Field Setup - Practice
To ensure the fields are kept in best condition and to reduce the effort for setting up the field for the next team, it is important that the field be treated the same for practice as for any game day, except for chalking. Follow the Field Setup for Games for wetting leveling, and dragging the field before and after practice to ensure a consistent and safe playing surface.
Field Setup - Games
Cliff Note version
All fields have an equipment shed and share the same lock combination across all sheds.
Per the ULL Ground Rules, the "Home" team is responsible for field setup for all league and interlock home games. They are also responsible for opening the restrooms for the day.
- The pitcher's mound tarp should be folded like a burrito and removed from the field to ensure water does not get dumped onto the mound. Further details can be found in this document.
- The home plate tarp should have its ends folded in and then rolled up using the PVC pipe. The document shows this procedure.
- Field should be wetted using optional built in dirt sprinklers on Majors or hose set to the “jet” setting. The “jet” setting using a waving motion will dispense the right amount of water. Ideally the surface should be glossy and almost ready to puddle. Depending on recent weather and if the area was tarped, the water amount may vary. Watch for the correct amount of sitting water to determine the correct amount.
- The field rake should be used to level out any low areas in the field and to scratch up the compacted clay dirt. This will provide a thin layer of loose clay on top of the compacted clay. This is the best tool for the running lanes.
- The field drag can then be used to drag the field and loosen up all the field material. A smaller broom handle drag is used on the running lanes on the Majors field.
- The batter's box and foul lines can be chalked. There is a reel of string and an eye hook in the backstop of each field. The carabiner clip on the string can be clipped onto the eye hook and stretched down the first base line. The string should be placed 7.5" away from the center of the first base post in the ground. When pulled tight, it should pass along the edge of home plate to the grass 7.5" from the base post center.
- The chalk line should be a 2.5" wide chalk line placed to the infield side of the string. The outside of the string is foul territory and the entire chalked line is fair territory. The line will start discontinuously from the batter's box area and go to the grass. When the base is placed on the field, the outside top edge of the base will line up with the outside of the foul line.
- The same procedure is repeated for the third base foul line.
- A batter's box aluminum framed template is located in each shed. This template is unfolded and placed on the ground. There is a "T" sticking out from the frame which lines up with the short section of home plate. An arrow on the from points towards the pitcher's mound. The frame should be placed on the ground with the "T" next to the plate and frame aligned to the field. Pressing down on the frame or walking along the top of it will leave an imprint in the dirt. Pick the frame up and repeat on the other side of the plate. The chalking machine then chalks the line to the inside of the rectangle pattern imprints the outermost mark. The entire interior of the imprint is the batter’s box.. The outside of the chalk should line up to the outermost imprint in the dirt.
For ULL league games, the "Away" team is responsible for the tear down and clean up of the field. If the game is interlock, the ULL “Home” team is responsible for both set up and tear down. The closing of the restroom and locking of the shed and ULL facility is the responsibility of the "Away" Majors Manager or "Home" ULL Majors team if an interlock game. They must also ensure the snack shack is locked and all volunteers and helpers in the snack shack have safely exited the facility. They can then lock the facility and ensure no one is left behind in or outside the facility.
- The bases should be removed and placed back into the shed on the corresponding field using the base cart
- The hose should be used to wet down the entire field, especially the mound and home plate area.
- The field rake should be used to level the field, fill in low area, and rake the dirt evenly
- The field drag should be used in circular patterns to even out the field material. Care should be taken to not drag dirt into the grass or always to one base or grass area. Pick the drag up in the dirt area away from the grass areas.
- The hose should be used to squirt the dirt out of the grass and back into the dirt along all grass edges. This prevents a dangerous lip from being formed
- The mound should have the field rake level in areas and spread a thin layer of clay on the pitching area and leveled left to right.
- Any soft areas of dirt should be fully saturated with water if the last game of the day. Heavy watering of the clay will have it turn hard as it dries.
- The tarps shall be placed on the mound and home plate areas and PVC pipe placed in the shed.
- The shed shall be locked and all equipment placed inside
- A general look over the facility should ensure all rollup scorekeeper doors and sheds are closed and all equipment put away and all people have exited.
Field Setup Tips
- For field setup, one person (50 minutes), two people (25 minutes). The following task order can make the process the most efficient.
- Remove home plate and pitching mound tarps and relocate to the “Away” side of the field outside of the fence near to the gate.
- Connect hose and water the home plate area and first and third base lanes
- While one person continues to water the field, the other can start raking home plate area and the first and third base paths. Level out the batter's box and create a good loose top soil in the plate area and down the paths. Work the rake up and down the base paths and not across them. The field drag can quickly even out the home plate area after it has been raked.
- The batter’s box and foul lines can now be chalked.
- Using the aluminum frame, imprint the batter's box and remove frame
- Using the string line, connect to rings on backstop and pull down first base line
- Chalk the first base foul line starting from right field and end the chalk when it overlaps with the imprinted batters box
- Pull the chalk line to the foul side of the line and move to the third base location and repeat same as first
- Chalk the batter's box lifting the tires over the already chalked lines
- Once the infield is wet, wet the pitchers mound and rake the full mound filling in holes and providing a consistent pitching and landing zone with loose clay
- The field drag can now be used using circular patterns from the first base foul line to the third base foul line carefully not to go over the foul line with the drag
- The rake, hose, base cart, and drag can be left outside the fend on the “Away” side since they will need it to tear down the field
- The chalk equipment can be put back into the shed if there are no more games for the day or left outside the “Away” side fence for setup of the next game.
- Drying agents and Turface should generally not be used except for rare circumstances. Almost all excess moisture conditions can be resolved using the field rake and screen drag working the clay around incorporating dry clay into the wetter areas and moving the very wet clay to the drier areas. The drying agents change the field composition and make the field less firm and more difficult to maintain. After it is used, it will eventually need to be removed from the field and replaced with infield clay. The facilities manager has field sponges which can be used to absorb large puddles before working the area as well.
- If there is not another ULL team warming up to take the field immediately after the completion of your game, assume there is not follow up game and use the teardown procedure and fully lock up and clean the field.