CHICAGO (CBS) — Opening Day for the White Sox is two weeks away. So, will U.S. Cellular Field’s playing surface be ready after this harsh winter?
“This has actually been a perfect storm,” says White Sox Head Groundskeeper Roger Bossard.
Bossard says this winter has punished U.S. Cellular Field where they have removed 400 tons of snow. But the snow is not the real problem, it is the cold.
“My problem is a permafrost I’ve actually never run into where I’ve got 30 inches of permafrost,” said Bossard.
To deal with the permafrost, they have huge tarps and blowers to heat the field and try and warm the grass to temperatures in the 70s. With just two weeks until opening day, the clock is ticking.
“Backs against the wall a little bit but I got a good crew and I am doing everything I can here and I am really comfortable that we are not only going to open on opening day but have the workout the day before,” said Bossard.
Bossard has also been in contact with several fellow groundskeepers from around the major leagues saying they are also experiencing the same problems from this brutal winter.
In addition to working for the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Bossard designed and built a new playing field at Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, after performing the same task at the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 2005 and at Boston’s Fenway Park and Washington’s RF K Stadium in 2004. Among the highlights of Bossard’s resume, he is a consultant for 14 Major League Baseball teams and four NFL teams.
Crews have also been very busy digging out Wrigley Field, the home of the Cubs, but the Cubs have a few extra days, not playing their first home game until Friday, April 4.