Maintenance & Game Prep for all SCAA Baseball fields
Everyday Minimum Maintenance
This maintenance is the responsibility of the team who has the last practice or game for each day. In a rotation, have 5 or 6 players perform this duty. It only takes 5-10 minutes! PLEASE be sure players & parent volunteers are taught & follow these guidelines:
- Remove the bases & put the plugs in. This should be done before raking, brooming, or dragging so that the area around the base gets leveled to the rest of the infield. Store bases/plugs in closest dugout.
- Fill in holes and low spots: Home plate, pitchers mound, first, second and third.
- Any torn up spots or high/low areas in the infield dirt.
- The pitchers mound.
- Batters box area.
- Broom: All dirt areas except mound and home-1st and 3rd-home baselines. These areas are too narrow for the broom and must be raked instead to avoid lip buildup.
- Cover the mound with the tarp (Field #4) if rain is expected. Tarp should be stored by hanging gently over the fence behind 3rd base bullpen.
**NEVER rake towards or parallel to any grass edge. Only rake AWAY from grass. This prevents a “lip” from forming due to buildup of dirt along the grass edge.
**NEVER sweep with broom closer than 6 inches to grass edge, or towards a grass edge. Always pick the broom up away from the edge when finishing.
**NEVER drag the screen closer than 1 foot to grass edge, or towards a grass edge. Always drop or pick up the screen away from the edge when starting or finishing and shake out dirt several feet away from grass.
**NEVER drag the screen over any grass or across any grass/dirt seam. This creates a lip of dirt buildup over time. Always carry the screen over the seam onto and of off the infield dirt.
**NEVER attempt to drag the mound area. It is too small of an area to drag without going across a seam/edge.
**ALWAYS rake the mound inward, from the grass edge uphill towards top of the mound.
**AVOID using too much Turface. ALWAYS remove as much standing water as possible using the "sponges", or spread water to dry areas, before using Turface. Too much Turface over time leads to loose surfaces which reduce player traction, and also contribute to dusty conditions. The Turface in the sheds is actually designed for dirt conditioning, not for water absorbtion.
**DO NOT ALLOW PLAYERS to “dig-in” at the pitchers rubber. This is unnecessary and creates more work to repair the hole. Pitchers should become accustomed to pitching from a nearly flush surface in front of the rubber. Break this player habit early.
Prepping the Field for a Game
If the field is maintained as outlined above, the home team for each weekday game will only have to put down the base lines and the batters box.
- All equipment needed for prepping Majors/Minors is in the shed behind field #4.
- There are large spikes in the ground for attaching the foul-line guide string both at the backstop behind home plate (look for white spot at bottom of fencing) and at the foul poles. String should just touch the outside edges of home plate and 1st & 3rd bases when aligned properly.
- The outside edge of the base is the outside edge of the foul lines. The outside edge of the white flat part of home plate is also the outside edge of the foul lines. Foul line should run through the base, not alongside of it (pause the chalk flap while over bases)
- All lines should be chalked/painted inside the strings. That is, the infield side of the string. Line up the machine on the foul line and find a convenient point on the machine to follow the string. Do not put the “arrow” of the machine on the string. The arrow should be near the middle of the final painted line.
- All lines are 2” wide (using only one open flap under chalk machine), except the Jr/Sr League Field #8 are 4” wide (both flaps open). Chalk should be used in infield dirt areas only. Paint should be used in all grass areas.
- For the batters box frame, mark the OUTSIDE of the frame with a screwdriver, and always chalk INSIDE the mark. Just like a foul line is considered to be in fair territory, the batters box line is inside the batter box. Normally the inside lines of the batters box are not chalked.
- Do NOT mark any on deck areas for any fields, except Jr/Sr League Field #8. Little League rule 1.08 specifies no on-deck batters outside dugout for Majors and below.
- If desired, paint the home plate, pitchers rubber, and bases. Paint the bases in the dirt and then sweep the dirt with your foot to erase the overspray. Do not paint them against a fence or in the grass. This leaves ugly marks on the fence!
- Turn on the scoreboard and designate a parent from the home team side to operate.
- If a team wants to drag the field using the lawn tractor, please talk with Chris Rufert before dragging for the first time. The drag is NOT to be pulled onto the grass, but lifted onto the grass, leaving all dirt on the field. Do not drag over the corners of the grass OR drag while bases are in place. DO NOT simply drag back and forth from 1st to 3rd (like the Zamboni on hockey ice), there are specific patterns the tractor should follow to avoid creating high/low spots, and Chris can help you with that.
Check out these videos for more details:
Baseball Infield Skin And Lip Maintenance
Baseball Field Mound And Home Plate Maintenance
Little League Groundskeeping (Pt 1) - Fixing holes in mound/plate areas
Little League Groundskeeping (Pt. 2) - Removing the "lip"
Little League Groundskeeping (Pt. 3) - Lining the field
Little League Groundskeeping (Pt. 4) - Maintaining the "skin" area
Little League Groundskeeping (Pt. 5) - Recovering from rain
Little League Groundskeeping (Pt. 6) – Mowing