Cardinals stuck in custody battle as Rally Cat lawyers up

The St. Louis Cardinals’ attempts to reunite with Rally Cat have taken another unpredictable turn. Rally Cat now has a lawyer.

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The St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach (SLFCO) has hired lawyer Albert Watkins to represent everyone’s favorite baseball feline, according to Riverfront Times. The two sides are now engaged in an all-out custody battle, and it’s not going to end well for the Cardinals if Watkins gets his way.

“While [Rally Cat] will always be a Redbirds fan, he has to think about his future as well,” Watkins says. “His working days in the playing fields of Busch Stadium appear to be over. … Much like any custody battle for children the world over, what’s important here is what’s in the best interests of the health and welfare of the cat.”

The Cardinals have expressed a desire to adopt the cat, but it no longer looks like that’s going to happen based on Watkins’ remarks.

It’s the latest turn in what has become a bizarre story. The whole thing started after the cat ran out on the field at Busch Stadium during an August game. The Cardinals were trailing 5-4 at the time of Rally Cat’s appearance. Moments later, Yadier Molina hit a go-ahead grand slam, and the legend of Rally Cat was born.

Things got weird almost immediately. The following day, the team released a strange statement saying it lost the cat. It was eventually found by the SLFCO, and it looked like Rally Cat would eventually return to the Cardinals.

Except that turned out to be false. Cardinals vice president of communications Ron Watermon sent out a statement referring to Rally Cat as “our cat,” inferring the Cardinals owned him. The SLFCO viewed this as a cheap PR tactic, and blasted Watermon in a message on the organization’s Facebook page, in which the accused him of using “bullying tactics.”

Rally Cat has caused far more problems than the Cardinals anticipated. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Despite all that, there still remained a chance Rally Cat would return to the Cardinals in some capacity. The team was planning to hold a night dedicated to the animal in September.

Then, Tuesday happened. The organization had a phone call with Cardinals president Bill Dewitt III to discuss the situation. Instead of talking about Rally Cat, Dewitt reportedly focused on the shelter’s statement criticizing Watermon.

Watkins called the conversation “troubling,” and added that the team and the SLFCO are at odds over what is best for Rally Cat at this time.

Watkins also took a shot at the Cardinals for trying to exploit Rally Cat.

The SLFCO is aware of the ability and desire of the Redbirds to commercially exploit Rally Cat. However, commercial exploitation simply must take a back seat to that which is right for this four legged furry creature.

… At this point in the season, it appears there are other clumps in the kitty litter box which might better be addressed by any major league team.

Yikes! That’s harsh.

After Thursday, you might be inclined to think New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers is the hottest rivalry in the game, but you’re wrong.

The Cardinals vs. Rally Cat has ascended to another level. We probably should have seen it coming considering how well cats and birds get along.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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