If you played baseball as a kid, this probably happened to you: it rains a little and your game today gets canceled. It rains a lot and your game tomorrow (or even the next day) might also get canceled. So what’s a Canadian youth sports league supposed to do with a rain-soaked field and an upcoming tournament? Pour diesel and gasoline on the field and set it on fire in an attempt to dry it off, that’s what, eh?
And no, surprisingly, it did not turn out as well as you might think! Here’s more from The Spec:
It’s a swing and a miss for a youth baseball association just north of Edmonton after officials poured a mixture of gas and diesel fuel on a St. Albert ballpark two weeks ago and then set it on fire. The aim was to dry out the rain-saturated field in preparation for a provincial tournament, they say.
But the resulting smoke brought out police and fire officials who launched an investigation and ended up closing down four diamonds, three of which have since reopened. The soil also tested positive for hydrocarbons, though additional testing showed it is safe.
“In 25 years of municipal field maintenance involvement … I had never actually heard of a practice like that,” said Chris Jardine, with the City of St. Albert. He said the city doesn’t approve of the drying method, but the St. Albert Minor Baseball Association maintains it needed to do what was necessary to get the fields ready.
Professional umpire Jake Gibbon said dousing a baseball diamond with diesel and setting it on fire is actually a common practice and has been done for years in the major and minor leagues. “I’ve seen it, I’ve been on the field when they’ve done it, I’ve worked a game after they’ve done it,” he said. “The first time I ever saw it, I couldn’t believe it.
Really? Has anyone ever seen or heard of this being done before?