MILWAUKEE -- Major League Baseball opens its 2012 season Wednesday, April 4th, and the Brewers return to Miller Park for their home opener Friday, April 6th vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Crews are putting the finishing touches on the field in anticipation of the season beginning, and there's a new head groundskeeper in charge of it all.
Brewers' head groundskeeper Justin Scott has been on the job for less than two months, and says he's still learning about Miller Park. "When you move into a new house, there's always nooks and crannies that you learn, and what it takes to heat it and cool it," Scott said.
Scott's crew is spending this week putting the final touches on the field in preparation for Opening Day Friday. Scott says he knows he has big shoes to fill. Scott replaces the late Gary Vandenberg, who prepped the Brewers' field for over 20 years before passing away last October. "I did not know him extremely closely, but I did know Gary, and I certainly know what he meant to the Brewers and what he meant to the city," Scott said.
Scott came to Milwaukee in time for the warmest March in recorded history. "You might think a mild Wisconsin winter would do wonders for the field, but not necessarily. The turf never went quite as dormant as we probably would've liked it to. Just like people, it needs some time to rest, and that's what winter provides it," Scott said.
Scott says fans shouldn't worry about players tripping or balls taking crazy hops. "We've had a lot of flexibility in getting the playing field up and running, so that's been very good," Scott said.
When the Brewers take the field Friday, fans will get their first look at the work of Scott's crew. Whether the winter was mild or harsh, getting there is never easy. "It's always a sprint to Opening Day, no matter where you are or how good the weather is. There's always going to be challenges and things that come up," Scott said.
Scott says something he's focusing on is the shade patterns. With a retractable roof and large window panes, he's still figuring out the right amount of water and shade for different parts of the field.
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