DENVER The Colorado Rockies grounds crew kept dumping quick-dry clay on the field, and head groundskeeper Mark Razum didn't hesitate to call for reinforcements when they ran out.
Razum and his crew went through 120 bags of clay weighing 50 pounds apiece in Sunday night's rainy Game 3 of the NL championship series. Razum knew he was in trouble when he used 95 bags through six innings.
He quickly called the local distributor of Pro's Choice to see if there was any way to get more.
Luckily, the distributor happened to be at the game watching Colorado's 4-1 victory over Arizona. He was able to zip down to the warehouse for more and send it back with a member of the grounds crew.
"It was easily the most material we've ever put down," Razum said. "We've been in games like that before, but nothing this severe and with so much on the line."
The Rockies use Pro's Choice because of its ability to absorb water like a sponge and still retain its shape. The material is a ground clay substance that's fired through a kiln to give it extra absorbency.
Even the umpires were helping out the grounds crew Sunday night, pointing out wet spots on the infield. The crew went out every half inning to sprinkle more clay on the infield.
"The umpires were committed to getting a complete game in, but at the same hand not losing the integrity of the field," Razum said. "If at any point it became too slippery out there and guys were falling, I think they would've held up the game."
Yet the infield maintained its shape quite well under the conditions.
"I've got a good group out there," Razum beamed.
Razum even received a message Monday morning from Rockies owner Dick Monfort, who called to praise their work. Razum brought his crew into his office to hear the message.
"That meant a lot to us," Razum said.
It's been quite a memorable year for the Rockies grounds crew. They were rescued in July by Shane Victorino and his Philadelphia teammates when the tarp the crew was rolling out caught a gust of wind and began to flap out of control, trapping a few crew members underneath.
"When it draped over the guys, I was worried that somebody might suffocate," Razum said at the time. "It was really cool the Phillies came out and gave us a hand."
Mother Nature gave the Rockies a hand Monday night with the rain moving out of the area.
Razum was ready anyway, once again well-stocked with quick-dry clay.
Or so he hoped.