Imagine hundreds of thousands of people coming to your house and critiquing your lawn. Dream or nightmare? For Indianapolis Indians Head Groundskeeper Joey Stevenson and his staff, it’s reality.
Joey and his crew work day-in day-out to maintain what many in professional baseball consider among the very the best playing surfaces in the game. Their efforts have once again paid off as Victory Field has been recognized for the third time in the last four years with Stevenson being awarded the International League’s Sports Turf Manager of the Year.
As of Aug. 27, only four opportunities remain to come experience the International League’s best playing surface. Whether you’re a green thumb or stick to house plants, one can’t help but appreciate the meticulous effort put into Indiana’s premier natural grass baseball diamond.
Stevenson, who also won the award in 2011 and 2012, gives credit to his crew for helping making Victory Field the best. “It’s a testament to Assistant Groundskeeper Joey Gerking and our entire crew,” remarked Stevenson. “My team puts in long hours, hard work, and are especially dedicated to our craft and love of the game.”
With the award, Stevenson joins Toledo’s Jake Tyler (3) and former Indians’ groundskeeper Mike Boekholder (5) as the only International League Sports Turf Managers to be honored at least three times in the 23-year history of the award.
The award is voted on by field managers and pitching coaches throughout the IL, and they once again took notice of the Big League aura that Victory Field boasts. “Victory Field is a big league playing surface,” said Indianapolis Indians Manager Dean Treanor. “Joey and his crew work their tails off at all hours of the day. He’s a big league groundskeeper and he does a big league job.”
In addition to the 72 Tribe home games each season, Victory Field also hosts a variety of outside events including the Indiana Baseball State Finals, the City/County Championships and Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition. Through it all, Stevenson and his crew help keep Victory Field looking like every day is Opening Day.
“Joey Stevenson’s care of the Victory Field playing surface has made it second to none,” said Indianapolis Indians Vice President and General Manager Cal Burleson. “He does an excellent job of leading his grounds crew through some very challenging activities and is totally deserving of this award.”
The award automatically places Stevenson in contention for the Triple-A classification’s Sports Turf Manager of the Year Award (which he received in 2011 and 2012) as selected by the Sports Turf Managers Association and presented annually at the Baseball Winter Meetings.