40 Days and Counting – Tobey Update

Posted on January 19, 2020 by


[Field Update Report at bottom of Previous post]

News and updates from the Hernando DeSoto Men’s Baseball upcoming season has been quiet.  But that does not mean nothing has been going on.   Since October the activity at Tobey Legion Baseball field has been feverish.

Last fall the HDL officers committed to making major changes at Tobey, especially the infield playing conditions.  Here was the original “plan”:

  1. Add new high quality Bermuda grass sod to each base path – Home to First and Home to Third.

  2. Add new infield quality clay dirt material to existing infielder position dirt surface. ( First to Third)

  3. New dirt will be added to eliminate any major drop-off between existing grass infield and dirt playing surface.

      Note: Area at First Base is similar to progress at 3rd Base.

Additional needed improvements are on the priority list but their priority has been downgraded:

  • Replace batting cage net;
  • Repair cage frame posts to make them stronger,
  • Repair dugout roof system metal roofing,
  • Add fertilizer to Tobey field grass,
  • Remove excess food condiments and old equipment from storage box,
  • Renovate ground erosion in front of first base dugout,
  • Paint dugouts.

So what is the status of all these grand plans? 

With any project of this magnitude, progress depends on manpower and resource materials.  On Sunday November 10th a crew of 7 (officers and volunteers) came out and installed 2 pallets of sod that had been delivered.

Since the base path areas had been prepared in October, prior to the sod laying, the sod was installed with great success. After the Sod was installed the new sod was treated with winter Rye seeds to help it blend-in with the existing infield sod.

I am happy to report that this project goal is “Done”.

For the past 69 days, I have been working on moving baseball field dirt that we already had on-site.  I am referring to the pile of dirt that was was dumped next to the double gate outside the batting cage area.  This dirt was purchased in September, 2016 with the intention of using on the field but only a few wheel barrel loads was ever applied, mostly for repairs during field prep after rain damage. The amount of dirt that we have is less than 1/2 of a truck load.

After the sod was installed in November, the HDL officers had planned to have one, or two, full truck loads of dirt delivered to the field. However, fall rainy weather has continued to occur on a weekly basis.  The “ideal” scenario for dirt delivery is to have the dump trucks deposit the dirt directly on the infield when they arrive.

However, when the baseball field is “soft”, that delivery alternative would cause excessive damage to the field and has been determined to be unacceptable.

As the days have passed, since end of November, the rains continue to hinder our “preferred” option for dirt delivery.  In the meantime I have continued to manually move small yard wagon loads of our existing dirt to fill-in three primary areas (First Base, Third Base, Home Plate) to demonstrate how the goal of adding dirt to the infield will transfer Tobey into a playing surface that is on-par with many elite baseball fields in the Memphis area.

All we need is:

One full truck load of dirt, a bunch of volunteers with shovels, tampers and wheel barrels to make this happen. Oh, and of course, favorable dry field conditions for at least one complete weekend.  (If a Tractor with a front-end loader or a Bobcat was available, that would reduce the manual labor required.)

Resource funds are not an obstacle. Our challenge is “weather” and “volunteers” who will be available when conditions are favorable.

We have one other obstacle – TIME and 2020 SEASON START.  With our tentative start date for HDL practice proposed for March 8th, that date might not happen, or if it does, we run the risk of the field being in a state of disrepair making use of field as a safety risk.

I am posting this report to let everyone know that we have a problem and “YOU” may be needed to solve the problem.

If you have suggestions or ideas to help us accomplish this project before March, please share with us.

Larry Rutledge


Progress as of Tuesday January 28, 2020


Since posting the original article on Sunday, January 19th, the following work has been accomplished:

  • last of the infield dirt that was available at Tobey was installed in Home Plate circle.

     Home Plate Changes

  • Dirt supplier is being contacted to coordinate possible delivery date. To Be decided.

  • We are exploring feasibility of hiring some independent workers to handle the project to install the new infield dirt when it is delivered.  We can’t promise this will happen but even if it does, we still may need HDL volunteers to help dress up the installation.

           Need more dirt.

  • In the meantime, existing infield area behind bases, is being de-grassed.  Since the field was treated with Winter Rye grass, the dirt infield has become overgrown with rye grass and a few weeds.  This are will be weed-eat and sprayed with Round-up grass killer.

  • First and third base foul lines are being weed-eat.

Players asked to check back frequently as this project moves forward.