Orioles grounds crew

Nick Fenwick, who joined the Orioles grounds crew last year while still a student at Lansdowne High School, helps clear the field after batting practice before the Orioles' Aug. 10 game against the Chicago White Sox. (Staff photo by Brian Krista, Patuxent Publishing / August 10, 2011)

The Baltimore Orioles may have lost more games (35) than they've won (29) when playing before the home fans at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this season.

But that lack of success, especially compared with the team's 17-37 record away from home this season, hasn't diminished the enthusiasm four young workers have for their jobs at the ballpark this summer.

Catonsville residents Brian Desrosiers, Montray McCray and Gregory Wright and Lansdowne resident Nicholas Fenwick remain devoted Orioles fans, especially since they get to watch nearly every home game without having to buy a ticket.

"I just love being at Camden Yards. I have always liked the Orioles," said Brian, 16, a student at Mount Saint Joseph High School in his second season on the tarp crew at Oriole Park. "It's kind of awesome because you basically get paid to watch the Orioles play."

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"I was an Orioles fan and (am) just as much now," said Wright, 19, a Catonsville High graduate and veteran of five seasons. "When people ask me what I do when I go to work, I just tell them I go and watch baseball."

"Before this job, to tell the truth, I never watched baseball," said McCray, 17, a Woodlawn High graduate now a student at Bowie State University. "I've grown to like it a lot since I've been here last year. I'm starting to learn the game more."

Fenwick, 19, a student at the Community College of Baltimore County, admitted he is not as interested in baseball as when he was younger and has even stopped playing the game.

Still, the second-year veteran loves his summer job, even if he has had to work through rain falling so hard that it nearly floods the dugouts.

"It seemed like, for me, it would be a once in a lifetime chance to get an offer to work here," Fenwick said about why he applied for the position while a student at Lansdowne High School. "I will continue this job every summer."

After an interview, the job was his.

"They all have their different personalities, but they really do bring the entire crew together," Nicole Sherry said about the leadership of the four. "They bring a lot of life to the tarp crew."

Sherry has been the Orioles' head groundskeeper for five seasons.

Wright said their duties aren't limited to unrolling the 28,900-square-foot tarp that weighs more than a ton.

During the 2009 season, before Desrosiers, Fenwick and McCray joined the crew, Wright participated in many of the 81 tarp pulls at Oriole Park, according to Sherry.

The Orioles play 81 home games each year, Sherry noted, and while many games don't require the field being covered, there have been occasions when the crew has had to do multiple pulls during a games.

This season, Sherry said the rain and wind have tested her 18-person crew, nearly half of whom are new this season.

Going into last weekend's contest, they have had to pull the tarp about three dozen times.

Typically, the crew will unroll the tarp during a game only about 20 times each season, Wright said.

But there many other duties that have to be taken care of, such as dragging the infield to make it smooth, taking down batting practice equipment and running simple errands for the players, like fetching water for the bullpen.

"The list of things is endless that we do," said Wright, a student atTowson University.