Before the Tigers and Giants take the field for the World Series Games, the ground crews are busy prepping the field. Heading that effort for both teams are Spartan alums from MSU's Sports and Turf Program.@
The Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants have been building World Series seasons since last spring, but for both teams, it's been Spartans who've laid the groundwork. Literally.
"People have been talking about how unique it is to have two Spartans as head groundskeepers in the World Series." said David Gilstrap, the Coordinator of MSU's Sports and Commercial Turf Program.
MSU is the only school with two graduates working as head groundskeepers for MLB teams and they happen to be the Tigers and the Giants.
"It's awesome, and for both of us to have teams making it to the World Series at the same time. Chances of that happening are pretty slim, I imagine," said Heather Nabozny, Tiger's groundskeeper.
Heather Nabozny, the Tiger's groundskeeper was MSU's first Sports Turf Grad. Now she's pitted against her fellow alum Greg Elliot, who is prepping the field Thursday in San Grancisco.
"There's no rivalry really. We just wished each other good luck and good weather," said Nabozny.
Gilstrap says having two grads working as head groundskeepers in the MLB is a testament to how far the program itself has come.
"Before we started the program, most of the people in there were not formally educated and we saw an opportunity. You'll find more and more Spartans in the bigs, so to speak," said Gilstrap.
Even as Nabozny preps Comerica Park for a World Series, she says her training at MSU is her foundation for success on the field.
"Once you get your own field, there is a little bit of artistry involved, but definitely the science and the fundamentals. What you build on, I got at Michigan State," said Nabozny.
There are a handful of turf programs throughout the country, but MSU's Sports and Commercial Turf Program was the first of its kind nationwide.