Rain-soaked spring leaves Toronto's rec fields and diamonds too drenched to play on

Walking along the damp muddy grass in Riverdale Park, Rolston Miller describes the sound the ground is making as "the squishy marshmallow".

The four baseball diamonds on the park's west side are closed because the outfields are too wet to play on. 

"We've had to reschedule hundreds of games this month alone," said Miller, co-founder of the Sport & Social Club.

The Sport & Social Club is just one of many organizations in the city that have had their sporting seasons hampered by this spring's wet weather.

Players frustrated by slow start

Amateur baseball player Piper Katzman, 15, says he's only played two of his six scheduled baseball games, the other four have been rained out.

"It's very hard to find fields that are in good enough condition to play on," said Katzman.

He's anticipating an extended season.  

"It makes it hard to get off to a good start in the season cause you don't get a lot of playing time."

Grant Linton/CBC News

Not only are soggy conditions dangerous for players, but they can also be hard on the fields themselves. Miller says the city keeps teams off wet fields to prevent long-term damage.

"You might be able to run and walk on it, but when that moisture dries you're going to be left with a lot of angulations and it's not going to be a safe or even playing surface," said Miller.  

The city has some 250 baseball diamonds. Currently there are about 20 closed due to ground conditions.

Old fields not draining properly

Grey skies aren't the only reason the fields aren't drying fast enough.

Jeff Kolyn says many of Toronto's diamonds have old drainage systems that need to be replaced. He's with the Toronto Playgrounds Baseball Association, a community-based program in Christie Pits Park.

Grant Linton/CBC News

"This diamond doesn't have the proper drainage, it needs to be resurfaced," said Kolyn, adding that he uses shovels of dirt to cover pools of water that haven't dried up.

Both Kolyn and Miller say they try to squeeze missed games in for their members wherever they can. When it doesn't work, Miller says the SSC has to find other solutions, like asking both teams to agree to a tie game.