Ryan Woodley – 2012 MiLB Sports Turf Manager of the Year in the Short-Season/Rookie Ball
On Monday, December 3rd, Ryan Woodley accepted Minor League Baseball’s Sport Turf Manager of the year award in Short Season Rookie ball. Ryan is the Head Groundskeeper for the Staten Island Yankees and made the trip down to Nashville, Tennessee to accept the award at Baseball’s Winter Meetings. Please see below for a recap of Ryan’s experience.
I arrived to the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville on Sunday, December 2nd. I knew there were going to be some MLB people sightings, but wasn’t sure how many people would actually be there. While I was checking into my room the Miami Marlins GM Larry Bienfest was checking in right beside me and that’s when I realized this was going to be a pretty neat experience. After my dad and I got settled in the room we walked around the resort. The indoor resort was massive, it took almost a half hour to get from one side to the other. Sunday was kind of a neat day to see all the ESPN commentators walking around and starting the broadcast sessions. On Monday I was scheduled to get the award at the Awards Luncheon. It was pretty cool to see everyone from Minor League Baseball at the luncheon and the awards ranged from Organization of the Year, to Sports Turf Manager of the Year, to Scout of the Year. After the awards ceremony was complete the other three turf managers and myself were part of a round table discussion on how to maintain a great field with big events. It was nice to get feedback after each session from other teams GMs and front office staff on what type of events they have each year on their fields. Overall the Winter Meetings experience far exceeded what my expectations were. It was a great learning experience and honor to accept the award on behalf of the Staten Island Yankees organization.
After being honored with the award, we asked Ryan to answer a few questions.
1. How rewarding is it for you to honored with this award?
This award was not an individual award. I couldn’t have done it with out my grounds crew (Zach, Cody, Levi, Pete, and Dan) and without the help of the front office. We had a tough year with rain and the field tarp, so it was very rewarding for everyone that we were recognized for the hard work. Jane Rogers and I work very closely when it comes to field events. She gives me the necessary resources I need to make the field perfect for all events.
2. What is it like working for the Staten Island Yankees?
Coming to work everyday for the Staten Island Yankees is very enjoyable. It’s always a new adventure with the events we have at the stadium. Everyone is great to work with and the Staten Island Yankee fans are awesome.
3. How did you get to where you are today as the Head Groundskeeper for the SIY?
I graduated from Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls, SD with a degree in Turf Management. From there I interned with the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2008 season and left after the season for another internship with the University of Nebraska. After completing my internship I accepted the position of Head Groundskeeper with the Helena Brewers, Rookie Level for the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2009 season. Upon completion of the season I accepted the Head Groundskeeper position for the Staten Island Yankees.
4. What advice can you give to young students who are looking to get into your profession?
Good advice I was given by my boss with the Milwaukee Brewers is to always work hard and ask a lot of questions during your internships. I wouldn’t be where I am today without doing internships and learning from different people’s styles of groundskeeping.