Behind the scenes getting ready for opening day - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Behind the scenes getting ready for opening day

The playing field has to be in perfect shape. (Photo source: WLOX) The playing field has to be in perfect shape. (Photo source: WLOX)
They're warming up in the broadcast booth as well, where Amy Johnson is in charge of production. (Photo source: WLOX) They're warming up in the broadcast booth as well, where Amy Johnson is in charge of production. (Photo source: WLOX)
All the Shuckers employees work like a finely-tuned machine to make sure opening day comes off without a hitch. (Photo source: WLOX) All the Shuckers employees work like a finely-tuned machine to make sure opening day comes off without a hitch. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Wednesday night, the home opener for the Biloxi Shuckers will get underway against Pensacola at MGM Park. Before the first pitch is thrown, a lot of work had to be done to get everything ready to go.

The day begins with a conference room pep rally for Shuckers staff members. It's down to the wire now for assistant general manager Hunter Reed. 

“It can get pretty hectic behind the scenes, but hopefully we don't let that show outside. There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes. We have a lot of people working really hard,” Reed said. 

That includes the head groundskeeper, Will Lairamore. The playing field has to be in perfect shape.

“I’ll cut the grass today and then moisture management on the skin, the infield dirt, trying to level it out, drag it. Then start watering and try to get everything ready by 3 p.m.,” Lairamore explained. 

In the locker room, meals are planned and uniforms are cleaned. Then, there's something else for clubhouse manager Jim Dolan.

“Right now, we're going to be getting set up for batting practice. We're taking these baseballs out for the coaches. We've got the bag for the players to get their bats ready. We've got the throwing balls for the pitchers and the outfield so they can get warmed up,” Dolan said. 

They're warming up in the broadcast booth as well, where Amy Johnson is in charge of production.

“We have to get all the graphics, all the video content, everything that goes on the video board has to be ready to go. In addition to that, I have to make sure that everything that runs the production is ready to go,” Johnson explained. 

Special attention is paid to the stadium itself. Trevor Matifes is in charge of that.

“I'm making sure all our signs are good, our seats are maintained in the ballpark. Making sure that everything is clean for our fans. And then, as we transition into the game, I'm a manager. I manage our game day staff and our ushers,” Matifes explained.

With all the Shuckers employees working like a finely-tuned machine to make sure opening day comes off without a hitch, Reed says despite the hectic pace, this is still a special moment.

“It's exciting. It's opening day. It's actually my first opening day here with the Shuckers, so I'm really excited to be here and get going,” said Matifes.

The Shuckers organization employs 17 full-time workers and as many as 100 people work for the team on a part-time basis during game days.

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