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!

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.