Quad City River Bandits head groundskeeper nationally recognized for artistic skills

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DAVENPORT - Some would say he's the star of the game, but he's not wearing a jersey.  The action starts way before the players take the field.

"When my sister was in high school her softball coach had me out there on a cub cadet tractor training the end field probably the age of 10," said Andrew Marking.

Ever since then Marking knew he wanted to be one the taking care of athletics fields. He got a degree in turf science and was hired as the head groundskeeper for the Quad City River Bandits more than a year and a half ago.

"It`s a hard job and thankfully we got one of the best ones in the game," said Andrew Chesser, General Manager.

Making the field look as good as it does take a lot of time, "I would say a slow week would be at least 70 when the teams here I`m pushing probably 120 hours," said Marking.

He decided to take his dedication to a whole new level by showing off his artistic skills. Marking won the Sports Turf Managers Association mowing pattern contest with his stars and stripes design.

“We just had a little star pattern in the infield that we put in with our walk behind mower and then the outfield we did what's called a diamond cut on either side and then a flag in the middle," said Marking.

However, after a long day of work, Marking says he likes to look at the field before the first pitch is thrown, "The fields are lined with the chalk and it's dragged. It's watered and it just looks pristine. That`s where I kind of sit back and I can get that instant gratification for all the hard work that I`ve put in for the day."

Marking says that's the real home run.