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McKenna joins grounds crew for ‘MLB at Field of Dreams’ game

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2021 at 3:58 PM CDT
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DYERSVILLE, Iowa -- Texas A&M Athletics field manager Nick McKenna has been bestowed the honor of serving on the grounds crew for Thursday’s ‘MLB at Field of Dreams’ game. The game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees will be contested at a playing facility built in the cornfields 500 feet from the field used in the movie ‘Field of Dreams.’

It will be the first Major League Baseball game played in Iowa. “As someone that was born and raised in Iowa and has a background in baseball field maintenance, the Field of Dreams has always carried a certain amount of nostalgia for me,” McKenna said.

“I am extremely excited for this opportunity to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event by helping with field preparation for the first Major League Baseball game hosted at the iconic Field of Dreams site!” In a fitting manner, the opportunity to work the event was made possible through a connection he made 15 years ago with the help of the late legendary Texas A&M Athletic field manager Leo Goertz. “I have been collaborating on a project with Murray Cook, who serves as a Field and Facility Advisor & International Venue Manager for Major League Baseball,” McKenna said. “He has provided management services for MLB events over the last 30 years and I met him through our mutual friend Leo.

I was on a call with Murray a few months ago and the topic of the Field of Dreams MLB game came up. His company was responsible for building the field. When he found out my hometown was so close to the site (60 miles) and knowing my extensive work with baseball he said, ‘you should come work the game with us.’ He got me cleared through MLB and now I get to go work a really special event.” A star in the field maintenance world, McKenna serves as President of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) for 2021. In the role, he represents nearly 2,700 members, strengthening the community of STMA members and ensures members have the resources and support to maintain the safest playing surfaces.

He acted as STMA Secretary and Treasurer in 2019 and served on the STMA Board of Directors in 2016. He has worked as a treasurer of the Texas Sports Managers Association since 2016 and has a past stint as the organization’s president. The Vinton, Iowa, native enters his 14th year with Texas A&M, currently in the 11th year of his second stint.

McKenna has served as the Athletics Fields Foreman and Olsen Field Groundskeeper since 2011. Prior to returning to Bryan-College Station, McKenna spent four years on the grounds crew at Virginia Tech from 2006-2010. McKenna graduated from Iowa State University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture with a turf management focus.

He served as a student worker in the athletic department during his time Ames. Upon graduating, he gained employment as an athletics groundskeeper at Texas A&M from 2003-05.