Royals grounds crews plan to finish massive field renovation this week

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals grounds crew expects to finish a massive field project on Wednesday after weeks of hard work and renovating.

Starting in mid-October, the grounds crew worked to replace the dirt and sod on the field as well as the materials underneath.

Trevor Vance, the head groundskeeper who has been with the Royals for 33 years, helped oversee the project.

“Everything is brand new, even the tarps,” he explained. “We took the work all the way down to the sub-base. We took out 20 inches of sod, sand, and gravel. We even checked the irrigation system.”

Crews were hard at work on Tuesday morning laying down some of the sod, which was flown in hundreds of miles from Littleton, Colorado.

The dirt that will now make up the infield was transported from Pennsylvania.

The fieldwork represents one of the biggest projects in the stadium since the field last saw renovations, which are now showing their age, back in 1994.

“When this field was built in 1994, it could drain up to 20 inches of rain an hour,” Vance explained. “We were down to less than five inches of rain last season.“

In total, the project cost around $1 million.

Staying true to his baseball role, Vance said he believed the project came at a good price.

“We couldn't get two league-minimum ball players for what we paid to renovate this field entirely,” he said.

While Vance said fans likely won’t be able to recognize the differences, he expected players to appreciate the changes to the field and the consistency of the new playing surface.

“Maybe the people in the Crown seats will notice and say, ‘That field looks flatter,’” he explained. “(The players) want to come out here Opening Day, play on this field, get a feel for it. Then they want it to be the same way May 1st, June 1st, July 1st, August 1st, and Sept.1st."

At a charity event on Tuesday, Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy said he looked forward to seeing the new field.

“I imagine it's going to be pristine,” he explained. “I loved our playing surfaces. Our grounds crew does a great job."

With the project expected to be completed this week, Vance said he appreciated the team effort from the grounds crew.

“I have two great assistants and I have a crew that I'd put up against any in baseball,” he explained. “When we're on the news or we're on national TV, we want Kansas City to be proud of it and that's what we try to do every day."

After helping oversee the Royals field for over 30 years, Vance said the recent field project represented another reason why he was grateful for his job.

“Long hours, sure, but you're getting to put your fingerprint on Major League Baseball every time you come to ‘The K’,” he explained. “I couldn't think of a better job or another job that I'd rather have." 

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