It’s not easy being green for the grass at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.
With the big leaguers of the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers slated to play preseason games at Cashman Field today and Sunday, the ball yard’s grounds crew toiled at transforming the dormant yellow winter grass into that emerald-green surface that is synonymous with baseball.
Let’s just say the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has The Greening of the Bermuda Grass down to a science.
Workers start applying a fertilizer cocktail through the field’s irrigation system in mid-February.
The fertilizer is a blend of two: Formula #1 Ball field Chelate and Formula #14 Ball field Acid Nfuric, for you chemical fans.
The fertilizer mix has been applied regularly during the past month, as 400 gallons of the brew have been added to the irrigation tank. It’s diluted into the water over time, so the public convention agency estimates that about 80 gallons have been used.
The price tag for 400 gallons of transformative fertilizer: $1,972.
Fertilizer chemistry might be a science, but the grass care is an art when it comes to getting the turf green for this St. Patrick’s Day weekend of big-league baseball.
“Every year is a very little different. It depends on the weather,” said Terry Jicinsky, LVCVA senior vice president of operations.
“The colder it stays, the later it stays dormant. ... The secret of the fertilizer is using it at the right time,” he said. “You don’t want to apply it when it’s too cold and the grass is not absorbing the fertilizer.”
It has been colder longer this year, so the greenness will take longer to snap back, he said. He noted the warmer 60 to 70 degree temperatures have been about a month late.
“There are differences every season. This weather has been less friendly,” Jicinsky said. “Every year is unpredictable. That’s the beauty of the high desert or the pain of the high desert.”
When the first pitch is thrown today and the TV images of Cashman Field are broadcast around the country, the playing field will be all green, said Jim Gemma, a spokesman for the Las Vegas 51s, the Triple A affiliate of the New York Mets and the team that plays at Cashman.
“The grass is green, and the field looks great for March 15,” Gemma said Friday. “It’s in good shape, and it’ll look great on TV tomorrow.”
Contact reporter Alan Snel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273.