Craig Calcaterra

The Cardinals Rally Kitten is Missing

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On Wednesday night the St. Louis Cardinals were propelled to victory via the magic of the Rally Kitten. Well, Yadier Molina‘s grand slam was the real reason they won, but the kitty which ran around the field beforehand certainly used its magical powers to will Molina’s heroics into existence. That’s just science.

Usually in these situations the animal/weird person/odd scoreboard graphic/whatever inspires a rally becomes an unofficial mascot for a team. Think the Rally Monkey or that dog the Brewers found at their spring training facility. If it’s an animal, it either gets adopted or gets featured on a baseball card or something. This will not be the case for the cat which graced Busch Stadium with its presence on Wednesday, however, because . . . the Rally Kitten has gone missing!

It seems that Lucas Hackmann, the grounds crew member who was tasked with removing the cat from the field, got scratched and bit and, eventually, just let the cat go outside the stadium. Here’s his account from yesterday’s column by Ben Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I finally get outside – and I wanted nothing to do with this cat at this point. My hand is just covered with blood. It looked pretty rough. So I got out to the Stan Musial statue, and I just set it down right there. I started to walk back in, and the cat was trying to get back in! Me and the ushers were blocking it – at this point, we didn’t think that anyone was going to want the cat. And then some ushers said, ‘Hey, you need to go to First Aid right now . . . I’ve got First Aid people dealing with me, telling me I need to go to the hospital. And I’ve got my boss calling me – ‘What did you do with the cat? Matheny wants it!’ And I said, ‘Oh that’s not good – I set it outside!’

Not gonna judge, friend — cats aren’t always user-friendly — but as a relative expert in cat matters, allow me to suggest that, next time, you grab it by the scruff of the neck and support its weight with your other hand or arm.

But wait, there’s more! The Cardinals issued this statement about the fate of the cat. It picks up here after Hackmann puts the cat down by the statue:

At that point, as our ushers tried to contain the cat, a fan grabbed it and claimed it was hers. As she left the ballpark, our security team caught up with her and asked her some questions. She then abruptly left with the cat. We understand from media accounts that the woman intended to take it home and care for it, but lost track of it in City Gardens.

The Cardinals say they’re working on a new protocol for their grounds crew the next time an animal gets on the field. I humbly volunteer my services if the animal is a cat.

UPDATE: The Rally Kitten may have been found!

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.