Busch Stadium to transform into soccer field

ST. LOUIS -- Following Sunday's game, the Cardinals' grounds crew will begin the process of converting a baseball diamond into a soccer field for Thursday's international exhibition game between Manchester City and Chelsea.

The conversion, head groundskeeper Bill Findley said, will begin almost immediately. The mound will have to be removed, as will a layer of all the dirt in the infield and around home plate. A plastic covering will be placed on the remaining dirt to protect it from moisture, before sod is laid on top. A company from Molina, Ill., will be assisting the Cardinals' grounds crew team with the work.

Findley estimated that it will take two-to-three days after Thursday's game -- the first soccer game ever played at Busch Stadium III -- to return the field to normal conditions.

The biggest variable in this entire process is the weather. Rain is in the forecast for each of the next three days, which could affect the amount of time the grounds crew has to work. A soggy field would also likely increase the number of divots left behind by the players.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.