Field Preparation

How to Maintain the Pitcher’s Mound, Home Plate and Bullpen Areas

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During every game, damage occurs to the pitcher’s mound and home plate areas. Regular, proper maintenance will reduce time and money needed to rebuild and renovate these areas. It is also critical to maintain these areas properly to reduce the potential for injury.

The following is a suggested method to properly maintain the pitcher’s mound and home plate areas on the field and in the bullpen areas:

1. Sweep or rake debris material from the landing area and table of the mound. This allows the packing clay to be exposed. The landing area is the location on which the pitcher steps to pivot and throw.

The table is the area at the top of the mound, measuring 36 inches by 5 feet.

2. Tamp any uneven packing clay level prior to watering.

3. Using a small roller can provide consistency in the mound and home plate areas.

4. Lightly moisten the clay to ensure new packing clay will bind to the existing clay.

5. Scuff-up, or loosen, damaged areas with a shovel, chisel or screw driver.

6. Add new packing clay to the damaged areas.

7. Tamp newly installed packing clay into the ground.

8. Rake down the newly repaired areas.

9. Rake all debris from the pitcher’s mound.

10. Add soil conditioner (if needed.)

11. Water the entire pitcher’s mound.

12. Allow the mound to dry; however, do not allow the packing clay to dry too much to the point of cracking.

13. Once the pitcher’s mound is completely prepared for the game, cover it with a tarp to maintain a proper moisture level. Repeat this process for the home plate, mound and in the bullpen areas.

 

If the bag clay becomes too dry, a wet towel placed in the bag over night will rehydrate the clay in the bag.

 

Here is a 3 minute Video by Little League Baseball.

Hereis a 12 minute Video on Mound repair.

How to Maintain the Base Paths

It is best to maintain as much of the base paths by hand as possible. Use a drag that is narrower than the width of the base paths. Make sure that the drag does not overlap the grass area to prevent the formation of a “lip” or ridge at the edge of the grass. Prior to raking the base path, remove any white chalk material with a shovel. This will keep the clay more stable and not cause a hump, or raised area, down in the middle of the baseline. Rakes should also be used on the base paths. When raking the base paths, do not rake across the path, but go up and down the baseline. Raking across the path can cause a low spot to develop down the middle of the path. Weeds in the base paths (photo, below) should be removed by hand.

 

When raking the base paths, do not rake across the path. Rake up and down along the length of the path.