The grass is green, the dirt is dry and not covered up by snow. Yes, ball season is here and it has already begun in Kindersley with minor teams getting their first crack at the new season.
Maintenance crews have been busy preparing ball diamonds throughout town ahead of the first few games of the year. Despite a dry spring, workers have made sure the diamonds are in pristine condition and are ready for the next few months.
Kindersley Minor Ball (KMB) President Chad Miller says the support from community businesses and town council have helped the organization acquire upgraded equipment for the town's diamonds and parks. The support will allow the maintenance workers the opportunity to keep the fields in tip top shape.
"We're adding a field drag and aerator to our fleet of equipment as far as maintenance is concerned," explained Miller. "The drag will become our every day unit for conditioning the in-fields and our aerator will be used occasionally to improve the turf conditions in our high traffic areas."
Miller approached town council earlier this spring requesting support for the purchase of the new equipment.
He also inquired about receiving funds to replace wooden boards on the bleachers at the town's two major fields. But, council chose a different direction for that project for now.
"We didn't get approval to change the boards on the bleachers at Berard and Flanagan Fields," said Miller. "That's something we'll look at doing in the future."
Other projects on the go or nearing completion include the maintenance shop and change rooms at Berard and Flanagan Fields.
The project for the shop is funded by Kindersley Minor Sports. Miller mentioned how it is functional right now and all they are waiting for now is power to be hooked up for the building.
As for the change rooms, renovations are set to start back up sometime this week, along with the renovation project for the booth at Lynco Hot Oiler's Field and Longhorn Oil and Gas Field.
People catching minor ball games this summer will notice something different at several games this season too.
KMB are commencing a new umpire mentorship program for this season, allowing young umpires to learn from guys who have been officiating games for years.
The group held their first meeting earlier this week with Miller in attendance. For him, it was a "very productive meeting".
"We had five local senior umpires who signed up to be a part of the program: David Burke, Brian Deck, Chris Omness, Dorian Bews and Logan John. Those five guys combined have more than 90 years of umpiring experience," he said.
They'll work together with our umpire coordinator to provide positive, constructive feedback to our young umpires. So we're really excited for that program."
He added that next year, he's hoping each team will supply their own ball tees, an item KMB has supplied along with bags and other equipment.
Baseball Canada has also made a rule change to allow for 23⁄4 inch barrel bats for Mosquito, Pee Wee and Bantam divisions, which their equipment coordinator is working on for the future.
Other than that, he says minor ball in Kindersley is "moving in the right direction" and things couldn't be going any better.