With the St. Louis Cardinals officially postseason bound, the team's playing field should ideally be in tip-top shape as the October drama begins. The grounds crew at Busch Stadium will have their work cut out for them, however, as a college football game played there on Saturday did quite a number on the turf.
Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri met on the makeshift gridiron to do battle in Busch's first-ever college football game, and according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss, when all was said and done the field was littered with bare spots and loose grass and "looked as though it had staged a cattle drive followed by a rodeo capped by a monster truck pull." Yikes.
The football area was positioned in the grassy expanse of the outfield, a fact not lost on Cardinals players gearing up for a postseason run.
“It’s something you think about — the condition of the field, how it’s going to play and what a football game would do to that," outfielder Matt Holliday said. "And you think about at this point of the season, being in a pennant chase and the timing of it. You don’t want anything to keep the field from being at its best.”
Busch has hosted other non-baseball events such as U2 and Dave Matthews Band concerts, but the grounds crew normally has a four-day time frame to restore the bluegrass field. The Cards will be back in action in St. Louis tomorrow for their last regular-season home stand, giving head groundskeeper Billy Findley half that time to make sure it's fit to play on.
Team president Bill DeWitt is confident in Findley's abilities, saying, "We feel good about how it will perform on Monday.”