Aesthetic Maintenance Techniques Add Appeal to Clay Surfaces

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David Mellor had just mowed a giant star pattern into the outfield grass and four more smaller versions on the infield turf in anticipation of the 2000 Triple-A All-Star Game in Rochester, N.Y. β€” much to the amazement of officials from the host Rochester Red Wings. They asked Mellor, who at the time served on the grounds crew of the Milwaukee Brewers and had been retained by Rochester as a consultant, if he could somehow incorporate stars on the infield clay, as well.

Mellor had seen other groundskeepers lay carpet near the leadoff area at first base prior to the pregame watering of their infields in order to keep that part of the infield relatively dry and base-runner footing stable. He thought the resulting contrast in clay tonality β€” dark where wet, light where dry β€” could be replicated easily enough. "I just thought, 'Hey, if you have some cardboard, we can cut out some different sized stars to do the same thing," recalls Mellor, now with the Boston Red Sox. "We just watered over the top of them and removed them, leaving the star outline below."

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