CHICAGO (CBS) — For the first time ever, the home of the Chicago White Sox will host a football game, when the Northern Illinois Huskies face off against Toledo on Wednesday.
WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner was the first to see the field’s new look.
“You have a tough time telling it was ever a baseball field,” said Roger Bossard, the head groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox.
Bossard has been busy transforming the field from a baseball diamond to a football gridiron.
“This certainly is new to me,” he said. “Usually at this time of year, I’m rebuilding my clay, my pitching mounds, my bullpens. I have no pitching mound right now as we look around. So, it is different.”
Bossard is considered the best groundskeeper in baseball and is known as “The Sodfather.”
“I can guarantee you there is no baseball groundskeeper that’s ever going to tell you that I want to see football on my field,” he said. “However, the weather’s been great. That’s what I want to hear. I don’t want to hear heavy storms, and 300 pound guys running on my field, and so obviously it was a lot of work.”
One end zone sits along the third-base line, with the other in right field near the bullpen. The infield dirt has been covered in sod.
The NIU-Toledo game at the White Sox’s ballpark won’t only be the first football game at the stadium, it will be the first game ever played there since the ballpark got its new name, Guaranteed Rate Field.
The game also will be kind of a throwback to the days when the Bears and Cubs shared Wrigley Field and the White Sox and Cardinals (who have since moved to Arizona) shared the original Comiskey Park.
“You know what, we do a little bit of everything here in Chicago,” Bossard said.