Field of Dreams
Greg Johnson’s baseball field, which he built out in the middle of nowhere, is just like a city baseball field. It has dugouts, back stops, an outfield fence, a pitching rubber 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate.
It has the greenest grass in the county because Johnson got it from his own place, Bigfoot Turf. The players on this field of dreams aren’t former major leaguers who materialize out of a cornfield; they’re high school students who come on Sundays to play the game they love. To get to the field, take Weld County Road 49 south to the turf farm, then follow the dirt road around the gasoline tanks, past the fields of turf, past the stacks of wooden pallets, and there it is, big and green and all-American. It was Johnson’s dream, and – to make it even better – the field was badly needed for the fall season wooden bat baseball league. According to Johnson, they play “pure baseball, with no aluminum bats.” More than two years ago, when Greg and Sheree Johnson and their children moved to the farm from Glenwood Springs, Greg vowed, “I’m going to build a baseball field. “So when the irrigation lake needed expanding, and they brought in a huge earth scraper, Greg used it on the days it was shut down and leveled his baseball field with the gigantic machine.
In a little more than two days, he moved 5,000 cubic yards of dirt. A gas company donated the pipe for the backstop poles, and Greg talked to the baseball experts at Coors Field in Denver about the sprinklers and layout. He uses the same watering system as the major league field. He brought in four tons of clay for the pitcher’s mound and batter’s box and installed 100,000 square feet of Bigfoot sod. It took him five weeks, but Greg did almost all of the work himself, to provide the baseball field for the kids. His son, Andy, is a junior at University High, and is “really into baseball,” Greg said. He’s on a fall wooden bat team with players from University, Greeley Central, Valley and Platte Valley. They play Denver teams, who travel the long distance because they want a high-quality field to play on. With only wooden bats allowed, the players can’t hit the ball as far, “and they break a few bats, which is something most of them have never done,” Greg said. They expect it will improve their hitting when they return to high school ball and use the aluminum bats again. Greg’s field of dreams not only fulfills his dream, but those of the boys. Sheree Johnson kids her husband about his “hobby,” and wants him to make one more improvement. “She’d like some corn planted in the outfield, just like in the movie,” Greg said. “I guess we’ll do that next year.”
– Greeley Tribune
Our 35th Anniversary video story
“Like” us on Facebook!