September 5, 2012 - International League (IL) - Indianapolis Indians
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Indians Head Groundskeeper Joey Stevenson has been voted the International League Sports Turf Manager of the Year for the second straight year. The award is selected by the field managers and pitching coaches from around the League.
"Joey Stevenson and his ground crew take great pride in providing a top quality playing surface at Victory Field, and it is entirely appropriate that Joey be named the International League Sports Turf Manager of the Year," stated Indians Vice-President and General Manager Cal Burleson. "He has battled through the challenges of Super Bowl recovery, a terrible drought, and more recently the ravages of a tropical storm, to deliver a field that many of our team members describe as good as any they have ever played on in the Major Leagues. Joey does a tremendous job."
For the 21st consecutive year the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues and Major League Baseball joined forces to recognize a Sports Turf Manager of the Year in each of the minor leagues. The award was established to recognize outstanding effort and excellence in the care and maintenance of a baseball playing surface.
"I mean, all you have to do is walk out on the field and it's obvious," said Indianapolis Indians Manager Dean Treanor. "This is, by far, the best condition of any field in the league, and obviously, with the voting, it shows that. They are tireless workers. Every time I show up early, they're out there. We have a really good relationship and I know they feel a part of what's going on here. I told Joey just last week that they are a part of this, and it shows that anyone who comes in here notices a difference."
A graduate of Purdue University, Stevenson last season became the second Indians' groundskeeper to be honored joining current Philadelphia Phillies groundskeeper Mike Boekholder, who took home the award in four consecutive seasons for the Tribe from 1999 to 2002.
"It's pretty special to win it two years in a row just because there are a lot of good fields in the International League," says Stevenson. "To win it back-to-back, not too many guys have done it and some of the guys that have done it are in the big leagues now. So it's pretty cool, especially with having the new field and the sod only being down for three weeks before we started the season. That was a huge challenge for us, and with it being the hottest summer on record, it's just nice to win an award with the summer we had and the brand new crew we had, too."
Joey will now be under consideration for the Triple-A classification's Sports Turf Manager of the Year Award, which he received last year, as selected by the Sports Turf Managers Association and presented annually at the Baseball Winter Meetings.