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Ballpark Notes for Feb. 24, 2009

New groundskeepers in Clinton and Altoona lead today’s edition of the ballpark news.
New groundskeepers in Clinton and Altoona lead today’s edition of the ballpark news.

The Clinton LumberKings (Low Class A; Midwest League) announced the hiring of Dan Thomas as the club’s new Stadium Manager and Head Groundskeeper. Thomas joins the organization after spending 2008 as the Assistant Groundskeeper for the Peoria Chiefs.

Thomas, 26, earned a B.S. in Sports Management at Lincoln College (Bloomington-Normal, IL) and a Turf Management Certification from The Ohio State University, both in 2008. Prior to his time with Peoria of the Midwest League, he also worked as a groundskeeper for a golf course in Springfield, IL.

“We are pleased to have Dan on our staff,” said LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow. “He comes highly recommended by the Chiefs and we know he will do an outstanding job at Alliant Energy Field.”

The Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League) announced the addition to Derek Morton to their front office staff as their Director of Sports Turf Management.

Morton will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep of Blair County Ballpark and its new playing surface.

“I’m excited to come to an award-winning organization and be trusted in maintaining such a beautiful ballpark with a great reputation,” said Morton.

Morton is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Crop and Soil Sciences – Turfgrass Management.

Despite his recent graduation, Morton has already amassed a great deal of experience in professional sports field management working at new Major League and Triple-A ballparks constructed within the last decade. Last October, he completed a four-year stint working on the Detroit Tigers grounds crew at Comerica Park from 2005-08. Morton also spent the summer of 2003 interning on the crew of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The 23-year-old from Saline, MI garnered previous experience in minor league baseball working with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens, at their new downtown facility, Fifth Third Field. Additionally, Morton worked this past summer with the Detroit Lions maintaining the team’s outdoor practice field in Allen Park, MI.