Friday night at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championships, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State dealt with a two-hour rain delay. With more rain likely this weekend, it can make for stressful week for the grounds crew. Monte McCoy is the head groundskeeper for the Oklahoma City RedHawks and works every game played at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. He talked with The Oklahoman about his job and the work it entails:
Q: So how hectic is it for a grounds crew when you’re dealing with rain delays?
“Anytime you have rain, that’s the groundskeeper’s worst nightmare, having to deal with all that —when to put the tarp on, when to let them play. It’s always stressful when that comes into play.”
What is the protocol when you know you’re dealing with bad weather during a game?
“The biggest issue is always once it starts winding down, we’ll get the crew together and go over a specific job task that we’ve got to get done obviously in a short amount of time.”
You guys seem very organized, but does it ever get tricky depending on the conditions?
“Oh yeah. Anytime you’re dealing with a live product it can get tricky. But for rain delays and stuff like that, the biggest issue is just getting it through and out, and then you can deal with what’s left.”
What is the worst weather you’ve ever been in as a grounds crew member?
“Obviously last year the tornado that came through El Reno — that was a time our outfield was underwater, our bullpen was underwater the dugouts were flooded. That’s the only time that ever happened. It was just so much hard rain at one time that our drainage system just couldn’t hold it, but 30 minutes later it was all gone.”
What’s an aspect of your job most people don’t realize?
“Probably the biggest thing is a lot of people don’t understand how many hours go into a job. This tournament right here, we’re up 7 a.m till 1 or 2 at night. We’re staying at the Hampton Hotel up here just for the fact we have to be here to get the tarp on. When you have so many games going in a short amount of time, you have to be close and you can’t kill your grounds crew.”