Most people go to a baseball game and just take the condition of the field for granted. But not Dominick Guerrero.
Guerrero, the head groundskeeper for the Inland Empire 66ers, said it actually takes an 80-hour week to get the field to be in pristine condition.
For Guerrero, that work is paying off as he was named the California League Field Manager of the Year for last season.
“I take pride in pretty much the whole grand scheme of the field,” said Guerrero, who is in his 13th season with the team. “Me and my guys spend countless hours taking care of every detail. That includes making sure the clay is moist, making sure the grass is cut and aesthetically pleasing. The transitions from dirt to grass, we try to keep them as seamless as possible. We try to take that extra care in this field and it shows.”
Naturally, while growing up Guerrero wanted to be a baseball player, having played for coach Mike Spinuzzi at Kaiser High School in Fontana and at San Bernardino Valley College. And it was while attending SBVC he said he got into the world of groundskeeping by accident.
“It was just being at the right place at the right time,” Guerrero said. “It started off as just a summer job through college. But I liked it so much they decided to keep me on.”
So, what's the best part of the job?
“It’s seeing the results of your hard work,” said Guerrero, who has worked full time with the team since 2012. “You put all this labor in during the offseason, during the season, and you come in every morning and see a green field. It gives you motivation to work harder.”
And what about those 80-hour weeks?
“During the season from March through September, I'm putting in 80 to 100 hours a week,” Guerrero said. “On a game day I'm here from 8 in the morning until an hour after the final out is recorded.”
Alex Groh, assistant general manager of the 66ers, said Guerrero's work speaks for itself.
“Everyone I talk to, all the players who come into town, the out-of-town teams, they love him, they love our field,” Groh said. “They always say it's the best.”
He added Guerrero's work ethic is rare to find nowadays.
“He's been here more than a decade,” Groh said of Guerrero. “He knows the field like the back of his hand. That meticulousness and that experience is something you can’t really find elsewhere.”
And while he now lives in Redlands, Guerrero said he always considers Fontana his hometown, having first stepped on a baseball diamond with Southwest Little League at Jack Bulik Park.
“Fontana during those days was a complete sports town,” he said. “Just the style of baseball that was played back then, just hard nosed. I find that it applies to my work here today, pushing forward, overcoming adversity.”