While you were sleeping, workers began laying down the first few thousands of square feet of Kentucky blue grass at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis.
The grass arrived last night in large trucks from a grower located in Colorado. A giddy group of Twins front office staff and other VIPs were there to watch the first patches of sod get rolled onto the field.
One by one, Space Age looking forklifts carried out the rolls of Kentucky blue grass. Each roll weighs more than a ton and they're a large as wine barrels. There's 400 square feet of grass on each roll. The whole field will need more than 100 thousand square feet of turf. Workers laid the first roll in the outfield along the third baseline.
Groundskeeper Larry DiVito is here to watch the installation just to make sure everything goes according to plan. Next week, he'll be taking over the job of feeding, watering and mowing the turf. It will be the most pampered two and a half acres of grass around. It will be heated in the winter with underground pipes, high tech drainage and state of the art watering.
Plus DiVito will be mowing the field three or four times a week. He says it will help shape the field to the team's specifications.
"We want to play baseball at a certain height of cut on the grass - 7/8ths of an inch to an inch and to maintain the density in the grass, we want to mow it frequently," he said. "So we don't let it grow up and cut it short. You want to mow it consistently at a consistent height and then we get nice density that way."
Even though DiVito is the expert on growing and maintaining grass, the team dictates the length of the turf. Major League Baseball doesn't have a uniform standard for grass length. DiVito said some teams modify their fields to match the strengths or weaknesses of their players.
Twins president Dave St. Peter said there are a lot of factors that go into setting a turf length.
"Obviously, if you asked your pitchers...your pitchers would want to grow really thick grass that slows the ball," he said. "[But if you ask [outfielder] Denard Span, [2nd baseman] Alexi Casilla or [catcher] Joe Mauer they want the grass as short as possible."
Short grass makes it easier for hitters to zip a ground ball through the infield. Right now, St. Peter says he doesn't know yet if they'll shape the field to benefit Twins pitchers or hitters.
"I think we'll just be shooting for a nice, healthy, successful field," St. Peter said. "Over time, again, yeah I think you have the ability to shape a field and customize it to your team. And I suspect that will happen here as it's happened around the league."
Turf installation continues again tonight. A total of 19 trucks will be used to bring the grass from Colorado to finish the job by the end of the week.