Hey Heidi: What happened to the Arch in the outfield?

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - There are plenty of Major League Baseball fields with perfectly criss-crossed patterns or simple stripes, but there's only one outfield in America with an Arch.

"It shows a uniqueness to the ball field so when you see it on TV or the highlights, you see that Arch and you know it's in St. Louis," Bill Findley, head groundskeeper at Busch, said.

He's a man who might have more headaches than Matheny, and there's one thing in particular Tylenol can't take care of.

"The weather," Findley said without hesitation.

That's why sometimes the Arch disappears. It also fades away when the grass is stressed out.

"I think we had 19 games in 23 days, and a lot of extra activity on the field during the time frame as well so between that extra activity and the mowing, we have to put the Arch in the field, we decided to do away with if for awhile to give the grass a break," he said.

The extra mower traffic it takes to create the Arch is also hard on the turf, but the Arch is back and here's how they do it.

It starts with a rather simple grid on paper.

"We measure out each baseline to a certain point. Then we measure from the base all the way to the top," Findley said.

Then they mark it with flags and start mowing.

"A lot of people think we're mowing different heights, we're painting it in different areas or we're using different kinds of grasses, but it's basically just the mower laying the grass blades in different directions. So when the light reflects off of it, you get that light or darker shade," Findley said.

The crew will go over it until it's burned in, which is a technical term for until you can see it.

"If you're looking at a light colored strip that's the grass going away from you. The dark colored stripe it's coming towards you," Findley adds.

The base of each leg is 18 feet wide, but it gets smaller as you get to the top of the Arch, which only stretches 6 feet.

Of course, this is just one of many jobs this crew of 11 has to tackle, they also roll, rake and water. But it's the Arch that seems to grab most people's attention.

"Now it's kind of one of those things when it's not there, I catch a lot of grief for it," Findley said.

If you have a question for Heidi email her at hglaus@ksdk.com.


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