Throughout the month of February, SportsField Management spoke with several veteran Minor League Baseball head groundskeepers to get insight into their operations — how they maintain playable fields, how they survive working the required long hours and what advice they would give to younger colleagues.
One of the MiLB head groundskeepers we interviewed was Britt Barry of the Dayton (Ohio) Dragons, the Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
Barry — formerly the head groundskeeper for the Lexington Legends (Single-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals) — was the winner of the Sports Turf Managers Association’s fourth-annual Mowing Patterns Contest. His resume includes previous stints with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Dragons and the New York Mets. He graduated from Wilmington College of Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and agronomy.
We asked him, “You’ve been in the game for a while and you’ve worked your way up the career ladder. Can you tell us the five things that have led you to the success you’ve had?”
Here’s what he had to say:
- Assistants. “A right-hand man that I trust and can do a great job without constant supervision is one of the biggest factors to success. Someone that buys in to believing what our goals and expectations are and can help guide the crew to achieving them.”
- Part-time crew. “These guys are the ones who work behind the scenes with little to no recognition that make it all possible. Without a good crew of part-time employees, success is tough to find.”
- Supervisors. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have bosses that give me the tools to succeed and manage the field the way I see fit. Teaching them what we do and why we do it helps them to understand our goals. It’s very important to keep everyone on the same page, and your boss is key to helping you meet those goals.”
- Vendors. “With all the successful companies and viable products to use in our industry, it’s important to find vendors you trust to help lead you in the right direction. From equipment to building fertilizer programs, you need to have a good relationship on what they can offer and what results you want to see.”
- Family. “This might be the most important one on the list. My parents have always supported me in every way they could growing up. My wife has been with me through six seasons and counting. She not only puts up with me, but the crazy work schedule year in and year out. Their support is the reason I am still able to do what I love.”