After soggy party, grounds crew gets to work


After soggy party, grounds crew gets to work

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The puddles were long gone and the infield dirt was fresh and dry. AT&T Park sure looked ready for the World Series one day after a downpour.

Mostly because the San Francisco hitters weren't the only ones rakin' at the Giants' ballpark.

Head groundskeeper Greg Elliott and his crew worked until midnight after Monday night's NL championship series clincher, pulled the tarp across the field and began bright and early again at 8 a.m. - with a midafternoon deadline before the Detroit Tigers' workout ahead of Wednesday night's Series opener.

Giants bench coach Ron Wotus walked into the ballpark Tuesday afternoon and headed straight for Elliott to check on his progress. He appreciated the hustle.

``They're busting it, is right,'' Wotus said.

It's the most rain Elliott has seen in such a short span since he came aboard from Cleveland in 2008. Headphones in his ears as he spread new dirt and methodically raked it just right, Elliott monitored the entire process as his crew scurried every which way to prepare the field. In front of the visitors' dugout, the World Series logo was painted on the grass.

``Two and a half inches came down the day before the Braves opened here in 2010 (NLDS), but not in that kind of a short timeframe,'' Elliott said. ``They're going to hit. We're working on a deadline.''

Not that the Tigers seemed too concerned about the conditions.

``Last night was a crazy game and it looks like the field got beat up a little bit,'' Detroit reliever Phil Coke said. ``I was just peeking out there because I haven't seen the field since I was in junior college. I looked out there and it looked like it got a nice little beating last night from Mother Nature. I know that the grounds crew does a phenomenal job because the park always looks pristine. So I'm not really worried about field conditions or anything like that.''

Wotus was impressed with the efficient work by the grounds crew to say the least. San Francisco beat the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 in Game 7 of the NL championship series Monday night to send the Giants back to the World Series for the third time since the waterfront ballpark opened in 2000. The franchise won it all in 2010.

Monday's game ended in a downpour. After the trophy ceremony at second base, the grounds crew immediately went to work using drying agents to clean up big puddles in the infield.

``Wasn't that fun?'' Wotus said. ``It was like little kids out there in the rain. Usually, we can't stand the rain, but the timing of it, it was like, `Let's get wet.' It was no big deal. It could have rained harder. It was a little sloppy for the celebration, and after 15 minutes I was ready to go inside and pop champagne. It's another unique moment to add to our history. When are you ever going to clinch the pennant in the rain?''


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this story.

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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."


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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.