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Snow No Match for White Sox Groundskeeper

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Copyright 2018 Paddock Publications, Inc.

Chicago Daily Herald

 

Roger Bossard joined the Chicago White Sox's grounds crew in 1967, working for his father Gene. Roger took over as head groundskeeper in 1983, and this is his 52nd season on the job. While he still has nightmares about the damage Disco Demolition did to erstwhile Comiskey Park in 1979, the Sox's first homestand of the current season is giving Bossard a severe case of the chills. It started before Thursday's home opener against the Detroit Tigers.

"At 9 o'clock in the morning, my infield was frozen," the affable Bossard said. "I've been around for a few years and I never remember anything like that." The White Sox and Tigers managed to play the game as the temperature warmed into the low 40s, but there were bands of snow throughout the afternoon and early evening. Over the weekend, it was 32 degrees at first pitch on Saturday and 36 on Sunday. The Sox and Tigers bundled up and played both games under bright sunshine. That brings us to Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Sensing trouble in the extended forecast, the White Sox on Friday decided to move the start of the game from 7:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. It started snowing late Sunday night, and it was still falling early Monday. "I knew it was coming," Bossard said. Arriving at the stadium at 5:20 a.m., Bossard got out the hose and lawn mowers and quickly went on the attack. "The trick to this is, if you get 2 inches (of snow) or less, you're actually able to melt the snow by using water," Bossard said. "Chicago water comes out of the system probably about 48 to 50 degrees, so you actually can melt a little bit at a time. I had a little more than 2 inches so I had to come up with something. I don't know how I did this, but I actually used my mowers to push the snow, as snowplows. "I've never done that before and it worked out well. I had no complaints. I'm very proud of this. It was a hectic, hectic, week, a hectic day, but it wasn't like Disco Demolition. Everything went well. The players are very happy, Ricky (Renteria) is happy and Jerry (Reinsdorf), so no problems." Left fielder Nicky Delmonico was one player squarely in the happy camp. "It was great," Delmonico said. "I was surprised the way the field felt today. It was pretty good out there." According to Bossard, just over 2 inches of snow fell on the South Side Sunday night and Monday morning. He and his 23-man crew wound up removing "200 to 300 tons" of the white stuff. Eight miles away, over 3 inches fell on the North Side and the Cubs postponed their home opener against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. The Cubs' game was pushed back from 1:20 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. before being called and will be made up on Tuesday. "(Cubs head groundskeeper) Justin Spillman and I are very close," Bossard said. "They had more snow, so I get it. He was using the watering procedure, too. He's a very knowledgeable, talented young groundskeeper. When you've got more than two inches of snow, when you're at that three, three and a half level, they made the right call. "I'm glad it was them and not me. I'm glad I only had the two inches. But from what I understand, I guess they (Cubs) have got an off day tomorrow. They made the right decision."

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Roger Bossard Daily Herald file photo Chicago White Sox groundskeeper Roger Bossard
 
April 10, 2018
 
 
 

 

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