What's up with the infield at the Clinton Lake Softball Complex?
Ground balls have been taking funny hops. It's slippery running the bases. And somebody could get hurt falling on what feels like concrete.
Journal-World readers raised those points during an online chat Thursday with Fred DeVictor, the city's Parks and Recreation Department director.
The answer: The infields have been treated with a new material to help them dry after it rains, DeVictor said.
"This year we have placed ag lime on these infields to assist us in maintenance and to reduce rainouts, which has been a major problem to us and league teams," DeVictor wrote during an online chat on the Journal-World's Web site.
"We want to provide the safest field conditions possible, and part of our regular maintenance is the need to water these fields in a more timely manner daily to keep them from drying out completely and hardening.
"We have discussed this among our staff to make sure they are in good condition, and I trust they will be a great improvement for league play."
During an interview after the chat, DeVictor said that in past years, parks and rec leagues have had "literally hundreds and hundreds of rainouts."
The new ag lime surface is designed to dry much more quickly than past infield surfaces, he said.
However, "we need to make sure that we work that material and make sure it doesn't harden and water it down and work it in and so forth."
He said fields will be much better in the summer when part-time staffers are working the fields more often.
"We don't want them to harden at all. We want to make them a good, playable, safe surface," he said.
During the chat, DeVictor also discussed this Saturday's opening of the Outdoor Aquatic Center and several other topics.
You can read the chat transcript, see video clips of a post-chat interview and make your own online comments at www2.ljworld.com/news/chats/newsmakers/.