CINCINNATI - Stadium crews will be working around the clock this week to prepare Great American Ball Park for its first on-field concert. Sir Paul McCartney will be taking the stage Thursday night.
Sunday evening, head groundskeeper Doug Gallant was already out with a six-man crew adding some sod on the pitcher's mound. He says his crews will be treating the grass with an anti-mold formula before covering it with teraplast, a hard plastic material.
Gallant says he treats the field like one of his own children, and knowing that 8,000 screaming fans will be stomping all over it has him a little nervous.
"The field already is suffering, so there's a lot more anxiety," Gallant said. "If it was April or May and the grass is growing an inch or two a day, we would grow right back out of this. But now we haven't mowed in five days, and it's still not growing."
Gallant's crews are part of the 120 people that will be working throughout the week to clean out locker rooms, set concert stairs, build a stage and make security preparations.
Vice president of stadium operations Declan Mullin says it's a busy time but also an exciting time.
"It's great for the city, Mullin said. "It's great for the ball park. It's great to showcase the facility."
At 4 a.m. Monday, the entire complex will be handed over to McCartney's concert promoter AEG Live. Its crews will begin setting up the 80-ft. stage in center field as well as installing lights, speakers and monitors.
Mullin expects about 40,000 fans to attend the concert, and as soon as it's over he says the real test is getting everything ready for the Reds' Monday night game against the Rockies.
"Get all the chairs off the field, get the teraplast up, get the steel out, get the stage out, get the field recovered; 7:10 on Monday night, play ball," Mullin said.
McCartney's show will be his last of his On the Run tour, and Mullin says Great American Ball Park is one of only four stadiums that McCartney agreed to play at.