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Making It To The Majors

Andrew Lawing ’13 plays a much-needed position for the Baltimore Orioles.

Photograph by Todd Olszewski, team photographer of the Baltimore Orioles.

Andrew Lawing ’13 started playing baseball before he was in kindergarten. He played in AAU tournaments, throughout high school, and in community college. Then he realized his baseball career was winding down.

But Lawing made it to the majors. Today, he’s working for the Baltimore Orioles as senior manager of field operations, helping manage a crew of seasonal workers and game-day staff to keep the dirt and grass in tip-top shape for every game.

He worked his way up to what he calls a “a dream job” after starting as a seasonal worker. When Lawing graduated from NC State in turf grass management, “I wanted that major league experience,’’ he says. “I moved up two days after graduation.’’ In 2016, he got the management job at Camden Yards.

When an outfielder dives, Lawing is looking for divots.

Lawing is in charge of making sure the grass is healthy, which often means calculating the right amount and type of fertilizer or fungicide. You’d think he’d have an easy day when the team is out of town. But during a stretch last summer when temperatures climbed into the 90s, he worked 10-hour days keeping the grass cool with frequent sprays of water.

Weather is a big issue in Baltimore. “We’re a half mile from the harbor, and we get these thunderstorms rolling in,” Lawing says. Rain games are a special challenge. The game-day staff is also called the “tarp crew” — when it rains, they unroll the massive vinyl canvas (175 feet by 175 feet, weighing more than 2,000 pounds) to protect the infield dirt.

On game days, Lawing typically watches from a crew cage at field level. And although he still enjoys the action as a fan, he’s keeping an eye on how the ball is rolling on the grass. “I’m watching the playability,’’ he says. “If the outfielder dives, are there divots that we need to go out and fix?”

So does Lawing have a stellar front lawn? “I live in the city,” he says. “I have a brick patio. We have a couple of potted plants and flowers, but they don’t always stay alive.”

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