Brewers grounds crew wins turf race

Brewers grounds crew wins turf race

MILWAUKEE -- It came down to the wire, but it was just warm enough this week for the grounds crew at Miller Park to get the place ready for baseball.

"We got lucky," longtime groundskeeper Gary Vanden Berg said. "That's what it came down to. We just got lucky."

Milwaukee was a frigid place to maintain a baseball field this winter, as the city received its second-largest snowfall in recorded history. The grass needs sunlight so the dome remained open for much of the winter season, and even though it had been sealed up since February, when Vanden Berg tried to turn on the built-in irrigation system on Monday he found that several couplers built into the warning track were still frozen. Over one particularly difficult spot, the crew built a makeshift lean-to and set a space heater in place.

Vanden Berg said he was happy with the state of the field on Friday.

"For this time of year, yeah, I'm happy," Vanden Berg said. "You never really know how it's going to play until they get out there and play on it, but I was pretty confident it was going to be OK."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.