Bill Deacon, graduate of Penn State's 2-year turf program (2000), hosted this years' MLB All-Star Game and affiliated activities last month at CitiField, home of the New York Mets. The field hosted the future's game, the homerun derby, and of course the game itself, but many are not aware of the numerous other events the field hosts during the 4-day event.
“The biggest challenge is the schedule,” explains Deacon. There are dress rehearsals for the main events and a seemingly endless stream of small events occurring on and off during most days. Bill is aided by the many volunteers from the sports turf industry that took off time from their venues to come to New York and help out. Bill said, “the volunteers are great. We couldn’t do everything we wanted to without them.”
Grant McKnight, owner of DuraEdge Natural Sand Company from Slippery Rock, PA spent a week at CitiField helping to maintain the DuraEdge Pro infield mix.
Evan Mascitti, M.S. student Turf Science at Penn State notes: “The field is in great condition. It never ceases to amaze me at the condition of the lips on these highly maintained fields. If you walk over the lip with your eyes closed, it’s difficult to determine where the grass ends and the infield mix begins.”
Besides the many volunteers, Bill has a number of student interns this year as well. Pictured is Penn State Turfgrass Science Junior Ryan Hillert. Ryan is a native New Yorker and has 5 years experience working for the Brooklyn Cyclones. This summer he’s learning from one of the best in the business.
Bill Deacon wasn’t always interested in sports turf. He started his turf career in his native Vancouver, British Columbia on the golf course. He was accepted into the Penn State Two Year program and while attending school became fascinated with sports turf. He informed Program Coordinator George Hamilton that he wanted to do an internship in sportsturf. With the help of Hamilton, Bill secured an internship with the LA Dodgers working under Mr. Eric Hansen. Bill learned a great deal from Eric as he didn’t have much baseball experience prior.
After graduation (2000) Bill accepted the position of head groundskeeper for the Long Island Ducks for two years and then returned to the Dodgers as an assistant. After two years with the Dodgers, Bill moved to San Diego, in 2004 to become an assistant for Mr. Luke Yoder at the Padre’s Petco Park.
In 2006, Bill accepted the position of head groundskeeper for the NY Mets. As groundskeeper for the Mets, Bill was able to gain vital experience with the construction of CitiField which was completed for the 2009 season.