All Our Yesterdays (August 2, 2015)
This week’s episode is all about sports turf history. In our first segment we compare Old vs. New techniques, practices and technologies and “fight” about which we think is better. Then we move to a truly Outta The Park interview with the man, the legend, the Sodfather, George Toma (former head groundskeeper with Kansas City Royals, and so much more). He has his own Wikipedia page, how many of us can say that? He also has a ton of stories to tell, as you can see, this is a long episode — but we just couldn’t contain the fun. After all that we try to keep the fun going with a Turf Science segment focused on what turn out to be a not-so-tall-tales like using using a helicopter or other (now illegal, and for good reason) methods for drying flooded fields.
Segments: Old vs. New, Outta the Park, Turf Science
Guests: George Toma, Former Head Groundskeeper for the Kansas City Royals
▶ Old vs. New: Laser Grading vs. Stringline Grading, Big Roll Sod vs. Smaller Piece, Canvas and Heavy Tarps vs. new Lightweight Tarps, Mechanized Tarp Deployment vs. Tarp Crew (which is old and which is new?), Ag Grade Fertilizer vs. Turf Specific Fertilizer, Manual vs. Automatic Irrigation, Engineered Infield Soils vs. Harvested Infield Soil, Drying agents
▶ Outta the Park We discussed George’s own history in the game as well as some stories he had about the following folks: Emil Bossard, Joe Mooney, Goats, Pat Santarone, Harry Gill, Dick Ericson, Steve Wightman, Dr. Bill Daniels, Dr. James Watson, Brian Bossard, and the Super Bowl. Here are some links about George including his hilarious “SportsCenter” commercial from back in the day:
– All of George’s articles for Sports Field Management
– 2014, Washington Post article on George’s Super Bowl history
– 2012, MLB article and video on George’s induction to the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame
– 2014, Italian Tribune article on George’s Super Bowl history, and a smashing great picture of Mr. Toma
– A link to George’s book George Toma: Nitty Gritty Dirt Man
– George’s Sports Center Commercial
▶ Turf Science: It turns out that the use of helicopters to dry flooded fields is not nearly as a Tall a Tale as it may seem:
– Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim use Helicopter to dry field Here’s the news story with Mike Scoscia’s recollections of using gasoline to dry a field in his youth
– First reported use of a helicopter for field drying At Tacoma’s Cheney Field
– Good video showing how just how close that helicopter needs to hover to do the job
– 2007, helicopter fails to dry the field for Kansas University
– 2013, Wilmar MN Only reported price breakdown we could find.
– 1996, Helicopter used to dry World Series field in NY Titled: “Whoever fixed the field is fired.” Yankees lost even with their delightfully dry field.
– Report of helicopter use in 1962 and 1975 World Series games We tried but could find more information than this one article in the Baltimore Sun.