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Comment of the Day: No, the Braves grounds crew wasn’t messing with Jose Reyes

Jun 15, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Reader Tim’s Neighbor is someone I’ve corresponded with a bit, as he worked for the Braves until recently. No, he wasn’t executive vice president of baseball operations or anything, but when it comes to the issue of Jose Reyes and the curiously wet Turner Field infield, he has some special insight and expertise.

Here’s what Tim’s Neighbor had to say about it in the comments thread a few minutes ago. While it may work to defuse conspiracy theories — and who among us doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory — it probably describes the situation more accurately all the same:

I just left the Braves Ground crew.  I was full time this season up until a few weeks ago.  No way it was intentional.  The crew are creatures of habit who don’t divert from what they are supposed to do every day.  And they do a damn fine job.  I actually texted my buddy on the crew still still and he confirmed that there was nothing sinister.  He said it looked fine even when they dragged both times.

It was crazy hot here yesterday.  You have to throw a little extra water down so the field doesn’t crack over the three hours of heat.  Sometimes, you throw a little extra down.  The Braves Field Director is a lot of things that I won’t go into, but the dude knows is stuff and is widely regarded as one of the best in the biz (he also does the Super Bowl every year).

I’m guessing that Reyes doesn’t know the least bit about field and turf management.  He should stick to getting on base and being speedy.

Any questions?

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Yes, I have one follow-up. Can I use “Turf Management” as my fantasy team name?

    • Panda Claus - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM

      I kind of like “On Base and Being Speedy”.

  2. dohpey28 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Hmmm I think a guy who has been playing in the major leagues for the last 8 years knows when a field is wetter then usual.

    That’s great he does the superbowl, however football fields usually don’t have any dirt.

    • nps6724 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      I believe the point was the dirt was extra wet for a reason, not that it WASN’T extra wet.

    • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Sigh. Different dirt in different cities. And it’s possible it was a little wetter yesterday. It happens occasionally. It’s impossible to be perfect every time. It was pretty hot out, so it has to be a little wetter at first. A damp field is much better than a dry field. Especially considering Turner has one of the hardest surfaces in the Bigs.

      And doing the turf for the Super Bowl is big time. You don’t get there by having a sloppy surface at your home field.

      • dohpey28 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:26 PM

        I just think its naive to think that teams don’t do things like this. He is told what to do by his bosses, and then his workers are told what to do by him. I remember teams letting the grass grow a little longer on the infield so they’re speedy runners have a better chance of getting bunts for hits. Some teams will have the infield grass reach all the way to the foul line so there is a ledge and bunts/rollers will roll of the lip and go foul. Its home field advantage, its been done forever. I just think theres a line, and its crossed when it jeopardizes the player’s health. Not saying thats what happened here, and no way that would ever be intentional.

      • nps6724 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM

        The length of the grass, whether short to create a faster infield or long to make it slower, doesn’t change game-to-game. I highly doubt the wetness or dryness of the field is dictated by opponent. The Braves have been playing against Jose Reyes for his entire career. They just NOW decided to do this? It doesn’t make any sense.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        Teams do still let the grass grow longer. The Braves let the grass grow longer for Hudson and Lowe starts (ground balls).

        Over-watering to the extent where it puts players at risk is inexcusable and would have to be done intentionally. The infield last night was only slightly more damp than normal. If it had been to a point that it was dangerous, they would have thrown down more turface and redragged the field. The players are too large of an investment to risk for an imagined advantage.

        Reyes should stick to playing well and earning his deserved large contract in the off-season. He may have played on the MLB fields for 8 years, but it doesn’t mean he knows what he’s talking about. I’ve driven a car for 15 years, but I don’t know how in the hell it works.

      • ditto65 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        He might not know how a crew adjusts moisture on the infield, but he can certainly judge the surface. After all, you may not know how a car works, but you can certainly tell when the surface is slippery from rain.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:47 PM

        Of course. I can also tell when a tire is wearing down, but I don’t know when it is too far gone that it’s dangerous. I just trust the mechanic. Reyes should just trust the people who do this for a living and understand none of them care about him at all. They just want to do their jobs well and have zero issues. When there are issues, everyone has to work more. And working more is the worst… Unless you’re Craig. There’s no conspiracy here. Just Reyes’s ego.

      • bigdicktater - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

        Tim’s N. On the tire deal, if you see a wear bar level across the tread it’s time for a new tire (or four).
        If you’re buying cheap, foreign tires (shame on you) take a penny and stick it in the grooves in a couple of spots around the tire, Mr. Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head it’s time for a new tire (or four).

      • ditto65 - Jun 15, 2011 at 7:22 PM

        Sorry, Tim’s N, but your car analogy does not work. Everyone knows that mechanics will recommend new tires long before they are due, hoping to make some extra cash off of those who know nothing about cars. Because of this your tires will never be due, since you know nothing about cars and rely souly on the judgement of your mechanic.

        And wet roads are still slippery, regardless of your personal choice in mechanic.

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    And when he hit David Ortiz, CC Sabathia said the ball just got away from him.

    Especially after the Mets logged a complaint, what else would the Braves say?

  4. bobulated - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    It’s no worse than having your fences out too far to help your pitching and then complaining that your stud 3B and expensive LF don’t hit homers anymore.

  5. Alex K - Jun 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    How is throwing water effective? Am I the only one who thinks it would be really inefficient?

    • sportsdrenched - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      For a wet t-shirt contest I’m all for it.

  6. Joe - Jun 15, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Of COURSE the Braves ground crew did this simply to slow down Reyes. That should have been completely obvious when they came out with a pile of towels and dried up the infield when Reyes wasn’t on the field, then brought the hoses out again when he was on base. It really slowed things down, but they had to do it that way. After all, they wouldn’t want to put their own players at the same disadvantage.

    • kopy - Jun 15, 2011 at 4:08 PM

  7. sportsdrenched - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    I was under the impression that BOTH teams played in/on the same field.

    • ditto65 - Jun 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM

      And when the home team is a bunch of slow dogs the speed of the infield has little impact, while speedy guys on the visitiing team are SLOWED DOWN.

      I heard the Atlanta grounds crew were watering the infield from the grassy knoll…

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