The sandman visits Fenway Park


Boston has been inundated with snow. A record snow fall is just a few inches away and those in our section of the country know that March, April and even May can bring a snow surprise.

The city has rented snow melters, created snow farms and has even considered tossing it in the harbor – an EPA nightmare. The streets are down to one lane in some areas and, thankfully, a melt has taken place and rain is on the way to diminish the piles. But what about Fenway Park?

The venerable old ballpark is buried. Pictures have shown snow as high as the left field scoreboard. The stands and loaded up, but the big concern is the field. How to get rid of it?

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Bringing in trucks and front-end loaders is out of the question or having shovel crews will not be an option. The potential damage is just too great a risk so that comes a time to be inventive as reported in this article. The secret is “dark sand” which, to groundskeepers is what “dark energy” is to physicist.

The science is quite simple: The dark sand absorbs solar radiation and heats things up. Similar to what you see on an asphalt roadway. This induces melting and once the Sid the Science Kid method is done you have a playing surface – but one with a few tons of sand to remove.

That is where the grounds crew gets to work and work it is to prepare Fenway Park’s playing surface. This will mean turf replacement and repair and the source for Fenway turf is, from what I can recollect, a turf/sod farm in Tiverton, Rhode Island.

The other issue is always the continued park maintenance. This harsh winter has undoubtedly caused more than the routine damage the team would expect. What is certain is that the field and the stands will be ready for opening day – unless, of course, it snows.