Interesting Income: The wild world of summer work

Interesting Income: Keeping the Mudcats’ field

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJuly 1, 2014 

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    This summer, Eastern Wake News is taking on a special summer assignment, documenting one of the rites of passage for many teenagers: the summer job.

    Maybe you’re baking cakes or working in a daycare center. Maybe you’re a special assistant to a high-powered CEO.

    And for the post-teenage crowd, we want to know what you learned from those jobs that were unlike your peers’ tenure at the local fast food joint or farm.

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    We’ll feature one summer job a week through Labor Day and need your help finding some of those jobs that are off the beaten path. Email editor Johnny Whitfield at or staff writer Mechelle Hankerson at

— A few years ago, Paschal Ammons and his friends would spend three or four evenings a week at Five County Stadium, watching the Mudcats play.

Now, Ammons spends about twice as many days at the ball field early in the morning prepping the field for games.

“(My job is to) just to keep (the field) up and running and looking nice for the players so they always have somewhere nice to play,” Ammons said.

He mows, edges and cleans up trash from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m. every day there is a home game.

Ammons said he takes his tasks seriously since he knows the importance of a well-kept field after spending four years as a baseball player at East Wake High School.

Ammons landed the gig with the Mudcats through his dad, who knows Joe Kramer, the general manager of the franchise. Ammons’ dad also helped with East Wake’s team, encouraging the players to keep their field nice after games.

It’s a skill that Ammons is glad his dad emphasized. It not only got him a summer job, but it’s given him options for when he goes to school at Barton College in Wilson.

“The experience is good to have,” Ammons said. “Learning how to do that is a good skill to know if you ever need something to fall back on.”

He said he wants to play baseball at Barton and ideally, could find a work study position helping with the field.

And although the job aligns closely with Ammons’ interests, it’s not always easy to hold a position that requires strictly outdoor work in the middle of the summer.

“If you love being outdoors and working outside, especially if you love baseball, it’s always fun to look at the work you’ve done and know you’ve done a good job,” he said. “A con is that it’s hot as fire out there all day and you don’t get many breaks.”

To keep hydrated, Ammons said he drinks plenty of water and will sometimes visit the concessions stands. He said sweating all day is normal and there isn’t really a way around it. There isn’t any shade on the field and wind doesn’t make it down there either.

Ammons is adequately compensated for his work. In addition to pay, he gets to watch games on the fields he meticulously keeps. And while he enjoys the game, it’s a little more special knowing he contributed to it.

“I just like taking a step back and looking at how pretty it looks and knowing you made something look good for someone else,” Ammons said.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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