Results tagged ‘ Michael Boettcher ’
The Major League Baseball groundskeepers are set to host their annual meeting in Los Angeles this weekend. Prior to the meetings, the late Gary Vanden Berg was selected as the latest inductee into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. He will join previous inductees Emil Bossard (Indians), George Toma (Royals), Joe Mooney (Red Sox), Dick Ericson (Twins), Harry Gill (Brewers), Pete Flynn (Mets) and Pat Santarone (Orioles). Vanden Berg will be inducted this Sunday, January 24, at the DoubleTree in downtown Los Angeles.
Vanden Berg was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization for more than 30 years. Following a year-long battle with cancer, he passed away on October 10, 2011. Gary was well respected for the work he did, but more importantly for the person that he was. It was unanimous that, among his peers, the trophy for the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame was named in his honor upon its inception in 2011.
“Gary set a standard that we all admire to this day, not just in his profession but in his personal relationships, and we are thrilled to hear that he is receiving such a high honor from his peers,” said Bob Quinn, Brewers Executive Vice President – Finance and Administration. “His care for the grounds at County Stadium and Miller Park in often challenging conditions was always at the top of the class. He was also a great friend to everyone in the organization, and a mentor to many who have now become established in the industry.”
Vanden Berg began his career in sports turf management when he joined the Milwaukee Brewers Grounds Department in 1981 as an assistant to the legendary Harry Gill, who is recognized as one of the founders and driving force behind the formation of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). Vanden Berg served as Gill’s assistant until his passing in the fall of 1990, setting in motion his 21 years as the head groundskeeper for the Brewers. Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Vanden Berg got his start in the turf grass industry by working on golf courses where he grew up in Oakfield, Wisconsin.
In his time as an assistant and head groundskeeper at County Stadium, Vanden Berg not only had to produce a quality field for the game of baseball, but also for football. The Green Bay Packers played select home games at County Stadium through 1994. In addition to Brewers and Packers games, the field endured other events including concerts, measurable snowfall during the season, and tractor pulls, to name a few.
When the Brewers moved from County Stadium to Miller Park, Vanden Berg made the move with the team, tackling the challenge of managing grass in a retractable roof stadium and its imposing shade patterns. Vanden Berg prepared the Miller Park field for numerous events, most notably the 2002 All-Star Game and the Brewers’ playoff appearances in 2008.
Vanden Berg will forever be remembered for the internship program that he established in Milwaukee for college students aspiring to become sports turf managers. Students from all over the nation sent their resumes in, hoping to get a spot on the Brewers Grounds Staff every year due to the great experience they were able to receive under Vanden Berg. The national STMA recognized the importance of his internship program, and established the Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant for students seeking internships that may not have otherwise been able to afford it.
To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered. Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote; a nominee must receive must receive 75% of the vote of all active association members.
Current Brewers Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher, along with David Mellor, Head Groundskeeper of the Boston Red Sox, recently took part in a Diamond Davincis podcast, a podcast dedicated to the artistry and science of sports field management, where they spoke about Vanden Berg’s induction into the Hall of Fame. You can take a listen, here.
Back in Milwaukee, unseasonably warm weather has everyone–including the grass–thinking spring.
This morning, the Michael Boettcher, Director of Grounds, and the Grounds Crew staff started pulling covers from the field at Miller Park:
Just another sign that we’re #OneDayCloser to Opening Day–28 days and counting!
Recently, FOX 6 ran a nice feature on the Miller Park Grounds Crew. Click here for an inside look at the guys who help make Miller Park’s field look so good.
As noted in the video, Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher and the Miller Park Grounds Crew will have a busy All-Star “break”–as soon as Sunday’s game vs. the Cardinals concludes, they’ll start turning the field into a pitch for the Chivas vs. Swansea City A.F.C. match on Wednesday. Following the match, they’ll transform it back.
Stay tuned this week as we’ll have photos and videos of that process for you here on the blog and across our social media platforms.
We were so happy to see that the tarp had come off of the field last week; seeing that lush, green grass at Miller Park reminds us that baseball (and spring!) is just around the corner.
This year, Brewers Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher and his staff have taken new measures to ensure that the grass is ready for Opening Day and stays extra-healthy all season, assisting their quality field maintenance program.
Last Monday, March 10, they started treating the field with grow lights. The lights run almost 24/7 on the infield and sidelines, giving the grass a reduced level of synthetic sunlight.
The Grounds Crew will treat everyday until the Exhibition Games next Friday and Saturday and then throughout the entire growing season (both at night and during the day when the team is out of town).
So, next time you drive by Miller Park at night and see that glow, you’ll be reminded of lush green grass and all of the fun, exciting Brewers Baseball you have to look forward to being played on it all season long!