The man who turned Zephyr Field into a football field

Zephyr Field is Thomas Marks' responsibility.

"My job is the field," confirms the head groundskeeper.

Keeping Zephyr Field playable for the New Orleans Zephyrs,  a Triple-A Affiliate of the Miami Marlins, is more than just mowing the grass.

"Believe it or not, baseball-wise--I've been here now 16 years--no one's ever complained about grass," says Marks. "Baseball players complain about dirt."

Marks says keeping the infield playable is most important to baseball players. But, starting today (Friday, Sept. 23), football players are the athletes Marks is trying to appease.

Since the Zephyrs' last game was rained out more than two weeks ago, Marks and his crew have been transforming Zephyr Field into a football field. The New Orleans Catholic League Series presented by WGNO will bring the best high school teams from the Catholic League to play on the grass and dirt of Zephyr Field.

Fitting a football field into a baseball field isn't the problem, according to Marks. It's getting the dimensions right that is complicated.

"A baseball field unto itself is about two and a half acres," he explains. "A football field is only an acre and a half. But, the dimensions don't necessarily fit into each other."

Marks says the field is tight at some of the corners. But, it's ready for game day. His crew also had to put up goal posts and flatten the pitcher's mound.

One big difference between baseball and football: when it rains, baseball games stop. Football games keep playing. Marks says if it rains during a game, things could get "very messy." But his crew will take care of it.

"There will always be something going on on a field, whether it's to improve something you didn't do as well last year, or think you can have it better for next year," says Marks. "It's a never-ending cycle."