Baseball season may have gone up in flames

Aug. 1, 2010 at 7:17 PM
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ST. ALBERT, Alberta, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Setting fire to a Canadian town's rain-soaked baseball field to dry it out faster seemed like a good idea at the time but now teams are banned from using it.

Gerry Peterson said his ground crew spread diesel fuel on the ball field in St. Albert, Alberta, and ignited it last week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.

"What usually takes a day, day and a half for Mother Nature to take care of, we did in half an hour," Peterson said.

"If I thought for a second it was hurting a kid, I never would have done it."

Baseball Coach Kurtis Millar told the CBC it's a tactic he says has been used on many baseball fields.

"I've definitely played in every province in Canada and seen the trick used," Millar said.

But officials who learned about the drying method ordered testing that showed the pitcher's mound had been contaminated with fuel. The field was shut down as an environmental risk and many not be available again this season, the CBC reported Sunday.

"I wouldn't say it was an over-reaction," city spokesman Chris Jardine said. "I would say it was an appropriate reaction to ensure for public safety."

The local baseball association will have to pay for the clean-up.

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