Chasing balls?

Generally when somebody runs onto the field at a sporting event, the TV cameras turn away. Logical: The broadcasters’ have no desire to risk an FCC fine by showing naughty bits if the intruder turns out to be a streaker. Even if the runner keeps his or her clothes on, though, letting them have their time on TV will only encourage others to follow suit.

But last Sunday there was an interloper on the field at a minor-league baseball game between the Hillsboro Hops and the Everett AquaSox. Despite the fact that she wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing, the cameras stayed on her until she was captured and carried off the field.

Double standard? Oh, yes. Everyone loves a cat on the field.

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This isn’t the first time a cat has interrupted a baseball game; far from it, in fact. Famously, a cat on the field at Shea Stadium helped (in the eyes of the superstitious) the Mets beat the Cubs, paving the way to the World Series victory that capped the Mets’ miracle season of 1969. Shea Stadium was home to a colony of feral cats for many years, in fact. Washington Nationals first baseman Robert Fick, perhaps influenced by the fact that he was originally drafted by the Tigers, adopted a kitten he found at Shea.

In 2009, the Cubs were also involved in a more controversial “cat on the field” event when a groundskeeper picked up a feline interloper by the tail and hauled him off the field.

The most recent feline appearance on a diamond I can find reference to before last weekend was at a 2011 Florida Marlins game against (surprise!) the Mets.

Anyway, kudos to the Hillsboro players for being more sensible about cat-grabbing than the Cubs’ groundskeepers, but one hopes they’re better at fielding balls than they are at fielding cats.

(322 words)

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