Be Prepared!

Things are coming down to the wire as Spring approaches. One thing that amazes me every year is how many baseball groundskeepers wait until the last minute to order the supplies and equipment they need to get their fields ready for play. Baseball field preparation requires advanced planning and purchasing to ensure smooth execution when it comes time for game day.

Baseball Field Preparation

Back when I took care of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and even now as I help take care of a 3-field Little League complex, I plan to get everything in my barn way ahead of time so there is little chance of having to make frantic last minute calls for supplies while I’m in the middle of working on the fields. Part of my shut down routine each fall is putting together a list of what I will need to order in the late winter based on my inventory at the end of the season. I’m able to do that because I’ve already gone through the budget process for the coming season to know how much money I have to spend in my various cost centers. Next, I’ll generate a list of other items I need to purchase like tools, irrigation supplies, netting, fencing, backstop padding, windscreen and so on while everything is still fresh on my mind. That way, I can plan out my purchasing timing wisely so I greatly reduce or eliminate any chance of not being prepared.

Procrastination Hurts

Don’t let procrastination get the better of you. Too many wait until the last minute to purchase items they’ve known they need to get their fields ready for the season. That procrastination can result in the need to expedite shipping which is expensive, no matter the size of the package. I’ve also seen customers make simple ordering mistakes because they were in a rush and did not take adequate measurements or double check the item code number of what they were ordering. This leads to the wrong product or size being ordered, increasing costs from returns, and even more time lost while waiting on the right equipment to come in. It’s all avoidable.

If you haven’t ordered custom built items for Opening Day yet — non-standard size windscreen, baseball netting, padding, tarps, etc. — it could be tough to accomplish at this point. Lead times increase as the start of the season approaches due to demand for custom product. Those lead times can grow to anywhere from two to four weeks depending on the item. Make sure you have accurate measurements and design so that you get exactly what you need for your baseball field preparation.

The more organized you are with your purchasing, the more prepared you will be for the upcoming season. Additionally, you protect yourself from unexpected costs or delivery delays when you plan and purchase early. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared!”


Paul Zwaska (contributor)

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been a frequent contributor to Beacon’s Ballfield Blog and other resources and products. Among other contributions to Beacon, he authored Groundskeeper University, the pioneering online ballfield maintenance training venue.