Listen closely – you can hear the field at BB&T BallPark screaming.
Not the stands, which will be packed with thousands of fans for Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game, but the actual field. The grass, the infield dirt, all of it.
Or at least that’s how Charlotte Knights head groundskeeper Matt Parrott put it. The Knights have been at home since July 4, more than a week now.
“The All-Star Game amounts to the last day of a 10-day homestand for us,” Parrott said. “Typically the last day of a homestand is the point where the field says, ‘Hey, I need a break.’
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“In this scenario, it’s not gonna get a break.”
For Parrott and his staff, the schedule presents an interesting problem – maintain the field for day-to-day use, but prepare for a nationally televised event at the same time.
Sunday night. The Knights played at 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon against the Gwinnett Braves, and the Triple-A Home Run Derby started Monday night at 6 p.m. That gave the grounds crew a short window to work in.
But working at night isn’t abnormal for Parrott, who came to Charlotte from the Bowie Baysox in Maryland four months ago.
“When the game ends, that’s when we do the bulk of our work,” he said. “You don’t have the sun beating down, drying the dirt out – and wearing you out, quite frankly.”
By noon on Monday, Parrott said, the majority of the prepwork for the All-Star Game was finished. Grass trimmed, logos painted on the grass, everything.
By Wednesday, the only thing he’ll have left to do is normal field maintenance. For Parrott, that’s become almost routine.
On the field by 9 a.m.
Infield dirt management.
Detailing the field.
Set up batting practice in the afternoon, and then take it down.
And then, at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night, the Triple-A All-Star Game. Parrott’s field will be broadcast live to millions through the MLB Network. The game will be played, and a few hours later, the stands will finally clear out.
Only then can the field stop screaming for a break. It, and Parrott, will have earned one.