Methuen resident Jeff Paolino, the head groundskeeper for the Lowell Spinners, has been honored as the groundskeeper of the year. Jeff recently attended a Methuen City Council meeting, where we recognized his excellence with a mayoral citation. Congratulations Jeff! The Spinners press release is below.
The Lowell Spinners, Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, are pleased to announce Head Groundskeeper Jeff Paolino has been named the New York-Penn League Sports Turf Manager of the Year.
Paolino, in his second season as the Spinners head groundskeeper after three seasons as an assistant, oversees all grounds work at LeLacheur Park during the not only the Spinners season, but also during the UMass-Lowell Baseball season.
In 2009, Paolino’s tireless work ensured the Spinners would be able to play despite rain on 15 of the team’s first 18 home dates without so much as a rain delay. Overall in 2009, the Spinners were rained out just once, playing through the rain in over half of their home dates.
“This award is a testament to the hard work Jeff and his staff put forth on a daily basis in taking on the onus associated with ensuring we are able to play on a playing surface that is one of the best in the game,” said Spinners Vice President and General Manager Tim Bawmann. “With the amount of rain we had in 2009 to only have one game lost to rain is remarkable and we are very happy to have Jeff honored for his hard work in making it possible.”
With LeLacheur Park in use day-in-day out, Paolino has worked over the past few seasons to make several key improvements. In addition to the daily beautification of the field, Paolino has made improvements to the bullpens, home plate area and pitching mound, as well as added several new looks to the field with new cutouts and cuts.
During the past two seasons, Paolino has worked not only to keep LeLacheur Park ready for baseball, but also to host two concerts. Following the Dropkick Murphy’s and Mighty Mighty Bosstones concert in 2008, LeLacheur Park hosted indie-rock favorites, Wilco in 2009, again opening the playing surface for stages and concertgoers alike. In each instance, Paolino has ensured LeLacheur Park is not only ready for baseball in the days that follow but in the same condition it was before the concerts arrived.
“To be able to turn-around the field over a six-day period from baseball to a concert and then back to baseball is a testament to the work ethic of Jeff and his crew,” said Bawmann. “By the time we are back to baseball you wouldn’t even know we had 6,000 people in the outfield the day before.”
A native of Methuen, Mass., Paolino was sworn into the military in a ceremony held at LeLacheur Park in June. While he is due to report to Lackland Air Force base outside of San Antonio, Texas in late October for training, Paolino will continue his work at LeLacheur Park.
The Sports Turf Manager of the Year is selected by the top umpires in each league. Paolino was selected based on a number of criteria, including condition of turf grass, mound, infield, and communication with umpire crew and effort to complete games in adverse conditions. The national winner will be announced at the Baseball Winter Meetings, to be held the first week of December in Indianapolis.