MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- With one week left to go before Brewers Opening Day -- we saw snow fall on Monday night, March 24th -- and on Tuesday, cold temperatures. At Miller Park though, they're thinking spring -- working to get the turf ready for the players to take the field, and they've got a unique tool that's helping them.
There is something about the lush, green grass of a ball field after a particularly harsh winter. It restores our hope that warmer weather is on its way -- and nothing says spring is here like Opening Day.
"I mean, we could play today. We are ready. We are definitely ready for this," Miller Park's Director of Grounds Michael Boettcher said.
Boettcher says the field will be ready for the first pitch on March 31st, but that's in spite of the winter Mother Nature has thrown at us this year.
"In here, we were probably in the teens. We can definitely keep the temperature up a little bit just from keeping everything closed. The frost did go into the grass, so we were taking soil temperature readings. We were right around thirty degrees a lot of days on those cold snaps we had," Boettcher said.
Boettcher says despite the bitter cold, the grass will be ready to go on Opening Day -- thanks in part to "grow lights" being used to help the turf grow.
"We use them as supplemental lighting to the field. It's been a little difficult with the roof here as you guys can all imagine. This spring -- getting some sunlight on the field -- these (grow lights) have been helping us pretty good to start off things on the infield and sidelines," Boettcher said.
Boettcher says they rotate the lights about every 24 hours. He says even once it warms up, they plan to continue using them on the patches of grass that catch shade from the roof. He says the organization views the lights as a worthwhile investment, and expects more ball clubs may be trying to add them in the future.
"As the stadiums get bigger they definitely, you know, have to build them in a way to be appeasing to fans and create good viewing angles and with that, you know, it seems that they want to go up more so the more you go up and close it in, the more sun you block out. Definitely, I think there's a lot more organizations out there analyzing and seeing what kind of investment they can make in these," Boettcher said.
Miller Park got its set of grow lights from Europe. They first fired them up on March 10th, 2014.
The Milwaukee Brewers take on the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day 2014.