By Rick Dayton

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the Pirates are on the road, not everyone is gone from PNC Park.

With the team away, the grounds crew is hard at work, aerating the outfield and touching up the infield.

“If you close your eyes and you stepped on this edge, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you are stepping on grass or stepping on dirt. So that’s where your bad hops come from,” said Matt Brown, the director of field operations for the Pirates.

They also field questions on how to rework the pitcher’s mound.

“Since we got turf, our mound, the clay pushes down under, then you get this hard surface all the way around,” said one crew member.

The PNC Park grounds crew spent Thursday afternoon sharing their knowledge with officials from local schools and municipalities.

“If you have a problem, chances are someone else has had a problem,” said Brown. “Like I touched on, it’s a small industry. We are all facing the same challenges as far as weather and events and just a lot of playability on our fields.”

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There were about 50 observers on the field. They come from local universities, municipalities and high schools. The men and women charged with doing the same job on their own fields.

“To be able to come down here to a beautiful ballpark, they are answering any questions that you have. I mean, these are the top-notch guys,” said Ray Davis, the athletic director of Springdale High School.

The chance to rub shoulders with the pros was set up by Eaton, the company that installed new lighting in at PNC Park. Attendees said they were enlightened.

“What you apply to the softball, you can apply to the soccer. You can apply it to any type of field because it’s all a matter of knowing the technology and the latest that is out there,” said John Tucci, of Robert Morris University.

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