In the August issue of SportsField Management magazine and our cover story titled ‘Nothing Little About It’ we profiled Rob Guthrie, the new head groundskeeper for Little League International and for the fields that will host the 2015 Little League (Baseball) World Series. Space in the magazine is limited, so here is Rob talking about his essential equipment used in making the LLWS fields picturesque:
When the Little League World Series begins Aug. 10, the event will have a new head groundskeeper for the two fields of play (Lamade Stadium and Volunteer Stadium): Meet Rob Guthrie, a 2007 graduate of Penn State University’s turfgrass management program.
Guthrie’s professional journey to South Williamsport, Pennsylvania — a borough of fewer than 7,000 people about 130 miles northwest of Philadelphia — is unique, to say the least. After graduating from Penn State, Guthrie worked as a spray technician at a Pennsylvania golf resort and conference center, followed by jobs as assistant golf course superintendent at two Pennsylvania country clubs.
“I have a passion for baseball; I grew up playing baseball,” Guthrie said of why he was interested in the job. “I have good memories of Little League baseball. Little League has a very big name behind it, and, from a fan aspect, I watched the Little League World Series every year. I always thought it would be a great job to be a groundskeeper here.”
In terms of equipment, Guthrie has what he calls his “Big 3”: a Toro ProCore aerator, a Toro Triplex mower and a Toro Infield Pro.
“We have a lot of very nice equipment here,” Guthrie said. “We’ve recently switched over to mainly Toro equipment.”
Here’s what he had to say about his “Big 3”:
Toro ProCore aerator: “We are very aggressive with aerification and venting. This is a new piece we just got and we’re hoping it makes a difference. It causes very little disruption; you can’t even tell we did anything. We hollow-core the fields twice a year, in the spring and fall. The fields are vented each month in between.”
Toro Triplex mower: “This is another essential piece of equipment that has made a big difference overall in the cut of our Kentucky bluegrass on the fields. We change up our mowing direction weekly to try to alleviate grass from being laid over.”
Toro Infield Pro w/nail drag: “We use this to scarify our infields, to keep them as smooth as we can. After we do the nail drag, we’ll follow with box drag to smooth any out imperfections. Then I’ll come through with a roller and we’ll do any final raking that we need to do. We get the infield mix in place then do a final drag.”
Guthrie also talked about reaping the benefits of a ride-on fertilizer spreader.
“With the size of my crew (which is Guthrie and two interns), that’s something I can quickly jump on and put down whichever fertilizer I need. It takes me not even two hours to do our fields. This is something different for me, as I’m used to using mainly push spreaders, coming from golf courses.”