The Cardinals are in a custody battle over the Rally Cat with a nonprofit

Ten days ago in St. Louis, the baseball world was introduced to the Rally Cat. A stray cat ran onto the field at Busch Stadium, and after being corralled by the grounds crew, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina smacked a game-winning grand slam. Just like that, the Rally Cat was part of St. Louis baseball lexicon.

Here's video of the Rally Cat and grand slam:

The Rally Cat managed to escape as the grounds crew member received treatment for scratches and bites, and eventually, the cat was picked up by the nonprofit organization St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach. The cat has been with STLFCO ever since, and the organization has received many adoption requests.

One of those requests, of course, came from the Cardinals. On Wednesday the team's vice of president of communications, Ron Watermon, told Denise Hollinshed of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the Cardinals will receive Rally Cat -- that's the cat's official name now -- from STLFCO after it finishes receiving the proper medical attention.

"The St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach organization has assured us they will be returning our cat to us after a mandatory 10-day quarantine period," said Ron Watermon, the team's vice president of communications.

...

"Rally Cat will be cared for by our team, making the Cardinals Clubhouse his home," Watermon said. "Mike and our players are looking forward to loving and caring for him."

Watermon said team owner Bill DeWitt requested a formal "welcome home" ceremony once Rally Cat is handed over to the Cardinals.

That's all well and good, but there's one problem: STLFCO didn't promise to hand the cat over to the Cardinals. The organization released a statement on Facebook on Thursday saying no agreement has been reached to return Rally Cat to the team. Here's the statement:

It was a disappointment to STLFCO and many of our friends and fans to read the Cardinal's PR Head Ron Watermon's comments to the media concerning Rally. It was a totally false statement that STLFCO has committed anything to the Cardinals. We have made no decisions about Rally's long-term placement. It seems inconsistent with "The Cardinals Way" to make such false statements.

We have neither the PR staff nor the skilled volunteers to engage in a media dialog with Mr Watermon's old-school PR tactics, so this note will be all we have to say on his position.

We had contacted Mr Watermon earlier this week and we just now got a voicemail reply from him. Our Board Member team consists of non-paid volunteers who have full time jobs outside of STLFCO. Due to our many commitments and complex schedules, we told the Cardinals we'd be delighted to meet later this month, the first time the entire group can meet with them to discuss the situation. Perhaps we can find a way to reach out to the Senior Leadership of the Cardinals (the Dewitts, Mike Whittle, etc) and meet with them, as Mr. Watermon's perceived bullying tactics shocked us.

We really want to meet with the Cardinals to discuss this opportunity for a win-win-win-WIN for Rally, the Cardinals, STLFCO, and the city of St Louis. STLFCO is a tireless advocate for all homeless cats in the region – and a great friend to many local animal welfare organizations. We truly want what is best for Rally and for every vulnerable cat in St Louis. We hope to connect with other members of Cardinal's management shortly.

Stay tuned!

Hmmm. This doesn't sound good. My guess is the two sides will work out an agreement and Rally Cat will be with the Cardinals at some point, though it sure sounds like the team tried to bully STLCO into giving them the cat first. That's not good.

This could've been a very easy and adorable Rally Cat transfer, but then one side said one thing and the other side said another.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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