Athletic Fields Affected by Harsh Winter [AUDIO]
The recent snow and colder temperatures make it hard to believe this is the season for baseball gloves and soccer cleats, but the calendar claims spring is here. Athletic fields across the state, though, have been struggling to recover in time.
In Marlboro Township, there has already been a change of plans. The town's soccer program, originally scheduled to start this weekend, won't launch until April 5.
"The ground's frozen," said Ted Ernst, director of recreation for Marlboro. "We try to keep people off the fields until they start greening up and start firming with a little warmer weather."
Ernst noted his grounds crew will decide when the fields are "healthy enough to withstand use." Using the fields in this condition could result in more damage and injuries.
Last year, soccer and softball players were allowed on Marlboro's fields by mid-March.
Mike Kerns, head groundskeeper for the Trenton Thunder minor league baseball team, explained the constant snow hasn't been an issue for their field. The unseasonably low temperatures have been the bigger problem, not allowing the soil temperatures to rise for the grass to grow.
"We need to be somewhere in the ballpark of between 45 and 50 degrees," Kerns said. "This time last year, we were pushing 60."
In Lakewood, the head groundskeeper for the Blueclaws is thankful the team's regular season opener won't be at home.
"Coming out of this winter, it's a slow, slow process just because of the fact that it's been so cold here," said Mike Morvay. "We're not warming up to where we should be."
He noted the field will definitely be ready for the April 10 home opener.