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Join Mets reporter Kevin Burkhardt in this Citi Field grounds crew crash course

Every few innings in Major League ballparks, a group of people come out onto the field and do ... something to the infield dirt. A few of them have rakes, a few others have big-draggy-sheet things (that's the technical term), and the whole crew completes their dirty task in less than two minutes. The idea is to smooth out the playing surface, but there's clearly quite a bit of subtlety to it.

Mets reporter Kevin Burkhardt decided to join the Citi Field grounds crew as they performed one of their infield tune-ups and learned there's far more to the job than meets the eye.

Watch the video up top to learn some of the tricks of the trade:


For example, the Citi Field crew tend to smooth the field every three innings to ensure it stays at roughly the same texture throughout the game. They also perform the task with relative decorum when compared to their neighbors in the Bronx:

The whole process is vaguely reminiscent of ice hockey's famed between-period Zamboni grand prix, a fact not lost on Burkhardt, who compared the various divots and cleat marks to chewed up ice -- something with which New York fans have become intimately familiar in recent days: