COTUIT – Alan Blanchette, the field director at Lowell Park, has watched coaches meticulously groom the field during the season.
“For baseball guys, everything has to be perfect,” said Blanchette. “They’ll spend hours grating and packing the dirt on the mound, in the batter’s box. And it does make a difference. Players like to feel comfortable on the field.”
And while the coaches take care of the field for the short summer season, Blanchette, as a board member of the Cotuit Athletic Association and a volunteer, has the year-round responsibility.
Plus, as he pointed out, “It’s more than just a baseball field. It’s a baseball field at Lowell Park.” This means there is more than just the baseball field that needs care.
About 1,250 fans attend each home game and, just like a batter or a pitcher, those fans like to feel comfortable. The Kettleers, said Blanchette, make sure that the family atmosphere of the homey park is felt, all the way down to some of the logs that have been set up as benches around the field, including behind the outfield fence.
Blanchette is a self-described “chainsaw artist” who has carved little seats out of few tree stumps around the field. But the facilities are maintained and upgraded as regularly as possible, he said. “We raise and spend $240,000 every year,” he said.
It goes all year, but the baseball preparations really begin in the spring. “It’s all about the grass growing,” he said. “When the grass starts growing, we start mowing.”
There are a group of about six people, including Blanchette’s wife Susan, who help on the field, he said.
According to Bruce Murphy, also on the board of directors. “In the spring, we are cutting it two to three times a week.”
And while the baseball field is the central focus for the fans who gather to watch the games, the entire park is the focus of Blanchette. “We have a get a lot of people here, a lot of dog walkers,” he said.
Steve Kelleher of Marstons Mills was walking his dog, a miniature goldendoodle named Molly, and he said, “I think it’s maintained beautifully with tender care by people like Al.”
Danny Diekroeger, 21, a shortstop for the Kettleers out of Stanford University, said, “It’s beautiful. Great scenery. It’s a great location to have a field. I can’t imagine a better summer experience than getting to play here.”
— Brian Tarcy