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Reading Little League Baseball

Reading Little League Baseball

Field Maintenance

Reading Little League is responsible for all baseball-related maintenance at our fields. We do employ a company to help us with major maintenance but we rely on our volunteers to help us keep the fields in great shape through three seasons of play. We greatly appreciate all of the effort our volunteers are willing to put forward and hope the guides below help you make the best use of your time.

Pregame / Pre-practice

If proper postgame maintenance was done, pregame maintenance should be minimal, particularly when the field is dry and has not sat unused for long

  1. Remove the tarps from the field. Pull them all the way off the field, even for practices. Leaving tarps on the infield grass will burn the grass, sometimes in as quickly as 10-20 minutes during the summer. Leaving tarps in foul territory during a game will eventually be an issue with a live ball.
  2. Rake and/or drag the infield dirt. Always rake parallel to the grass, never raking dirt into the grass. This should be quick if proper postgame maintenance has been happening. Pay special attention to any compacted areas.
  3. Line the fields if time allows. It always feels more like a game if there are fresh lines put down. Considering enlisting the help of a parent. See lining the field.
  4. Put the bases in place. Bases are stored in the field boxes at each field.
  5. Turn on the scoreboard. The scoreboards available at Hunt and Majors are appreciated by players and parents alike and keep coaches from having to answer, "What's the score?" 20 times per game. See scoreboard instructions.

Postgame / Post-practice

Postgame (and post-practice) maintenance is more important to the long term playability of our fields than pregame maintenance. Enlisting the assistance of parents or older players will make short work of it while giving everyone an appreciation for some of the work that goes in to providing a great baseball experience.

  1. Put bases away into the field storage bins. If the bases have an anchored base (Hunt, Majors), leave that in place.
  2. Rake and/or drag the infield dirt. Always rake parallel to the grass, never raking dirt into the grass.
  3. Fill in low points around the bases. The batters' boxes and the areas around each base will have low points from sliding. Fill these back in to prevent puddles and lips.
  4. Place the tarps over home plate and the pitcher's mound.. These areas should always be covered unless the league director, field director, or other board member has approved leaving them uncovered, which may happen if the fields have been wet.
  5. Turn off the scoreboard. If you played a Hunt or Majors and made use of the scoreboard, be sure to turn the power off the scoreboard at its panel and put away remotes. See scoreboard instructions.

Wet Field

Proper postgame and post-practice maintenance is the best way to keep a field playable after a storm. Even with good maintenance, the fields may need additional work after a storm.

We all like to do everything we can to make a field playable, but a lot of long term damage to a field can be done by well-meaning people that were doing what they could to get a game in. Doing the wrong things can compound problems, causing unnecessary cancelations down the line. The DOs and DON'Ts below will help you get a field playable in the right way.

We are all volunteers and getting a wet field into a playable condition can be a lot of work. We're thankful to those willing to do the work, but recognize that not everyone can.

DOs

  • DO pull the tarps early. If it will be dry leading up to your game, it's best to pull the tarps from the field as early as possible to give the plate area in particular time to dry out.
  • DO bale, pump, or vacuum puddles. Some fields have a hand-operated submersible pump and some coaches may bring small buckets. Excavate a small hole in the middle of the puddle and pump or bale the water out to a low point outside the field of play. If you have a wet vac and a means to power it, this can help.
  • DO rake out wet areas. Once puddles are removed, rake out any wet areas, exposing more of the dirt to air and sun.
  • DO use quick dry properly and sparingly. Fields should have a small supply of quick dry which can be helpful in drying out small areas of wet clay. Add only enough quick dry to lightly cover the area and let it soak up the water for a minute or two before raking it in.

DON'Ts

  • DON'T sweep or shovel puddles into the grass: This removes infield material which makes the puddling area worse long term and creates a barrier at the lip that prevents water from shedding off of the dirt and into the grass. 
  • DON'T pour quick dry into a puddle of water: Quick dray is not intended to soak up standing water. Rather, quick dry is meant to be mixed with wet clay after the standing water has been removed.
  • DON'T overuse quick dry: If you're using more than a bag, you should cancel your game. Quick dry works well in the moment but it becomes hard, which then makes the field less likely to dry out in future storms, leading people to use more quick dry‚Ķ
  • DON'T remove wet clay from the field: We don't have material on hand to replace what is removed, which means removing wet clay will create dips that can't easily be graded out.

Contact

Reading Little League
PO Box 614 
Reading, Massachusetts 01867

Email: [email protected]

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