SALEM, Va. – April 9th was the day every staff member at the Salem Red Sox was looking forward to this year, especially Head Groundskeeper Joey Elmore.
“If we were starting opening day, we would have been out mowing every day,” he said. “We would have had the infield top dressed, we’re just trying right now to keep it business as usual.”
Business as usual, but under different circumstances. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, minor league baseball has been postponed indefinitely. But that doesn’t mean the Sox have let their field go to waste.
“For me, at the drop of a hat, we could be going. Instead of raising our mowing height, I’ve been trying to make everything game ready.”
Right now, the field crew is only working a few days a week. But if baseball were to return at the drop of a hat, they’re prepared.
“If that were to happen, we’d go back to 6-7 days a week, 10 plus hours a day. Mowing every single day, edging once a week,” he said. “Making sure the infield watered properly, making sure that home plate and the mound are prepared and packed.”
While there’s no timetable quite yet on the return of baseball to Salem, the continued maintenance of the field brings a little bit of day-to-day optimism.
“We’re just praying baseball is going to be back soon. We’re trying to keep things as ready as possible,” he said. “I know we’re going to start doing more stuff at the stadium here, soon, I don’t know when that will be, but I’m looking forward to having people back out here even if it’s just to watch a movie. Eat some food in the stands and get that feeling back of hey, it’s summertime.”