RENO, Nev. — Reno Aces Grounds Manager Eric Blanton has been named 2009 Pacific Coast League Turf Manager of the Year, the league office announced today.
Blanton and his grounds crew were the driving force behind preparing the Aces Ballpark playing surface for its inaugural season of Triple-A Baseball. The award is voted on by field managers of each Pacific Coast League club. Criteria for the annual award include professionalism of the grounds crew, pre-game field set-up and overall playing surface preparation.
“It is a great honor to receive this award,” Blanton said. “My crew—both day and night staff—deserve much of the credit, as I would not have been able to maintain at such a high level without their hard work and dedication.”
Assisting Blanton in the day-to-day maintenance of the playing surface, the Aces Ballpark grounds crew includes Assistant Grounds Manager Mike Josselyn and Groundskeeper Cubby Rincon. The gameday staff includes: Mike Bosco, Trevor Bradshaw, Ryan Garrett, Rob Hastings, Dan Kastens, Mike Kinnaman, Jason Olson and Beau Walker.
Blanton came to the Aces in 2009 after spending four seasons with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. While in New Hampshire, Blanton twice was named Eastern League Turf Manager of the Year. In 2007, Minor League Baseball honored him as the Double-A Turf Manager of the Year.
Earlier this week, New Hampshire’s Merchantsauto.com Stadium was selected as the Pioneer Athletics 2008 Field of Excellence under Blanton’s guidance, which is bestowed upon the top playing surface among all New England professional teams, colleges, universities, high schools and park & recreation departments.
Blanton, who studied turfgrass management at Walla Walla Community College, began his baseball career with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in 2001. He then joined the grounds crew with the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping prepare famed Dodger Stadium from 2002-2005.
Blanton will be honored at Aces Ballpark prior to Friday night’s game against the Fresno Grizzlies. He will also be recognized at the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, where Minor League Baseball will announce its 2009 Triple-A Turf Manager of the Year.
There are only five more chances to check-out Aces Ballpark in the 2009 season. For tickets, stop by the Aces Ballpark Box Office, call (775) 334-7000 or visit www.RenoAces.com.