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Syracuse Chiefs Grounds Crew Prepares for Opening Day

Syracuse Chiefs Head Groundskeeper, John Stewart (right) and a fellow team member work on preparing NBT Bank Stadium for Opening Day which is on April, 6th. (c) Nate White 2017

By Nathaniel White SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —¬†Syracuse Chiefs Head Groundskeeper John Stewart walked around the grass in the outfield of NBT Bank Stadium with a look of satisfaction on his face. Just one week ago, the entire field was covered with white tarp. Today, the sun is out, the tarp is gone, and work can be completed.

Opening Day for the Chiefs is in exactly one week. It had to be postponed last year thanks to a mixture of cold, snow, and ice. The calendars currently say the Spring season has arrived, but the latest weather would suggest otherwise.The recent blizzard followed by consistent rain has caused some concern if the ballpark will be ready for the first game. Stewart on the other hand is doing everything in his power to make sure that there will be a ball game.

Stewart said he feels a lot better about where he and his team are this week compared to seven days ago. The grounds crew has to move the roughly 26 inches of snow brought by the blizzard away so that the field could start to dry. The sun and more moderate temperatures encouraged everyone at the ballpark today.

Today, Stewart and his crew  were busy grooming the infield, plowing the grass, and hosing down the seats. Stewart said he has the fans in his mind, and that he knows they want to actually see a game be played when they head out to the ballpark.

The forecast for the next week does not look entirely promising, but one thing is for sure. Rain, sleet, or snow, Stewart and his team will be at the ballpark.