Episode 94- Baseball Groundskeeper Paul Zwaska
America’s Pastime is back in business with everything from players handing out hand sanitizer on first base to every other day nose swabs, but it’s back nonetheless proving that you can’t keep a great American sport down.
So, dust off that jersey, grab a hot dog, a giant beer and some stale peanuts and sit back and get ready for this week’s fascinating look at another unusual yet compelling career choice.
In the spirit of everything we love about the game, we had the chance to interview former Baltimore Orioles Head Groundskeeper Paul Zwaska about what it takes to make the field ready for exceptional play and every behind the scenes detail involved in keeping the field pristine on game days and off.
For those of you thinking, that doesn’t sound remotely interesting, it’s clearly been too long since you’ve been to a game in person. We challenge you not to be mesmerized by the ground crew as they perfect everything from lining the boxes to the epic acts of pulling out a one-ton tarp when the rain comes in. This gig can be highly dangerous by the way as you’ll hear in one of Paul’s stories from the field.
Paul gives a great interview talking about his rise to the pros where he spent 15 years with the Orioles and the knowledge necessary to get the field just right. He shared anecdotes and stories from the ballpark including the nicest thing Cal Ripken ever said to him and other insights into the players as a whole.
He shared the details of the important role the grounds crew plays in making any game happen. Their care of the field and knowledge of impending weather patterns can be a major contributor to the outcome of a game. It’s a stressful yet satisfying job and you can tell Paul has loved every minute of it.
Paul’s passion for groundskeeping came about at an early age and love of the field hasn’t wavered. These days his company Beacon Athletics provides support, supplies and resources to ballparks across the country. He spends his day consulting and working with everyone from little leagues to the pros sharing his knowledge and tricks of the trade to building the best fields possible.
A Wisconsin native, Paul is back in his home state. We, of course, had to find out what his neighbors thought of his own landscaping and how often people hit him up for tips. One of our hosts, (we’re pretty sure you can guess who) even asked for tips for his own lawn. You can get the scoop too in the episode.
Whether you are a diehard rally cap wearer who never misses an inning or more like our other host who loves the game for the um…”athleticism” of the players, you’ll love Paul’s conversational nature and stories of a great career so far.
For more information on Beacon Athletics, be sure to check out their website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which features great videos from Paul’s Groundskeeper University. To connect with Paul directly you can find him on Twitter.