Trimming the outfield grass at Busch is left to Findley's assistants. They are responsible for choosing the field's stripes and patterns, which are made by rollers that are fixed behind their lawnmower's blades. If the grass is tilted away from the viewer, it appears to be a light shade of green. If it's matted the other way, the reflection of the sunlight makes it seem darker.

While other groundskeepers are known for mowing team logos and laying down fanciful patterns in their outfields, Findley likes to keep it conservative.

"I let the guys do their thing, and if they get carried away, I reel 'em in. We don't do a lot of crazy things. This is about as crazy as we get," Findley says, gesturing toward the checkerboard pattern that will be in place Opening Day. "We got a little something special planned for the All-Star Game, but I don't want to divulge that."

A sunny day at the office makes Cardinals head groundskeeper Bill Findley smile.
Jennifer Silverberg
A sunny day at the office makes Cardinals head groundskeeper Bill Findley smile.

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Bar none, the biggest challenge for Findley's crew is keeping the field green in the stifling summer heat. "It's an art, really," he says. "A lot of people don't realize what we do here. We aren't working in California. A lot of the guys [other groundskeepers] are pretty glad it's not them out here."

"They say if you can grow grass here in St. Louis you can do it anywhere, including the moon," Casella adds.

Whereas the old Busch Stadium turf was a mix of two seasonal grasses to help cope with the Midwest's climate extremes, the new field is pure Kentucky bluegrass. It's hearty in cool temperatures but will brown in extreme heat.

"Believe it or not, when it's hot and humid we don't water as much, because the humidity will hold that moisture in," Findley says. "We water early in the morning, at 4 or 5 o'clock. With the bluegrass you just gotta kinda baby it."

He then offers a touch of groundskeeper Zen: "The turf will tell you when it needs water."

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