To the Editor:
On behalf of the Warwick Public Schools WISE Union Maintenance Grounds Crew, we would like to respond to the recent comments made by NEFL Coach Mike Fratus in the Sports section of last week’s Beacon.
Mr. Fratus complained about the Veterans field conditions. For the record, Mr. Fratus had requested use of the fields via paperwork for one night only, Thursday, July 25 only a few days before. No game took place that night. The teams proceeded to play on Friday night and all day Saturday without the appropriate approved paperwork.
On Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for the game Thursday night, the WPS Grounds Crew cut the field at the summer appropriate height of four inches to maintain the field integrity based on summer weather conditions. The field was fertilized and the infield was raked.
Mr. Fratus acknowledged that he and others took it upon themselves to cut the grass. They did so with their own push mower from the third base infield, behind home plate, to first base close to the outfield. The grass was cut under three inches, resulting in grass clippings all over the infield and the base paths. They went inside the press box, which was unlocked by someone with a key, unknown at this time, and used WPS equipment, such as the wheelbarrow and rake to rake up some of the grass clippings, which were dumped into our clay pile that is used for the infield where they also left the wheelbarrow. They used WPS bags of chalk to line the field and made a mess doing so. The teams used the dugouts and left garbage, bottles and cups all over the field and parking lot. On Saturday, someone unlocked the gate to the baseball field and let a New England Frozen Lemonade truck drive onto the field to sell lemonade during the games. After the game was over, the organization left the gate open and unlocked all weekend until it was found by our grounds crew on Monday morning. The field was damaged and will need repairs.
In conclusion, our fields are maintained appropriately by our grounds crew. It is the obligation of all using them to request approval in a timely manner and to follow the rules as set forth in such request approvals. It is unfortunate that Mr. Fratus chose to take away from the efforts of the teams by complaining about field conditions.
Joe Fratus, Grounds Crew