After soggy party, grounds crew gets to work

Published Oct. 24, 2012 2:31 a.m. EDT

The puddles were long gone and the infield dirt was fresh and dry. AT&T Park sure looked ready for the World Series one day after a downpour.

Mostly because the San Francisco hitters weren't the only ones rakin' at the Giants' ballpark.

Head groundskeeper Greg Elliott and his crew worked until midnight after Monday night's NL championship series clincher, pulled the tarp across the field and began bright and early again at 8 a.m. - with a midafternoon deadline before the Detroit Tigers' workout ahead of Wednesday night's Series opener.

Giants bench coach Ron Wotus walked into the ballpark Tuesday afternoon and headed straight for Elliott to check on his progress. He appreciated the hustle.


''They're busting it, is right,'' Wotus said.

It's the most rain Elliott has seen in such a short span since he came aboard from Cleveland in 2008. Headphones in his ears as he spread new dirt and methodically raked it just right, Elliott monitored the entire process as his crew scurried every which way to prepare the field. In front of the visitors' dugout, the World Series logo was painted on the grass.

''Two and a half inches came down the day before the Braves opened here in 2010 (NLDS), but not in that kind of a short timeframe,'' Elliott said. ''They're going to hit. We're working on a deadline.''

Not that the Tigers seemed too concerned about the conditions.

''Last night was a crazy game and it looks like the field got beat up a little bit,'' Detroit reliever Phil Coke said. ''I was just peeking out there because I haven't seen the field since I was in junior college. I looked out there and it looked like it got a nice little beating last night from Mother Nature. I know that the grounds crew does a phenomenal job because the park always looks pristine. So I'm not really worried about field conditions or anything like that.''

Wotus was impressed with the efficient work by the grounds crew to say the least. San Francisco beat the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in Game 7 of the NL championship series Monday night to send the Giants back to the World Series for the third time since the waterfront ballpark opened in 2000. The franchise won it all in 2010.

Monday's game ended in a downpour. After the trophy ceremony at second base, the grounds crew immediately went to work using drying agents to clean up big puddles in the infield.

''Wasn't that fun?'' Wotus said. ''It was like little kids out there in the rain. Usually, we can't stand the rain, but the timing of it, it was like, `Let's get wet.' It was no big deal. It could have rained harder. It was a little sloppy for the celebration, and after 15 minutes I was ready to go inside and pop champagne. It's another unique moment to add to our history. When are you ever going to clinch the pennant in the rain?''


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this story.