Fenway Park works to clear snow before Opening Day

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The sun may have been shining at Fenway Park last week, but over 100 inches of snow fell this winter.

Snow piled to the walls of the outfield fence, dugouts buried, and getting to the field no was no easy task.

But as opening day gets closer, field preps are underway and Fenway Park head groundskeeper Dave Mellor had a one-up on mother nature to melt the monster amount of snow this year.

"We've been very pleased…we've dropped 36-40  in less than a week basically.” Dave said.

The secret to melting snow at Fenway Park? Black sand. And they used two and a half tons of it.

Using dyed black sand is nothing new.  In fact,  it has been used on golf courses and in the major leagues for many years. It's getting it on the field to be the tough part.

"My hats off to how hard these guys work.” Dave said. “One carries a 50 pound bag pour it into the shovel and just sling it…wading through waist deep snow...can't thank them enough for all the hard work."

"The black sand absorbs heat versus the white, the snow being white and reflecting the sunlight, it will absorb the sunlight… and will help melt the snow.  So even if it is sunny, 32 degrees it will do some melting. Obviously the warmer the sun is, especially this time of year, that black sand will help us. It's amazing how quickly it will knock down the snow. It's much easier on the grass than us going out there mechanically and removing it with plows and shovels," he explained.

And just in case more snow does fall, they'll be ready.

"We keep a couple pallets on site just in case we need it for ice or for some snow,” Dave said.

“You're not discounting mother nature for perhaps giving you a little more snow for the season?” FOX25 meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski asked.

"You never know," Dave said as he smiled and shook his head.

But with mild conditions and sunshine early this month, the melting process became very noticeable. But unlike most ballparks with two micro-climates, Fenway is unique and has three. One of them is in the sun, another in the shade, and also, Fenway has the Green Monster.

“It is a great friend to us in the winter," he said about the giant green wall. "That 37-foot dark green absorbs a lot of heat, so it helps melt a lot of the snow for us.”

“So you have your own snow melting machine?” Wroblewski asked.
 
“There you go. It's been great to us, so the field usually thaws out from left field to the first base dugout," Dave said. "We've made a lot of progress this week."

More thawing out will take place as the growth blankets under all that snow will soon be removed, and the field will continue to be prepped.

Soon, we'll be swapping snowballs for baseballs and the FOX25 weather team will be working alongside the Red Sox once again providing forecasts.

Dave commented on the forecasts FOX25 provided throughout the winter.

“I'll tell you, it's not easy to earn my trust and respect, and you, Kevin and Shiri have done that," he said. "I count on you guys for accurate forecasts for not only throughout the winter, but during games when talking to the umpires.”