PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Before the Sea Dogs can play the home opener of the baseball season on Thursday, they first need to get rid of all the snow on their field.
Like everywhere else in Portland, Hadlock Field was covered with several inches of snow on Saturday. But the delicate turf can't be plowed. So instead, the Sea Dogs hired a crew from Wrentham, Mass. that specializes in snow removal on athletic fields.
Sports Turf Specialties, Inc. uses a converted trail groomer to spread sand over the field's snow-covered surface. The already dark grains are dyed green to further absorb the sunlight and accelerate the melting process.
The groomer circled the field for about three hours on Sunday morning until all four tons of the treatment was evenly applied. A single load lasted for only a few passes, requiring the groomer to pause 12 or more times to restock.
Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium are among Sports Turf Specialties, Inc.'s other clients. This is the first year the Sea Dogs have hired them.
Before treating the field with sand, the Sea Dogs shoveled out all the snow by hand. And that technique is still used for the stands.
About 20 volunteers from the Sea Dogs staff shoveled row after row of seats. To make the hard work more pleasant, music was pumped over the stadium speaker system. The job was expected to take five hours, but the team of shovelers got it done in just a little over one hour.