Well, it's happened. Soccer finally has taken over the heart of the United States. The rest of the world's favourite sport is coming to Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Thursday and it is flattening the pitcher's mound in order to make it happen.
With the host baseball team having vacated the stadium on a road trip, Manchester City and Chelsea of the English Premiere League move in to play a "friendly" (exhibition) on the same field where David Freese won a car for leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series championship in 2011.
EPL's season ended Sunday, with Man City and Chelsea taking second and third, respectively, in league play. So these are two of the best teams in the world, a good matchup for the first soccer game of any sort in Busch Stadium III history.
But, as fans of soccer would tell you, big mounds of dirt and clay on the pitch aren't conducive to a good showcase, so the pitcher's mound has to go, as does a layer of dirt elsewhere on the infield. The Cardinals tweeted a photo of work being done to that end Monday. Of course, they'll put the mound back in time for the Cardinals' return (right? RIGHT?). Hey, the crew in St. Louis used to be expert at knocking down the pitcher's mound at Busch Stadium II for the St. Louis Football Cardinals. The mound always went back up, did it not?
But the rest of the field's condition will depend on the weather. It's supposed to rain a lot before Thursday which, MLB.com reports, could lead to more divots being left behind. That worries some fans:
Prediction: Carlos Beltran twists knee in first game back to Busch Stadium; every soccer ball in St. Louis is summoned for obliteration.
— Matt Sebek (@MattSebek) May 20, 2013
One other note about the ground's crew, from MLB.com:
They mean Moline, Ill. "Molina" — they have Yadier on the brain.
- Sports & Recreation
- David Freese