KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The grass looks green and lush at Kauffman Stadium in time for the Royals home opener, but it took a lot of work after this brutal winter. The 13 workers on the Royals grounds crew spend each off-season preparing the field, but this year they asked the Chiefs for help.
The Chiefs gave the Royals some tarps from neighboring Arrowhead Stadium this spring to cover extra parts of the grass at Kauffman Stadium.
“We actually had to borrow some of the Chiefs tarps that they use over there on some of their facilities. We have one for our infield, however, we don't have anything for our sidelines,” said Trevor Vance, Royals Director of Groundskeeping.
The Royals needed the extra tarps to use like blankets to warm up the field after it went dormant from this winter’s extreme cold.
"This is probably the most challenging spring we've had in the 20 years of natural grass. Mother nature just provided us with a really harsh cold winter starting with ice in December, and the snows, and the polar vortex,” Vance said.
The winter weather put the Royals grounds crew 10 days behind schedule. It’s even worse at other ballparks. The Chicago White Sox have 30 inches of permafrost under their field.
The Royals grounds crew begins preparing and treating the field in the fall after the previous season ends.
Then in March, they start mowing the grass to help it grow.
"We cut our grass down really short which allows the sun to get into the crown of the plants and heat it up and help start to wake it up and start allowing it to grow,” Vance said.
Now the challenge is to keep the field looking green and lush all season long.