Landscaper scrambles to fix Waterbury baseball field


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury Municipal Stadium has been closed for several years, there’s a new grand stand and dugout but a landscaping mix-up delayed the opening.

“Back on April 9th TruGreen lawn service had come in and made an application of a product to prevent crab grass which interfered with our growing grass process in perpetration for the 2016 Mickey Mantle World Series,” said Waterbury supervisor of Parks and Golf courses, Mark Lombardo.

Lombardo says TruGreen was supposed to be working on the fields at Kaynor Technical High which is close to the stadium. But instead crews mistakenly applied a crabgrass inhibitor to the wrong field. “So that stopped our process of growing grass in the Springtime,” said Lombardo.

The stadium was supposed to open in April. The city spent millions of dollars upgrading the stadium and field. That landscaping mix-up prevented Municipal Stadium from hosting high school and college baseball games last month.

The mistake could’ve been a lot worse. The return of the Mickey Mantle World Series will be played in July. The last time it was played in Waterbury was in 1992 and it’s the city’s time to shine.

Tony Santoro, President of the Connecticut Amateur Baseball Congress says he had some sleepless nights, “Very discerning and wondering how we were going to handle it. If the field was going to be available, what was going to be done and where we were gonna have to look to play.”

TruGreen sent News 8 the following statement:

“What started as an innocent mix up (we were originally scheduled to treat a field down the road) has turned into a much bigger relationship with the city. Our goal was to not only rectify the situation, but to transform the field into pristine condition to help ensure the return of the Mickey Mantle World Series for years to come to the great city of Waterbury.”

Santoro adds, “TruGreen stepped up to the plate. They cooperated with everything and they are making it right.” TruGreen had the existing grass removed so new sod can be put down.

Lombardo says with the field bare there’s a silver lining, “We have an antiquated water system out there so there was some more that we had left over from this project that we were able to go out to bid for and we are now going to be installing an irrigation system to have the field properly irrigated.”

Lombardo adds the baseball field will be completed in June.

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