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.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves