We Watched The Paint Dry At Dodger Stadium As The Grounds Crew Prepared For World Series Game 3
By Susanne Whatley and Pablo Cabrera
For someone who has their daily work admired by hundreds of thousands of people one minute then trampled by a few dozen the next, Jordan Lorenz seems to take it all in stride.
As the head groundskeeper at Dodger Stadium, Lorenz is overseeing grass painting ahead of the Dodgers' three-game homestand against the Boston Red Sox as L.A. makes its second consecutive appearance in the World Series.
He's done field care since high school and has worked at Dodger Stadium for 14 years. In his second year as crew chief, Lorenz finds himself once again prepping Major League Baseball's third-oldest field for the Fall Classic.
"We know every play is that much more important, so we're extra-precise about everything so there's not a bad hop or something like that, that affects the game one way or another," Lorenz said. "We want the field to just play perfectly so the players don't have to even think about it."
On Wednesday morning, a small crew of suntanned men in shorts patiently follow an MLB-provided stencil as they spray and roll paint on the field. It's red, white and two shades of blue. They lay long white rulers along the perfect grass, embellishing nature with "WORLD SERIES" on either side of home plate and a big Dodgers' "LA" logo on the outfield grass where it last appeared on opening day.
Other than the new ink, there'll be little obvious signs of the meticulous care that Lorenz and his groundskeepers are showing for this field at this time. Fans at the ballpark are likely to admire the lawnmower pattern in a burst of rays and take selfies with the newly-festooned home field behind them.
They likely won't know that each embedded sprinkler head in that perfect grass is carefully placed flush to the earth and bears a rubber cap to keep cleats, knees and other player parts free from mishap.
And about those cleats, isn't it a little deflating to know that his carefully coiffed turf will soon get torn up? Lorenz credits the sporadic home schedule of games for the fact the field isn't scarred, plus his experienced crew's diligence.
"We've got some guys who've been here up to 20 years," he said. "We know the ins and outs of the field and how it's going to play. It's 75 and sunny every day - that helps."
Lorenz said his team used to practice rolling a tarp across the field but it's used so rarely that when rain is forecast he has to call in reinforcements. His East Coast counterparts "always let us know [about that] when we see each other."
So, as the expert on Dodger Stadium, where would the groundskeeper-in-chief sit to take in a game?
"Some of the best seats... are behind the dugouts on the lower parts of the Loge level," he said. "You're up just enough so you can see everything but you're still close to home plate and the pitcher's mound. You get a good perspective just being up a little bit."
Game 3 of the World Series starts Friday just after 5 p.m., followed by games 4 and 5 Saturday and Sunday.
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