Sox Groundskeeper Frets About Condition of Field

Play ball?

Opening Day is only a couple of weeks away for Chicago's baseball teams, but step outside and it feels like anything but spring.

Another casualty of one of the coldest and snowiest winters ever, is the field at U.S. Cellular Park, where the White Sox will open the season against the Minnesota Twins on March 31.

Roger Bossard, aka "The Sodfather," is the head groundskeeper for the Sox. He says the snow isn't the problem -- getting it off the surface isn't very difficult -- it's the constant cold.

"My problem is the permafrost," Bossard said. "I've never run into a problem where I have 30 inches of permafrost. It just doesn't come out of the ground by getting 40 degrees temperatures, it needs something in the upper 50s or higher."

So what Mother Nature won't grant, the groundskeepers are creating.

"I'm taking my tarp and putting it over my grass itself, 74-75 degrees underneath the tarp under the grass. I feel it's going to take me three days in each section, and I used that tarp to at least thaw it out 6 to 10 inches," Bossard said.

Your average homeowner would love to have Bossard's knowledge when tackling their own yards this spring. But The Sodfather has some advice.

"Just slightly aerify when it gets a little warmer to warm up that subsoil. That'll help bring the plant out of dormancy, and get that first application of fertilizer down," Bossard said.

But at the end of the day, the same principle applies -- you need warm weather, for the grass to grow. We'll see how that pans out.

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