Culbreath: The Winterfest sacrificeWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been really exciting seeing all of the Winterfest news come out over the past couple of weeks. We know about the dozens of games that’ll be played at Fifth Third Field in the 10day span that the ice will be down (You might not know that a good chunk of them have free admission. Free!) There’s also the FanFest at the Huntington Center on the first night, multiple events in Downtown Toledo that were recently announced with Imagination Station, the Toledo Zoo, the Toledo Museum of Art, the downtown library, the art galleries, and the list goes on and on. It’s going to be an amazing 10 days in downtown Toledo, and I count myself lucky to be one that works in the area. But I do have to admit: it weirds me out to drive past Fifth Third Field and not see any grass on the field.
Yeah, soon after the Mud Hens season came to a close, the grounds crew went to work doing the unthinkable: tearing up that beautiful green grass to prepare for the ice rink and it’s various accessories. Every blade of turf is gone, the field stripped down to dirt to make way for a vinyl covering. I imagine that for chief groundskeeper Jake Tyler, this is along the lines of a mortal sin. This is the man who won an award in 2007 for his efforts as the keeper of the turf. He’s the mastermind that piped giant heaters underneath a giant tarp in an effort to get the massive snow from the winter off the infield this March. He’s gone to extreme lengths to protect his house, and now he’s had to pull it all up.
Then again, I’ve always been curious about those scout camping nights at the Fraction. Do they put stakes down on the tents? I’d imagine you have to, but then what does the grounds crew do to repair the damage of all those ground spikes? I imagine there’s a method (and if I were an actual journalist, I could probably call someone), but I’d imagine that Mr. Tyler’s response would be a simple “How about we not†punch holes in my field?” I guess the “fix” after Winterfest is laying down all new turf. And I know the folks at the Hens have local sources for getting that all put together. I don’t know, it could be that the turf needs to be wholesale replaced after a while anyways, and they timed Winterfest out to coincide with that time. That would explain why they felt comfortable enough cutting holes for the mini golf course.
Don’t get me wrong, Winterfest is going to be amazing for Toledo: 10 straight days of outdoor hockey and skating will be a highlight for the city for decades to come. Just remember the poor groundskeeper who watched his beautiful grass get pulled up to do it. Good luck with putting down the new turf, Mr. Tyler: we know you’ve got the skills to get it down.
Matt “Shaggy” Culbreath is sports director for 1370 WSPD.