Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Nelson named turf manager at Prospect Meadows

Blake Nelson has been hearing the joke on a regular basis now that  he’s the new turf manager at Prospect Meadows.

Why does a sports complex that has artificial turf on all the fields  need a turf manager? Even Nelson has to chuckle about that one.

“I can’t even tell you the amount of times I’ve heard it,” he said. “Why do they need a turf manager? It’s maintenance free, right?”

First of all, only the infields on the eight fields at Prospect  Meadows will have field turf. All of the outfields will have grass,  which needs a lot of tender care.

Secondly, artificial turfs do require a certain amount of maintenance  to keep them in pristine condition. Those infields are expensive and  they need to last a good long time.

Nelson, 26, began his duties at Prospect Meadows on April 8. The new  facility, located north of Marion, will be opening in late May and  there’s still plenty of work to do.

The Opening Day ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, May 23 and the  first tournament will be held that weekend.

Nelson has joined a staff that’s led by General Manager Jack Roeder  and Assistant G.M. Steve James. Roeder ran the Cedar Rapids Kernels  before leading the effort the last 10 years to raise money and build  Prospect Meadows, while James worked at Perfect Game USA before  climbing aboard last year.

“It’s an exciting time to pair with Jack and Steve and the community,”  said Nelson.

Nelson grew up in Tama and graduated from South Tama High School. He’s  been interested in turf management since his teen-age years and has  compiled quite a resume in a short period of time.

“I actually started in high school at the Tama Toledo Country Club,” he reported.

He’s also worked in turf management at Iowa State University, the  Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball, and the University of Nebraska.

Four of the regulation baseball fields at Prospect Meadows will be opening for a weekend tournament in late May. The Miracle Field for  people with disabilities also will be ready on Opening Day. Four more  regulation fields are scheduled to open in June.

There’s plenty of work to go around, even for a guy who’s the new turf  manager at a complex that features artificial turf on all the  infields. “It’s going to be a learning curve for everybody,” said  Nelson.

“We’re trying to grow more grass."

That’s his specialty. And it's no joke.


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