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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

GM's injury proves that I'm glad it didn't rain during grounds crew stint

When I first decided I wanted to join the Lake County Captains grounds crew for a day, I had the team's general manager, Brad Seymour, in mind.

During an early April gathering at Classic Park, I discovered what to me is a fascinating fact: Captains front office personnel take part in a multitude of tasks on any given day.

One of the most interesting to me is that quite often, they are among those who run on the field when it starts to rain and help cover the infield with the tarp.

Craig Deas, senior director of media relations and community relations and play-by-play announcer, told me that he and General Manager Brad Seymour both have tackled the project over time.

Of course, I got competitive: “If they can do it, so can I!”

So, after I finished working on the five-day Classic Park package that rain in mid-June, I asked Captains beat writer David S. Glasier to hook me up with Dan Stricko, the team's director of turf management and stadium operations.

We decided on a day game, July 12. It was an 11 a.m. start, so I could work my normal shift.

I told Glasier that I was hoping that it would rain the day I worked on the grounds crew, so I could get my shot at the tarp. No such luck, though. The weather was perfect, with sun and high temperatures.

A few weeks beforehand, though, I got a glimpse of just why I probably should be thrilled that it didn't rain on July 12.

A bad thunderstorm rolled in on Sunday, July 1, with high winds that seemingly tossed the tarp around the field like it was a piece of tissue paper. In a video shot during the storm by Glasier, you can see how the grounds crew and other staffers -- including the team's mascot, Skipper -- struggled to get control of the tarp.

During the storm and ensuing struggle, Seymour tripped along the third-base line and fell. He couldn't stand up, because he injured his foot. He is now sporting a walking boot on his broken foot. He'll be wearing it for six weeks.

I feel badly that he was injured during that freak storm. Stricko said that the storm that day was among the worst he's seen in his 10 years working on grounds crews at stadiums.

So, in light of that incident, I guess I'm glad that I didn't have to battle wind and rain in an attempt to say I could do what they can do.

I'll accept the fact that they can do it and just move on.

Laura Kessel, managing editor
Twitter: @Lauranh


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