As most people know, baseball diamonds form naturally in the wild; base paths and pitchers mounds are the results of hundreds of years of evolution and erosion in just the right places. At a certain point, the fields reach maturity, and are ready to be played on.
From there, we build stadiums around them, keeping them safe from nature’s less helpful aspects, such as high winds or roving packs of wild dogs that want to poop on everything. These monuments to environmental transcendence have spawned some of our country’s most thriving metropolitan areas. Did you know that New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston only exist because of the natural formation of baseball diamonds? L.A.’s is, of course, completely artificial, built by mobsters in the ’20s who needed a “murder-hole” but for some reason started playing baseball on it.
Today, the sanctity of our precious diamonds are maintained by noble figures, chosen by Baseba’al via a specific birthmark. Pinpointed in the maternity ward, these heroes are spotted early, and trained from babyhood to embrace the raw talent that exists within them. These are the Groundskeepers. They are here to protect the best parts of our world.
Here in Philadelphia, The Chosen One is Mike Boekholder, and he recently evoked his power to make a startling decision: Shift Citizens Bank Park’s completely natural 100% Kentucky Blue Grass to a more baseball-friendly Bermuda Grass (or “Cynodon dactylon” as it is labeled on the ancient scrolls). Not only is it a far more playable surface, but the material has actually been used to treat diabetes, syphilis, and dysentery.
It is a serious transplant and a delicate process, one that would not and could not be dared by a Groundskeeper without the knowledge and skill of the gods. Boekholder was forced to watch the Winter Classic tear up his life’s focal point, fists clenched, stifling generations of frustration at the sight. Hockey on a baseball field? Extensive damage to one of nature’s greatest accomplishments? It was enough to make him vomit with rage between each period. Which he did.
In an almost entirely wordless conference with Ruben Amaro, the decision was green lit–the Phillies would play 2012 on Bermuda Grass. Recently, Boekholder began the process and, using immense concentration and a relic known as “The Greenmaker,” which sort of looks exactly like a sorcerer’s staff only hideously green, he has been hard at work, cultivating the CBP grass into a softer, more genuine surface.
“I’m quite confident with a little fear.”
Even our own private wizard was unable to smother apprehension, but now, with the task complete, he can return to his everyday duties of perching on the roof of the stadium clutching The Greenmaker and muttering archaic spells that maintain plant life.