JUCO Notes: Eddie Mort honored for Suplizio green thumb

The neck of the swan on Grand Mesa hasn’t broken yet, but the grass at Suplizio Field is green.

JUCO is 51 days away.

The turf at Suplizio, which took a beating one year ago because of construction at the sports complex, then the addition of practices and games by the Grand Junction Rockies, is in midseason form already.

Part of that is because Eddie Mort is living up to being honored as the Colorado Turfgrass Professional of the Year for 2012 by the Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association.

Mort, the sports facilities supervisor for the City of Grand Junction, oversees the Lincoln Park Sports Complex.

When he received the award in December, he was also in charge of Canyon View Park, but his duties have shifted to Stocker Stadium and Suplizio Field, including the day-to-day workings of the Lincoln Park Tower.

Mort was nominated for the award by people in Denver who supply him with the various chemicals and fertilizers needed to keep the grass green.

“They came over to a few games and said, ‘This facility is incredible,’ ” Mort said Wednesday after the first JUCO Committee meeting of the year, during which he was recognized for the award.

Mort goes to the association’s convention every year to learn more about the industry, and is now on the board of directors.

He said the additional 39 games played by the Grand Junction Rockies last summer took a toll, but it wasn’t so much the games that had his staff hopping to keep the field in good shape.

“It was the practice beforehand,” he said. “On a game day they’ll come in about 2 o’clock and will practice from 2 until almost 6,” Mort said. “It’s that wear and tear we weren’t ready for.”

But, he said, some preventative measures and a different fertilization and watering program will help the field hold up better this year, when they’ll have a full schedule of high school, Colorado Mesa and GJ Rockies games.

Tower party: The hospitality level is already booked for every night game during JUCO.

This year, though, groups can rent the top floor during the day.

For $1,000, a group of 100 can rent the suite from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (Saturday is already reserved) and from 2-6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Food and drink are an additional cost.

Because of the tight schedule of games and the time needed to clean and reset the room, the hospitality level won’t be rented for individual day games. After the day session, the room will be cleaned and reset for the night game.

Anyone interested in renting the hospitality level for day games should contact Lee Young at 250-7058, 242-1665 or by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Tower debt: JUCO made its second installment of $300,000 to the city in December to pay for the $8.3 million Tower project.

Tournament Chairman Jamie Hamilton said JUCO has also paid its $1 million obligation for the project. Grants and private donations, including from members of the JUCO Committee, raised the $1 million.

Hamilton joked during Wednesday’s meeting that 15-year-old committee member Kadan Cummings “will be 38 when this is paid off. I don’t know what that means for the rest of us, but Kadan, good luck!”

JUCO tickets: So far, 673 reserved tournament passes have been sold for this year’s JUCO World Series, which begins
May 25.

Reserved tickets can be purchased through the JUCO website, jucogj.org, or at Monumental Events, 2470 Patterson Road. Reserved tournament passes are $152 for the Tower section along the first-base line, which has stadium seating, and $76 for the main grandstand, which is bleacher seating.

There’s a 10 percent discount on all reserved tickets bought before May 1.

Fans who purchase reserved seats by April 15 will receive a ticket book, much like those from professional teams, with individual tickets for each game. The book will have a glossy cover, bracket and other tournament information.

General admission tournament passes are $35 for adults, $25 for students (ages 6-21) and senior citizens (65-older).

Those tickets will be distributed to 150 outlets across the Western Slope next week: Alpine Banks, City Market stores, B&H Sports, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and the JUCO office at Home Loan on 4th Street and Rood Avenue.

Banquet tickets are $40 and available at the chamber office and the JUCO office at Home Loan.

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