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Bombers battle turf in most successful season ever

Battle Creek BombersIt’s been a successful season for the Battle Creek Bombers (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) both on and off the field, but there’s been one fly in the ointment: the turf at C.O. Brown Stadium is basically dead because of a groundskeeping error.

Attendance is up 33 percent for Bombers games this season — at 1,052 a game — and the team won the first-half title in the Northwoods League’s South Division. Despite the accomplishments, the team has had to face one huge hurdle: instead of applying fertilizer to the outfield turf, a contractor applied Roundup.

“As painful as it is, it’s real simple,” Battle Creek Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Hovarter told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “We contract to have the field fertilized on a regular basis…What appears to have happened — why it happened I don’t have a clue — the individual sprayed all those other fields, he ran out of product, so when he mixed the batch for C.O. Brown, he didn’t put liquid fertilizer, he put liquid Roundup (herbicide) on the two fields. And it killed them.”

The result, predictably, is a mostly dead outfield turf. That’s a concern for the team and the league; in the summer-collegiate world both promise to treat college players (and future MLB prospects, mind you) with care.

“The safety of these guys is absolutely the first thing we think of when we’re doing this,” said Bombers GM Brian Colopy. “We’ve got the business to run and tickets sold, but even if the place was sold out, I wouldn’t put our guys in a situation that was dangerous because of hazardous field conditions.”

The game plan: play out the season over the next few weeks (which will incude some playoff games) and then tear out the dead sod and reseed.


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