Opening day nears for snow-covered Camden Yards
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The last thing Nicole McFadyen needs is for another snowstorm to hit Baltimore.
Unfortunately, there’s white stuff in the forecast for Tuesday.
While the Baltimore Orioles are soaking up the sun in Florida, McFadyen, the head groundskeeper at Camden Yards, is waiting for yet another layer of snow to melt so she can resume preparations for opening day.
“If we get any more crazy weather like we’ve had this winter, I think I’m going to stress out even more than I’m doing now,” McFadyen said from Baltimore in a phone interview.
About a half-foot of snow hit Baltimore over the weekend, the latest in a series of snowstorms that has buried the city this winter. While virtually everyone else around town has plenty of time to get their lawn in shape for the summer, McFadyen is dealing with a strict deadline: March 31, when the Orioles open the season at home against the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
“The grass has a good green color right now,” McFadyen said. “It’s not ideally green, like what we would love to see for opening day, but that’s just going to take a little bit of fertilizer and a little bit of sunshine.”
McFadyen got lucky last week, getting two projects completed before the snow came. She poked holes in the soil to get oxygen exchange and graded the infield.
“The next step is to just dry everything out as best as possible. I have to leave that up to Mother Nature,” McFadyen said. “Once it dries, we’re able to dress the field appropriately for opening day and get ready to go.”
Unless it snows again.
“It’s rare that we get snow as bad as we’ve had this winter,” said McFayden, one of only two female head groundskeepers in the majors. “Although there have been times when I’ve been stressed out, all in all it’s always worked out pretty well. The snow melts pretty quickly this time of year because the sun is so high in the sky.”
If it snows again, McFadyen may depend on more than just the sun to clear the field.
“There are plows available for grass areas, although it can only get you down so far without causing any damage to the field,” McFadyen said.