FAIRIFIELD — Little League opening day is less than a month away, but there’s plenty of action going on around the local fields.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to do over the winter months as spring and baseball season approach.
Talking to various people from the four area leagues, one thing is absolutely key to getting the diamonds ready to play: Volunteers.
“If we didn’t have them, we couldn’t run the league,” Fairfield Pacific President Mark Carnesecca said. ” There wouldn’t be a Little League. You couldn’t charge enough to pay the people to perform all those roles.
“We are trying to get even more parents to volunteer, get them involved. If you’re involved, your children get so much more out of it. If you’re just a spectator, you’re not really part of it.”
Dan Kaiser, field manager at Suisun American Little League, concurred.
“It’s very important,” Kaiser said, “It lightens up the load. We work 40-hour jobs. That’s less we have to do on our working days.”
Added Tri-Valley President Michael Coan, “It couldn’t happen without them, they are irreplaceable. Given the complexity with the fire this year, we are behind the 8-ball. We lost all our maintenance equipment in the fire.
“We take such pride in the fields. (Former president) Dave Mosher has stepped up, taking them under his wing. His personal agenda. Overall it’s just the way you maintain it throughout the year. Ours are newer which helps. There’s a lot of pride in our fields.”
Fairifeld Atlantic Vice President Andrea Viri couldn’t put a price on all the help that’s needed.
“The volunteers are priceless,” she said. ” We couldn’t do anything without dedicated volunteers. Concessions, maintain the fields. The more that come out, even give an hour, it’s better for all the kids.”
“The last (volunteer work day) we had last year we probably had about 50 volunteers. This year the more manpower we have is obviously better. If we have more people they can work on other little things.”
The work varies from location to location, but one thing all the fields have is weeds that have grown from the end of last season.
“In the winter they kind of let it grow,” Viri said. “They do basic weeding and fertilizing. We let it grow and recuperate from the season. Starting now, we add dirt to infield and warning tracks.”
Carnesecca said his fields haven’t been too bad at the start of maintenance the last few seasons.
“We’ve been blessed the last couple of years,” he said. “The first thing you do you get the weeds out and spray for the new growth that comes. We mow the grass, which makes it look better when you start.”
The man hours needed to make the fields playable by opening day varied from a little to a whole lot.
“We usually spend three or four 10-hour Saturdays,” Coan said. “We had days where we had 10 or 15 guys out there. We get help and they work all day long.”
It was a little more over at Fairfield Pacific.
“I don’t think that’s an easy thing to estimate,” Carnesecca said. “Our cleanup days and maintenance crews, it probably takes 400-500 man hours to get it ready to go.
“I did a calculation for at the manger’s meeting two weeks ago. It takes 175 volunteers to maintain Fairfield Pacific Little League. Managing concessions, team moms, umpires, etc. It’s a huge amount of man hours.”
And a huge advantage for all the Little Leaguers.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.