Brewers opening day: Grounds crew ready as much as baseball players

The grounds crew at American Family Field is just as ready for opening day of Major League Baseball in Milwaukee as the Brewers players themselves. 

On Wednesday afternoon, April 13, the grounds crew met with the media to offer an up-close look at the diamond that will play host to more than 80 games this season.

Fans should know the field they will see is all-new. Back in November, the grounds crew took out the existing player surface, removed 640 tons of sand, replaced that sand, graded it, and tilled it out. The crew let it settle during January. Then the new sod was installed at the end of February and into the beginning of March.

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"It was roughly 28 semis that came from south Jersey," said Ryan Woodley, Director of Grounds at American Family Field. "It took about a week to install and this has been in place for about five weeks now."

Woodley said the team uses a variety of bluegrass.

"They allow us for low sunlight, we have to use less irrigation," Woodley said.

The field is fresher than ever, but it is not something you will notice from your seat or on TV.

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"Same pattern. We like to keep it consistent, same infield dirt. That’s the big thing is players like consistency and that’s what we try to give them," Woodley said. "We actually had to turn the heat on inside the stadium to help the soil temperatures rise up to help the grass start growing so that was a pretty stressful time."

The diamond has a new irrigation system – which allowed the grounds crew to be more accurate with its watering and maintenance. 

Despite the newness, officials say the playability of the field should be no different for the Brewers. 

For those headed to the ballpark for the home opener, it is expected the roof will be closed.

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