Baltimore County Recreation & Parks
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Baltimore County Recreation & Parks Weather Policy


Field Playability Guidelines


When it rains how do we determine field playability?To play or not to play, that is the question. Field playability has always been a subjective issue and everyone seems to have a different opinion on the matter.  To insure countywide consistency in determining whether or not a field or diamond is fit for play, the Department developed these criteria.  We believe these benchmarks will make for easier and more consistent decisions while enhancing the recreation experience for our participants.

Safety First

Predicated on safety and maintenance concerns, these guidelines are a product of the efforts of program staff, maintenance personnel and volunteers. 

Athletic Fields

Under any circumstances the safety of the participants is paramount.  Strong consideration must also be given to the potential damage to the turf and the length of time required for the field to recover.

When determining field playability, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Large areas of standing water on any part of the playing field is just cause for cancellation.

  • Any attempt to remove standing water from small areas should be done by bailing or by a pump.

  • During the course of inspection, any visible  water or sound (squish) while walking is an  indication  that the field is unfit for play or practice.

  • Footprints and the collection of water around them is an indication that the field should be closed.

Ball Diamonds

No less important is our responsibility to provide a safe playable surface for baseball and softball.  While ball diamonds present a unique challenge, the approach to determining playability is similar to athletic fields.

  • Never attempt to remove water from playing fields using a broom to push the water toward a grass  area.

  • Pushing water from a dirt surface to grass creates a deeper hole causing lips that are difficult to remove and unsafe.

  • Remove standing water by the use of a pump or by bailing with a container.

  • The use of a drying agent such as Turface is permissible.  Care should be taken to apply drying agents in a light coat and to keep it out of grassed areas.

For specific information about canceled or postponed games and events in your community, you should contact your local community office.

Revised April 15, 2004


Baltimore County Recreation & Parks Directive #13  Lightning

Directive:  Upon the first sound of thunder or sighting of lightning, Department staff will direct all in attendance to immediately go to their cars or enter the building, if possible.  No one will be allow to return to the field until 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder and sighting of lightning.  Staff will have complete authority on and decisions made at our facilities.  In the absence of Department staff, volunteer coaches and officials should follow the same procedure.

Revised 11/26/04