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09/04/09 5:50 PM ET

Twins groundskeeper chats with fans

Twins head groundskeeper Larry DiVito participated in a live Web chat with Twins Territory Team members on Friday. During the chat he answered many questions, including what goes into maintaining a Major League ball field.

double00devin_2: Why did you go with grass grown in Colorado and not a locally-grown sod?

l_divito: Good question. The farm in Colorado has a sand profile that best matched the profile we put in Target Field. Compatible sand is critical for initial root development. Also, because of the climate, Colorado has a longer growing season and more sunlight than Minnesota.

MauerFan09: What happens in the winter? How do you take care of the field then?

l_divito: Our heat system will keep the field at 40 degrees and we will cover it with agricultural blankets to insulate the turf from wind dessication.

kevinm82: What's the hardest part of the field to maintain?

l_divito: The turf in front of pitcher's mound and where baserunners turn on turf at 1st and 3rd bases receive the most wear and tear.

pyt63: How did you become a Major League groundskeeper?

l_divito: I spent 7 years in minor leagues in Pawtucket before getting the #2 job with Dodgers for 4 years then the top job with the Nationals in 2006.

FxGurl: Why would you lay sod in the fall and how do you keep the grass from freezing in the winter?

l_divito: We will get root development through late October, and then keep the field dormant but not frozen in winter.

fiveat49: How time consuming is this job? Does anyone really understand?

l_divito: From March 15 to October I live it and breathe it constantly. I feel I need to go to the field every day to keep an eye on it.

nycmw_2: How did your job at the Nationals prepare you for this job?

l_divito: Mainly going through the construction of Nationals Park from the beginning to end of season one prepared me for what building Target Field is all about right now.

garp98: How did you arrive at the decision to leave the Nationals and come here?

l_divito: Easy. Minnesota is a better place to live and a better organization to work for.

kevinm82: What's your favorite part of your job?

l_divito: Working on the field late in the day or on weekends when nobody is in the stadium...it doesn't even feel like work at those times.

oldmet1981: How long will it take for the sod to settle in place to endure events for next season? Thank you.

l_divito: It should be playable by November 1, just in time for us to shut it down for winter. My next goal is to have it ready again around March 20.

oldmet1981: Do you know of any events like concerts for instance that will be scheduled next year and if there are, what challenges will you face keeping the turf in good shape to handle non-baseball events?

l_divito: We will have some events but I would not expect a full blown concert in year one.

nycmw_2: When you talk to people and tell them what they do, what's the usual response you get?

l_divito: They ask: how do you get stripes in grass and if I am friends with players? Mower rolls stripes and players are my bosses essentially...it is a business relationship .

dph6178: What all goes into building a Major League ball field?

l_divito: 2 years of planning, budgeting and finding materials. General contractor, field contractor, architects and the baseball team all weigh in.

gitesferrett: How different is the atmosphere here in Minnesota compared to Washington, when they were building their new stadium?

l_divito: We were on a faster schedule in DC so the whole thing had some chaos to it. We finished sod in left field November 8, 2007 and played the O's in exhibition March 29, 2008.

gitesferrett: With the advanced drainage system under the field, how much will that decrease the chance of a rain delay during the season?

l_divito: It should help quite a bit, but the key is the mound, plate and infiueld dirt. They all need some clay in it and that"s why we need the tarp in heavy rain. Turf and W Track drain on their own.

figaro33: How big is your in-season crew vs. the off-season crew?

l_divito: Ideally myself and 2 others are year round and in season 3 more seasonal, maybe an intern or two and up to 15 a night just for the tarp.

double00devin_2: Who's your favorite ball player?

l_divito: Ted Williams all-time. Best guy I have ever worked for is Jeff Suppan.

dananicb: Have you and the Twins decided which "image" you'll cut into the grass yet? Know STL has the arch...

l_divito: We may try the TC in center field but not all the time. I prefer simplicity.

kirbyfan227: Taking off your Groundskeeper hat, what are you most looking forward to this season and next with the Twins?

l_divito: Working daily for a team that wins...the losing got old in Washington.

figaro33: Are you nervous for the team to take batting practice on the field later this month?

l_divito: I don't expect a full workout...just the guys taking some swings and looking around.

dananicb: What adjustments are you anticipating being needed between the exhibition games in early April and Opening Day - when IS that by the way?

l_divito: We will have 9 days to work on details. The exhibitions are my opening day because the field needs to be to MLB standards for those games.

dananicb: Will the Twins have any sweepstakes so fans can help pull out the tarp or be "groundskeeper" for a game - honorary I know - but maybe?

l_divito: Twins are always planning more things for fans...stay tuned for updates in offseason.

gitesferrett: How different is the atmosphere here in Minnesota compared to Washington, when they were building their new stadium?

l_divito: Mortenson runs a tight ship and a clean site which is nice...good organization for a construction site.

oldmet1981: What is the major league standards for a natural grass field?

l_divito: There are no longer any severely crowned or sloped fields in MLB...fields are virtually flat and all are expected to have drain lines about every 15 feet under the turf.

rlorourke: Hi Larry. I'm wondering if you have any tips for making my home lawn look as great as ballpark turf.

l_divito: Overseed twice a year with quality seed...bluegrass or perennial ryegrass. Mow every 4 or 5 days at a medium height. Fertilize at 1/2 rate more frequently.

oldmet1981: Have you encountered lot's of excitement about the Twins having a grass field after 28 years in the Metrodome?

l_divito: People are crazy for grass here it seems. it has been lots of fun getting field built!

l_divito: Anyone have any other question for me?

l_divito: OK I have to get back to the field...I am going to hop on the mower and cut the outfield around 4:30 or so. Thanks.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.