SCG curator Tom Parker poses for photographs in front of the members stand in Sydney. Tom Parker is only the eighth in an illustrious list dating back to 1867. They are practitioners of the art of cricket pitch curation.
SCG curator Tom Parker poses for photographs in front of the members stand in Sydney. Tom Parker is only the eighth in an illustrious list dating back to 1867. They are practitioners of the art of cricket pitch curation. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

No rest for SCG curator after history-making baseball series

BASEBALL:  SCG curator Tom Parker knew nothing about baseball 18 months ago.

It's fair to say that has now changed.

Parker was one of the main masterminds behind the hallowed cricket ground's incredible transformation into a temporary ballpark.

That transformation had US players and officials raving, following the success of the recent Major League Opening Series featuring the LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Parker admitted shifting 250 tonnes worth of clay and cutting up more than 3500 square metres of grass for four days of baseball was a mind-boggling task.

Parker and his ground crew worked tirelessly installing a dirt warning track, a pitching mound and batters' area.

"I knew nothing about baseball, but it ended being a fantastic event and it was great to be involved in something like that," he told APN.

"It was quite a turnaround. We had play at the ground go right up until February 26 before our work started.

"My team worked exceptionally well, and we were very well assisted by (MLB project manager) Murray Cook - who the MLB sent out to give us the assistance we needed."

In order to offset the fast outfield at the ground, Parker grew the evergreen grass from 10mm to 22mm on a farm in the outskirts of Sydney.

"The SCG is one of the fastest outfields in Australia, so we worked hard on that," he said.

"You do have sleepless nights because in this job you need to be perfect.

"But I have a terrific crew that works tirelessly - they were nurturing the grass day and night.

"And the ground ended up receiving praise all around the world - not one person I spoke to was critical of the way we prepared it.

"The experience was something I'll never forget."

Parker will continue working around the clock in order to get the ground right for next Saturday's NRL match featuring the Rabbitohs and the Dragons.

"We have to just keep giving the ground the right protection," he said.

"We've had some setbacks - on one of the days we had 33mm of rain, so at 2pm I told the staff to pack up and go home.

"But for the baseball we were lucky the gods looked after us and the rain just held off.

"You always hope the gods look after you."


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