Gould helping Jays, Jimmies deal with weather at local ballparks
If the Jimmies baseball team open their home season as scheduled on Friday, April 14 against Dordt, it will be their latest spring home opener since they played Morningside on April 19, 2019.
JAMESTOWN — While the snow is piled high at Jack Brown Stadium and Lyle “Trapper” Softball Field, Tom Gould and his team are responsible for trying to get the University of Jamestown and Jamestown High School teams to play home games.
“All I can tell you is one year the earliest game we had was the NDAC (North Dakota Athletic Conference) conference tournament which was played the first weekend in May and this one looks to be at least that or more,” Gould said. “It’s a matter of pushing snow off the field, getting off the warning track. The warning track will of course be mudded up, it’s just about getting some heat, get things dried out.”
Gould said the two fields have several feet of snow on them. All four of the local teams have had multiple games postponed or moved to different locations because of the snow.
Gould said he and his crew have already started to clean off the snow on the field. Gould is being helped by five others as well as the Blue Jays and Jimmies teams.
Gould said one of the challenges of clearing the snow off is that the fields are grass.
“It’s not like a turf field where you can go right down to the turf,” Gould said. “You’ve got grass and you’ve gotta keep the blades above the grass, it compounds the issue.”
The Jimmies have already had to move their first two home games of the spring season on April 2, to being at Briar Cliff.
Gould said he and his team are starting with the areas around the locker rooms. Despite working for the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department for 45 years, Gould said this winter is unprecedented.
“Never seen anything like it, as far as all the years I’ve been down there,” Gould said. “Normally we have some warming periods but Paul Hansen told me it was 126 days that we had nothing above 40 (degrees). Normally we have some thawing and stuff like that which helps us out. It’s been so cold, too, so that’s even compounded things.”
Gould said the order of snow removal is that they start at Jack Brown Stadium, then go to Trapper Field and finishing with the rest of the fields in the Stefonek Softball Complex and Al Boelke Little League Fields. Gould said one of the hardest parts is waiting for the frost in the ground to get out.
“Getting stuff off the field is one thing but then you have ag alignment and then the frost has to come out of the ground and of course, the ag alignment is really mucked up,” Gould said. “So, that’s a problem, you just need that drying, the drying temperature of the sun to try that stuff out. So, that’s an issue. It’s not easy.”
Gould very succinctly summarized the struggle of getting the fields ready.
“Baseball in North Dakota is not an easy thing,” Gould said. “So, we just gotta deal with it I guess.”
Gould said he hopes to have the fields playable during the first weekend in May, which would mean Jack Brown Stadium would be able to host the Blue Jays' games against Bismarck Legacy on Tuesday, May 2.
“Perfect field, hopefully, the first weekend in May,” Gould said. “So, gotta hope for that.”