Dirt for everyone and staying home


Staying around for a few days has turned into a lot of work!

Yes, full disclosure ­— some was premeditated.

We try to add some infield dirt to the softball fields at Elston whenever the budgets allow.

I’m sure you have seen the dust clouds on some afternoons while we get a dry field ready, and I’m sure you have seen the parking lot turn a shade of brown as runoff winds up there.

Well, that stuff needs to be replenished, and there was some fortunate timing that got me 63 tons of infield dirt on the first weekend I was actually in town.

That was planned for the most part. You know I spent the last dozen weekends in LA, NY, or St. Louis working UFL football games. No time to sit on the field tractor grading tons of dirt.

We also wanted to wait until after the Strawberry Festival Tournament, because all that dirt softens up the fields for a while, and a traditional Strawberry Festival rain would have slowed the pace of play down to a crawl.

The dirt folks didn’t want to deliver early in the spring, because getting to the infields meant driving through the outfields, and they had gotten some trucks stuck. We absolutely didn’t want that.

So, it turned into the Thursday after the Festival tournament. At 8 in the morning, three tri-axle trucks arrived and dumped 21 tons of infield dirt on each field.

Now this is pretty good stuff. Calling it “dirt” isn’t really fair. It’s actually called Hoosier Fill, and most of our area schools use that material on their baseball and softball fields. It’s a nice mix of sand, some clay, and some other materials that help the field soak up water or shed water faster so that we can play games quicker after rains. It also is a nice surface to drag and smooth out, and is better for players.

But there I am last Thursday with three large mounds of dirt in the middle of three softball fields. Time to get to work.

And it just happened to be the hottest days of the year.

I’ve leveled a lot of loads of this stuff, so the process was fairly routine, but man it was hot out there. I managed to find a towel to protect my ears and neck, but I sure got a good farmer’s tan on my arms. I finished Friday evening. There is lots of touch-up work for a couple weeks.

So my travel was as far as the edge of Sugar Creek this last week.

Well, I did get to North Montgomery on Saturday morning for a Legion baseball game.

Folks, I’m telling you, this is a good baseball club. They won their game Saturday 15-2, and they added another win on Sunday at West Terre Haute. They are sitting at 12-3 on the season!

They have a home doubleheader this Sunday. First game at noon. They are playing one of the teams that gave them a loss, an Illinois team that won a championship last season. It’s a doubleheader, so come for one or both.

They are also home for evening games on July 2, 3 and 9. They are hosting a four-team tournament July 11-13.

If you are a baseball fan, I strongly encourage you to check these guys out.

I’ve also been plenty busy getting things started for the fall, and all the miles that will entail.

There is some local stuff, with a college all-star game in Kokomo in mid-July, and a few Fever games from next month into September. I’ve been in touch with production folks from the Colts — we have two preseason games in August, and with my Fox crew — we have a preseason game in San Francisco the day after one of the Colts games.

And of course there is softball at Elston and I get to do another radio game for the Legion this Sunday. Bring your radios to the game and make sure I get the names right.

There is a trip coming up. I head to South Dakota next week for a high school class reunion. I cannot believe it has been 50 years since I graduated from high school.

More on that when we get together in a couple weeks.

It’s a little early, but I want to wish everyone a very Happy July 4 holiday. Enjoy time with family and friends, and always remember the freedoms we sometimes take for granted came at a very high cost.

Safe travels.

Jeff Nelson is a frequent contributo to the Journal Review and works professionally for Fox Sports working with the Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Colts and many more professional teams