1. The still unfinished saga of the St. Louis Rally Cat illustrates nicely how the most innocent-seeming events can spin out of control when the participants don’t heed their ethics alarms, or lack the instruction manual to operate them competently. As an aside, this baseball season has yielded a bumper crop of ethics controversies, the most I have ever seen, and it is far from over. In general, Major League Baseball’s participants, including its sportswriters, are not very good at ethics, and the simple-minded virtue-signaling in the Tom Yawkey controversy is a recent, and embarrassing example. As an aside to an aside, I used to provide baseball ethics commentary at little or no cost to a well-regarded stat-head website, until they made it clear that they neither appreciated the importance of ethics in the sport, nor were capable of practicing it. Too bad. Baseball ethics is a lot more valuable than knowing the exit velocity and launch angle of a home run.
But I digress. The Rally Cat…and let’s count the ethics breaches:
Last week, the St. Louis Cardinals, fighting to overtake the Cubs in the closely contested and mediocre National League Central, were trying to rally back from looming defeat. The bases were loaded with Cardinals at Busch Stadium when a juvenile cat raced onto the field and halted play. A groundskeeper captured the cat, which mauled him as he carried it off the field. This was shown on the video scoreboard, provoking laughter and applause from the crowd.
As soon as play finally resumed, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina hit a grand slam, and the Cardinals won as a result. Baseball players are superstitious, as the game is an orgy of moral luck, and such incidents typically create unlikely and illogical totems. In Los Angeles, there is a video of a monkey going nuts, the Angels’ “Rally Monkey.” In Boston, it is the old Neil Diamond ear-worm “Sweet Caroline.” Last year, the Kansas City Royals had a good luck praying mantis-–I’m not making this up—dubbed “The Rally Mantis.” Back in the politically incorrect Twenties, the New York Giants had a mentally-challenged man travel with club as a mascot, because the team won the day he arrived and told Manager John McGraw that he was a great pitcher. For laughs, McGraw told the poor man that he was starting the game, and he actually warmed up on the sidelines as the players guffawed. He didn’t pitch, but the Giants won, so McGraw had him warm up before every game, as the team went on a winning streak.
So, naturally, the St. Louis cat was given the name Rally Cat, and responsibility for the Cardinal’s fate this season was placed squarely on its fluffy shoulders.
Now came the ethics botches:
Ethics breach #1. Lucas Hackmann, the cat-grabbing groundskeeper, let go of the feline talisman to get his bites attended to. Foul. He works for a baseball club; he is obligated to be aware of the culture he serves. He had to know, or should have known, that the cat would be a media star, and that the team, if it won the game, would want to employ him, or her. It. He also should know that cats do not stay, like dogs. The cat ran away, endangering the Cardinals’ season/
Ethics breach #2. The Rally Cat was picked up by a fan, Korie Harris, and she left the park with it. Cardinals security questioned her, and she said it was her cat. Again, Incompetence. The cat now had potential value to the security personnel’s employers. Why did a fan have a cat? You can’t bring a cat into the ballpark.
Ethics breach #3 Of course, it wasn’t her cat. She was lying. Dishonesty.
Ethics breach #4, 5, 6 and 7. Then Lying Korie (I bet that’s what the President calls her) also lost the cat. Some animal lover she is. If she was going to take custody of the animal, she had accepted responsibility for its welfare. She could have adopted it. She could have advertised to find its owner. She could have returned it to the Cardinals. She could have given it to a shelter—anyone but PETA, which would have probably killed it. No, she just let it go. Feral cats live a fraction of the average life of a house cat. Four fouls: Lack of responsibility, incompetence, dishonesty, and lack of caring.
Ethics breach #8 The Cardinals released a statement hoping that the cat would be found so the team could “properly care for it.” Right. A traveling baseball team is the perfect place for a cat. The Kansas City Royals killed the Rally Mantis, and quietly replaced him, thinking nobody, including the Baseball Gods, would notice. Ha! They missed the play-offs.
Again, this is dishonesty. The Cardinals don’t care about cats; if the team did, it would be donating money to animal shelters. It cares about good luck charms that can be used to promote the team..
2. That took longer than I expected. I assume you are sufficiently warmed up, though.
Here’s Lucas and the Rally Cat:
Pointer and Facts: New York Times
13 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-up: 8/19/17—-The St. Louis Rally Cat Edition”
“You can’t bring a cat into the ballpark.”
Just think, had Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis billed Murphy as a “Rally Goat,” they BOTH would have been allowed into the 1945 WS Game 4.
The result? No curse, history would have been forced to take a FAR different trajectory, & they’d have had to figure out another explanation why the Cubbies sucked so bad for so long.
Possibly because they played in the same town as the hapless Bi-Polar (phtooey!) bears?
“at little of no coats”
Did you mean that to be “at little or no cost”?
“little of no coats” is a phrase that was common in the 1890’s, based on a quip by humorist Sadie West (1865- 1909), commenting on the health fad known as Exposurism,” which held that outer clothing was unhealthy, causing the body’s natural heat and energy to turn on itself. West satirically asked how one of the no-coaters, as they were sometimes called, could cool themselves when they were over-heated, and called for varying degrees on “no coats.”
All right, it was a typo…
My first thought:
You have got to be kidding me.
My second thought:
Superstition has done no favors for cats.
Nor has curiosity…
How typical of the Cardinals…
Now, let’s look at the Milwaukee Brewers, and the story of “Hank”… now that’s a much better team and organization…
Maybe this is the real rightful owner:
“Last week, the St. Louis Cardinals, fighting to overtake the Cubs in the closely contested and mediocre National League East, were trying to rally back from looming defeat.”
As a St. Louisan, you mean the National League (Comedy) Central, right?
Ugh. You know I do. My current hometown Nationals lead the even more mediocre National League East. Thanks. Fixed.
Minor sharp force trauma to the upper extremities. (sorry, been watching CSI reruns. They have clam shell phones!)
The cat was manhandled, with assorted indignities committed to its pride.
I think the average cat exists under the notion that at any given point in time it is suffering assorted indignities committed to its pride.
Agreed. I have a cat that was raised around dogs and thinks she is a dog, not having another cat to model on. She still has far more offended pride than the dogs. Must be in the gene code.