I am the …
Head Groundskeeper of Pioneer Park
For the …
Tusculum College Pioneers and Greeneville Astros, rookielevel affiliate of the Houston Astros
What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without?
Bases, paint and chalk. You can’t play a game without establishing the ground rules.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …”
A meteorologist. I’ve developed a fascination/obsession with the weather.
What’s your favorite sports movie and why?
“Sugar.” It shows the ups and downs of a minor-league baseball player very well.
What path led you to a career in sports field management?
I’ve always had a love for the game of baseball and have always wanted to work in the game. In 2008, I did an internship with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on the grounds crew and loved every minute of it.
What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for?
The field itself (sand-based Tifway 419 bermudagrass, overseeded with rye in the fall), a berm area, a small courtyard, bullpens that are out-of-play and areas around the clubhouse and batting cage.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facility?
The schedule. Between the Tusculum games and practices, Astros games, high school games and tournaments, showcase tournaments and any non-baseball related events … the schedule can get pretty hectic.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
Being named the Appalachian League Turf Manager of the Year last year. It’s nice be recognized for all of the hard work that goes into taking care of the facility.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job?
Have a plan and stay organized. Staying on top of your plan – whether it’s a weekly, monthly or yearly plan – makes it a lot easier when you’re organized.
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future?
Our jobs will never be easy. But there’s a lot of new innovations and technologies that make what we do less stressful.
What do you wish spectators/players/coaches knew about your job?
How much time and effort is spent on game days and non-game days.
What is the most important quality required to be a successful field manager?
Having a sense of humor. Being able to find humor in a 16-hour, 10-tarp pull kind of day makes the pain of it a little easier.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers?
Never stop learning.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors?
Dan Stricko, Bill Marbet and everybody that I’ve worked with and met within the industry. It’s great to have a good network of groundskeepers to share ideas with and ask questions to when needed.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF KELLY RENSEL