CHICAGO -- Nobody prepares a Major League baseball field like White Sox groundskeeper Roger Bossard. The absolute best in the business has designed and built 12 other Major League fields aside from U. Yet, getting the White Sox field ready for the home opener always holds a special challenge and feeling for the man in charge of everything from the infield grass to the warning track. You get that over with, and everything falls into place." In the highly skilled and technical groundskeeping world of Bossard, preparation begins long before the week of the game, let alone game day.
The 2011 campaign marks his 45th season on the job for the White Sox, starting back in 1967 when he was 17, so he has obviously gained a few inside nuances of the profession over the past four-plus decades. This is my 45th Opening Day, and I have to tell you for everybody, and not just myself, when Opening Day is over with, there's a huge sigh because it's the first day and the biggest day of the year.
"Opening Day to me, and to a lot of people, barring the playoffs, it is the most important day of the season," said Bossard, sitting in his office at U. In 2011, it's the White Sox with the second Major League Baseball home opener in Chicago, playing host to Tampa Bay at p.m. Bossard certainly wasn't disappointed in the Cubs going first during a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh on April 1, allowing him more time to deal with the aftereffects of a rather harsh Chicago winter.
But Bossard has raised his job to a science, meaning he's ready to handle everything from sleet to snow to driving rain to get this field in pristine condition.
So Bossard has been adding soil conditioner, getting that area compacted. In spring, it's a lot more difficult than it is in the summer." "I've been through it all.
More than 40 tons of warning-track material has been put down in that area with the help of Bossard's crew, who swing into action two weeks before Opening Day. The worst one I've ever saw -- and I've seen snow on Opening Day many times -- in the early '70s, John Allyn owned the team.
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