Rain stops the Redbirds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rain stops the Redbirds

Baseball fans were hoping for a break in the weather Monday. The Redbirds were scheduled to play New Orleans. In fact, crews were busy all day trying to keep the field ready for the first pitch. The grounds crew at Autozone tried everything in their power to keep the field ready for play, but the Redbirds game has been called for rain. And it's a rare occasion when Mother Nature beats the groundkeeper at Autozone. Stephen Horne is not a meteorologist, but he's keeping a close eye on the rain. "I have my own dedicated satellite, which picks this information up." As the Redbirds groundkeeper, it's Horne's job to make sure the field is ready for play, even when it rains. Horne said, "We've had almost an inch of rain today but as you see the field there's no water here, no standing water. It's not splashing up on our feet." The field has an elaborate drainage system to keep water from building up on the outfield. Underneath the perfectly groomed grass is about a foot of sand "Just like you would find on a beach. The water goes through this, through the sand into my drainage system and out into the pit." Once the pit gets half full the pumping system dumps the water into the city sewer system. But Horne says it's critical to keep the infield dry. "All we have to do is keep the dirt dry, we peel this off and we play." To cover the infield with the tarp, it take 20 people about 48 seconds. And there's a system to help get rid of the water that collects on top of the tarp by using quick caps. "If I pull one of these off here it goes down to my drainage system." All this to make sure the Redbirds play ball. Before last season, the Redbirds had an impressive 325 games straight at home without being called for rain. That's three season.
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