Snow. Lots of snow. Lots and lots of snow.
That is the state of the playing surface at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium with 24 days remaining in the offseason.
It's been worse closer to Opening Day…but not by much.
Just keep one thing in mind when it comes to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers front office: They will do just about anything to get the field ready to play.
I believe that I have written about this topic before, but back in 2003 it was 65-70 degrees for Fan Fest on the two days before the season's first regular season game. The weather turned after the banquet on the night before the start of the season. Snow and ice caused a postponement of a four-game series with Beloit to open the season.
The team talked to the Clinton LumberKings and the Midwest League front office to switch a scheduled off day back with a game day because it was more likely to get games in on what would have been that day.
The doubleheader was supposed to start at noon, but had to be pushed back. Even though the sun was shining and the temperatures were warm - for April in Wisconsin - because there was still snow on the field.
But, everyone in the front office was helping the grounds crew by either shoveling the snow onto carts to get it off the field or by driving equipment to groom the infield. Those games got in on that day.
A few years later, the team actually brought in a helicopter to dry out the field. The Dayton Dragons were in town and they thought there was no way that games would be played. Boy, were they shocked when the gates opened and the games were started.
Let's not forget 2007's Opening Night. Ryne Sandberg was going to manage a minor league game for the first time. The Rattlers and Chiefs turned up for a bitterly cold Thursday night. It was 31 degrees (with a wind chill of 19) at first pitch and just got colder as the game continued on into the evening.
It wasn't the best game ever, but the teams got the game played.
Preparations for the 2010 season were moving along fine, until it snowed on the morning of Opening Day. So much snow fell that the team built a snowman in the outfield. Then, Scooter Gennett destroyed it and gave us the bobblehead for the 2011 season.
Even with the snow from the day before, the Rattlers and the Kane County Cougars played a doubleheader the very next day. The front office and the grounds crew worked pretty much from the time the snow stopped falling until the teams took the field to get the field ready.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm trying to say that the front office and grounds crew of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will do just about anything to get the field ready for play. Shovels, helicopters, tarps, Bobcats, and snow-blowers have been used in the past. They will use what they can this year to get the field ready for April 3.
Me? What have I done this year? Oh, I shaved my mustache off as a sacrifice for warmer weather. It appears to have worked. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 40s….THE 40s!!!...this week!!!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.