David Mellor relishes the opportunity to strut his stuff differently than he’s used to doing.
The Fenway Park director of grounds explained to The Harvard Gazette’s Tom Layman this week what his process for converting the Boston Red Sox’s baseball diamond into an NCAA-grade football field is like. As Saturday’s Harvard University versus Yale University clash approaches, Mellor and his team have been working hard to prepare Fenway Park to stage the 135th edition of “The Game.”
“We stress attention to detail,” Mellor said. “The crew takes a lot of pride in their work.”
Removing the pitcher’s mound, and installing grass turf over it and the infield dirt represents one of two major challenges Mellor’s crew faces. In order to meet it, he decided to lay extra large strips of grass (4-feet wide by 35-feet long) instead of using cuts half that size.
“It’s a healthier and safer playing surface,” he said.
The short turnaround between the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series victory parade on Oct. 31 and Harvard versus Yale is the other major test of Mellor’s abilities. However, the tight schedule thrills Mellor more than it concerns him.
“It was exciting,” he said. “It condenses the timeline a little bit, and working with Mother Nature certainly has been challenging. Our crew has everything dialed in, and we are excited for game day.”
Players and fans alike hope Mellor maintains the high standards he has set in his nearly two decades at Fenway Park.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images