The Ins and Outs of Base Maintenance
Of the many responsibilities you have as a field manager, base maintenance is probably not the most exciting. But it is certainly important for the field and the game itself.
Base maintenance begins at the anchors. You should install the anchors low enough below the surface that the nail drag won’t catch on them when you remove the bases for dragging. Inspect the anchors and base stanchions regularly to make sure they fit tightly, because a loose fit could cause the base to shift underfoot. You’ll also want to use a base scoop to remove dirt from the anchors for a clean, secure fit. Poorly anchored bases that move when players run or slide on them can lead to ankle and ACL injuries.
Another important part of base maintenance is properly protecting the bases while dragging the infield. This means pulling the bases and plugging the anchors before dragging, so they don’t fill with infield mix and debris. Removing the bases to drag the infield also ensures an even grade. Otherwise, you’ll have high spots where the bases are and low spots around the bases, which causes poor surface drainage. It’s also good to clean the bases regularly, both for aesthetics and player safety.
Finally, remember to protect the pitcher’s mound and home plate by covering them when the field is not in use. Covers help maintain proper moisture levels and reduce erosion. If left uncovered, these areas can become either too wet or too dry, depending on your climate. This creates unsafe conditions for players, who could lose their footing and slip on the poorly maintained surface. You spend a lot of time and money on your field, so a tarp is a good way to protect that investment.