Keeping Four Winds Field clean

Published 9:08 am Friday, March 22, 2019

SOUTH BEND — As the 2019 South Bend Cubs players are preparing for the regular season in Arizona, the Four Winds Field Stadium operations crew is doing the same in downtown South Bend by getting the ballpark ready for the All-Star summer.

A large part of the preparation is maintaining the cleanliness of the grounds and facilities that fans will enjoy all year long.

The in-depth cleaning done at the ballpark in the last month has been done to ensure that all dirt and grime that has built up over the winter is removed. Crews are out each day to ensure that the stadium is spotless upon the season getting started. 

Team owner Andrew Berlin and the front office say that Four Winds Field is home to the cleanest bathrooms in Minor League Baseball. Thanks to the hard work of the operations and cleaning crews, that goal is attained on a nightly basis.

On a typical game day, stadium operations assistant Brandon Dunnam will get to Four Winds Field around 10 a.m. The day usually runs through 1:30 a.m. after all stadium cleaning is finished. Dunnam, who has also worked with the Tennessee Smokies, said the estimate of cleaning the ballpark at night after the game ends is a four-hour process.

When Dunnam and assistant general manager of operations Peter Argueta arrive each morning, they supervise multiple crews who are responsible for the day-of cleaning aspects.

The biggest job each morning for the crew is power washing the Four Winds Field concourse. This is done diligently and slowly to ensure that any debris from the previous night is gone.

Some minor league ballparks power wash their stadiums once a week or even once a month. The South Bend Cubs do this every single day.

Each group comes in at a designated time, whether it is the morning or afternoon. Not only are the crews around prior to the game, a separate group of 10 to 12 workers are responsible for in-game cleaning.

The in-game aspect gives Argueta and Dunnam the responsibility of being on-call over the radios along with their groups of workers. When there is a request, or if something is broken, such as an overflowing toilet, they get on the job immediately.

The full process of keeping Four Winds Field beautiful and spotless for every game begins immediately after the final pitch is thrown. Argueta, who has been with the team for 13 years, has crafted the post-game clean into a routine.

The South Bend Cubs cleaning crew will first go through the concourse and sweep through all the trash before beginning to wipe down surfaces.

This first step is followed by using leaf blowers to gust any trash and debris from the concourse to the first row of the seating bowl. After this is complete, Argueta and Dunnam’s crew then use a vacuum-like device to scoop up everything in the row.

When the seating bowl is done, the crew moves on to sprucing up the bathrooms and suites. For the bathroom cleaners, Dunnam makes sure that each worker is given a step-by-step guide as to what specifics go into making each restroom spotless.

This document features instructions for each cleaning duty around the ballpark.

On top of the checklist, each worker is shown a three-minute instructional video at the start of each year on how to clean the toilets properly at the standards of the Operations Crew. Both the instructional sheet and video ensure that the Four Winds Field toilets are consistently clean 100 percent of the time. Because each worker is provided the same training, guests can always count on the job being done thoroughly and properly each time no matter who is doing the cleaning.

During each afternoon prior to gates opening, Argueta and Dunnam will each take the eight-step checklist and go around the facility one final time to make sure every section is completely perfect to the team’s standards. When they give the approval, South Bend Cubs fans can then come in and enjoy the ambiance that Four Winds Field has to offer.

It is the work of Argueta and Dunnam, along with the extremely detailed help of each game day cleaner, that makes Four Winds Field look its best every night.