From the track to the field
Travis Pitts hoses down the infield before a recent Reading Phillies game. Pitts, a Tamaqua High School graduate and current star member of the Delaware Valley College track team, is doing an internship with the R-Phils this summer.
In a matter of a few months, Travis Pitts took his work ethic from the track to the field.
The Tamaqua Area High School graduate sprinted his way to All-American status as a member of the Delaware Valley College indoor and outdoor track and field team this past school year.
Once mid-April rolled around though, Pitts decided to put himself in a position to carry on a another role as a member of a different kind of team.
Rather than solely focusing on off-season workouts, Pitts decided to make the most of his summer by working on another competitive field.
Pitts, who is majoring in in Agronomy and Enviromental Sciences at DelVal, decided to attain some experience towards his future endeavors in his field of study.
"The only jobs I've ever had have all been outside and once I got myself into college I knew I wanted to major in turf management," Pitts said. "So, that entailed obtaining good internships every summer to build a great resume so that post graduation I will be prepared to get a good full time job in the sports turf world."
Pitts had previously working at Olde Homestead Golf Club in New Tripoli as well as serving as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles' ground crew last preseason at Lehigh University.
With golf and football turf work already on his resume, Pitts added another sport this spring baseball.
"I came in contact with my current boss, Dan "Dirt" Douglas, after my sophomore year and spoke of an internship, but a different opportunity presented itself and I ended up elsewhere last summer," Pitts said. "I contacted Dirt over my winter break my junior year and met up with him for an interview and he said the internship was mine for the summer."
Since the beginning of April, Pitts' internship has been as one of five members of the Reading Phillies' grounds crew.
While he knows it takes a lot to be a successful track athlete, Pitts knows also what it takes to play a pivotal role for the Philadelphia Phillies' double-A affiliate each night.
"My nightly routine includes working with the rest of the ground crew to set up and tear down any equipment the team uses leading up to the game," Pitts said. "Our ground crew will then begin preparing the field at 6:15 for a 7:05 game," Pitts said. "Our pregame routine includes screening the entire infield, putting down foul lines and batters boxes, preparing the mound, preparing home plate, and finally watering the infield dirt to get some moisture in it to create the best surface for the players."
After the third and sixth innings, Pitts and his fellow team members drag the infield.
Pitts' job isn't finished when the last out has been recorded, either.
"After the game, we repair the mound, home plate, and the entire infield which will take about an hour," Pitts said. "But, we leave the bullpen mounds to be fixed the following morning."
Pitts has taken to the field for 57 of the Reading Phillies' 73 home games this year. While it may seem hectic at times, especially when the R-Phils have a long stretch of home games, Pitts does his best to make the most of the experience.
"The part I enjoy most about the job is learning so much about turf management and field maintenance from my boss who has been the head groundskeeper for the Reading Phillies for over 20 years," Pitts said.
"The most satisfying thing for me is seeing the field right before the game begins when it's in ideal condition after we prepare everything perfectly."
In the upcoming weeks and months, Pitts' main focus when it comes to the Delaware Valley College track and field team will be on the track. But right now, his main focus is defintely on the field.