The Menace in St, Louis

Cardinals to squirrel: you’re going down

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The Cardinals have brought out the big guns at Busch Stadium.

No, not Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Chris Carpenter. They’re all in Philadelphia for Friday’s Game 5.

We’re talking peanut butter, gated traps and underground mines in the outfield.

Faced with a public safety crisis after a squirrel ran across the field during Wednesday’s Game 4, Cardinals groundskeeper will do whatever it takes to keep the residents of St. Louis safe.

And that means keeping people out of Busch Stadium for the moment.

Apparently the crowd fired him up,” head groundskeeper Bill Findley told ESPN.com.

To this point, the squirrel has eluded all seven of Findley’s traps. That hardly has him down, though. Findley and his assistant have been monitoring the squirrel’s behavior in an attempt to better understand what’s driving it. Earlier this week, they caught it burying a peanut in the outfield:

“He dug out the sand,” Findley said, “put the peanut in and actually took the grass clippings and covered it back up.”

So, fear not. With Findley on the case, the good residents of Missouri can expect a breakthrough in the coming days.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.