The pressure is still on because of that.
“There’s a lot of pressure though. If a player gets injured on the field, it’s not a good good thing at all, and we could receive fines,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure, but I love it.”
Don’t think that when the game starts that Hartman gets to take it easy.
“I sit for the whole first inning in the dugout on a knee, because when I’m on a knee, I can see the field level perfectly, and I’m watching that, how the ball rolls. I’m watching how they’re landing into the mound,” he said.
Hartman, like an athlete, is always swinging to make his game better.
“When we put out the tarps, I asked for that footage as well from our camera production team and just make adjustments because we do here to make adjustments every single day,” he said.
Hartman was out first thing Friday morning to get the field prepped for Opening Day. He said he wants to be sure it hits home for everyone.
“The saying goes when you look good, you play good? So is it’s the same thing on the field,” he said.