ROUND ROCK, Texas - Round Rock Express Head Groundskeeper Nick Rozdilski has earned a Presidential Commendation from the Pacific Coast League for his excellent service maintaining the playing surface at Dell Diamond in 2018.
Rozdilski's year began with a complete rebuild of the stadium's playing surface following production of AMC's hit television show Fear the Walking Dead in early March. After the Round Rock Express partnered with AMC to bring the program to Central Texas with Dell Diamond serving as a primary set location, the stadium was converted into a post-apocalyptic compound. Part of the conversion included chemically killing the grass both on the playing surface and the outfield berms. Rozdilski and his crew had just 34 days to rebuild the field and berms in time for Express Opening Day on April 5.
"We are incredibly proud of Nick and his crew. Many people don't realize the hundreds of hours of manpower required to rebuild a field in a month," Express General Manager Tim Jackson said. "Nick was presented with a monumental task, but he rose to the occasion and had the field in pristine condition for Opening Day."
In addition to 70 Express home games, Dell Diamond also hosted the 2018 UIL State Baseball Tournament that featured 15 games played in the span of four days. Combined with regularly scheduled Express games, Rozdilski's field hosted 29 games in 21 days without skipping a beat.
Just over two weeks after that gruesome stretch, Rozdilski and his crew spent the Triple-A All-Star break removing the pitcher's mound and installing sod over the infield for international soccer when Dell Diamond hosted a Liga MX friendly on July 8. Rozdilski oversaw the removal of not only the mound, but an inch of infield dirt, before installing and cultivating the sod. After the game on July 8, the field was converted back to baseball in time for the team's return home on July 12. In total, the field was converted from baseball to soccer and back in just seven days.
"One of our goals is to showcase the versatility of Dell Diamond year-round," Jackson said. "This would not be possible without a groundskeeper like Nick and his ability to consistently meet the challenges presented when hosting a variety of events."
Prior to joining the Express, Rozdilski served as the Head Groundskeeper for the Corpus Christi Hooks for two years. During his time with the Hooks, he oversaw multiple renovations to the award-winning Whataburger Field, the largest being the complete replacement of the existing playing field.
Rozdilski was the Assistant Head Groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles for six years and oversaw both the installation and grow-in of a 100 percent sand-based field with four different blends of Kentucky Bluegrass. Additionally, he maintained a pristine playing field during the 2012 ALDS.
Before serving as Assistant Head Groundskeeper for the Orioles, Rozdilski served as the Assistant Head Groundskeeper for the Trenton Thunder. There, he led the constant adjustment and repair of pitcher's mounds and bullpen mounds to league regulations.
Rozdilski graduated from Delaware Valley College with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy.
For more information on the Express, visit RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter!