Toledo Mud Hens Grounds Crew Clears Snow in Innovative Fashion


April 5, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baseball in the grass before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We’re less than one month away from Opening Day here in the Midwest – for both Major League and Minor League teams – but the ground is still covered with a thick layer of snow and ice. This presents a potential problem as grounds crews look to prepare their fields in time for games to begin.

At Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio (home of the Detroit Tigers AAA affiliate Toledo Mud Hens) Sports Turf Manager Jake Tyler is taking a creative step to clear the field of snow and ice in order to begin work on the grass and dirt.

"Jake and his grounds crew have created a temporary ‘hot zone dome’ by using the rain tarp, putting snow around the edges and then using heaters to pump heat underneath the tarp. The heaters are pumping an estimated one million BTU’s inside the temporary dome, which is cranking up the heat to around 70-72 degrees inside."

Click the story link to see the pictures, one of which is Jake standing on the pitcher’s mound inside the giant tarp bubble.

Heather Nabozny and the Tigers are planning to install new sod at Comerica Park, but the ground remains quite frozen. I wonder if they’ll turn to similar tactics to expedite the thawing process.