“Mowers have been making patterns since 1830, when the first mowers were built,” Mellor said.
He was an assistant groundskeeper at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1993 when a concert badly damaged the grass in the outfield. With the support of the head groundskeeper Gary Vanden Berg, Mellor mowed a busy pattern to serve as camouflage. The design, not the damage, was all anyone noticed.
“I still think that was the coolest pattern he ever made,” Vanden Berg said.
Mellor found himself with a niche, and others followed. The striping side effect of mowing has been creatively rearranged into pop art. With few exceptions — one is San Francisco’s AT&T Park, where all the grass is usually mowed in a single direction to keep the slate clean and old-fashioned looking — baseball is played atop an increasingly busy backdrop.
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(image credit: J. Gunther/New York Times)