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'Rally Cat' Goes Viral After Baseball Game

Lucas Hackmann, a member of the Busch Stadium grounds crew, removes a cat that ran onto the field during the sixth inning of a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff R
'Rally Cat' Goes Viral After Baseball Game
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This is What’s Trending Today….

The Saint Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals each have fewer than 50 games to play this season. Both teams hope to win enough games to play for the championship of North American baseball later in the year.

The Cardinals and Royals have a long-standing rivalry. It is sometimes called the “Show-Me Series.” That is because both teams play their home games in the American state of Missouri, known as the “Show-Me State.”

This week, the Cardinals and Royals have been playing against each other in a series of games. But it is not the usual “Show-Me Series” rivalry that people are talking about. Instead, they are talking about a new battle that took place during the game Wednesday night.

The battle was between a member of the Cardinals’ field crew and a cat.

Twenty-year-old Lucas Hackmann is a college student. He works at the Cardinals’ Busch Stadium in St. Louis. On Wednesday night, he and other crew members discovered a small, gray cat running around on the field in the middle of the game.

It was in the sixth inning. The Royals were leading the Cardinals 5 to 4. The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina was at bat, and the bases were loaded. But before Molina could swing at the ball, the cat ran onto the field. It walked up to Royals’ Lorenzo Cain in the outfield. The player looked down and smiled at the small creature.

Lucas Hackmann quickly ran onto the field to remove the animal so that the game could continue. The cat tried to escape, but Hackmann was able to catch it.

However, the cat was not happy.

It began to attack the man, cutting into the skin, and biting his hands and fingers. Hackmann appeared to be in pain, but continued to hold onto the cat. The crowd laughed and cheered.

One television announcer said, “You’ve got to hold them [cats] by the back of the neck, just like the momma does!”

Hackmann and the cat did make it off the field together. And the game continued.

The Royals’ pitcher then threw the ball to Molina. He hit it into deep left field. The ball landed in the crowd. It was a home run. Because the bases were loaded, the Cardinals scored four runs.

Suddenly, the Royals were losing 8 to 5. When the game ended, St. Louis had won.

People who follow the Cards have nicknamed the animal “Rally Cat.” A “rally” is when a player or team that has been playing poorly begins to play well.

The hashtag #RallyCat soon became a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.

Hackmann -- a big Cards fan himself -- did not have a good night. He had to go to the hospital because of the injuries he suffered.

Thursday morning, Hackmann told a St. Louis radio station that he has never owned a cat. He did not expect the cat to bite him, he said, “but obviously, I was being kind of dumb there.”

Rally Cat is not the only one getting attention on social media. Hackmann's Twitter account has “blown up” and “doubled in followers.”

Hackmann said he does not know what happened to the Rally Cat after he carried it off the field, but, in his words, “hopefully we’ll be reunited soon.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today….

I’m Anna Matteo.

Ashley Thompson wrote this report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

rivalry - n. a state or situation in which people or groups are competing with each other

inning - n. ​ one of the usually nine parts of a game in which each team bats until three outs are made​

bases - n. ​any one of the four places a runner must touch in order to score​

pitcher - n. the player who throws the ball to the batter in baseball

nickname - v. to give (someone) a name that is not that person's real name

dumb - adj. not showing or having good judgment or intelligence

home run - n. a hit that allows the batter to go around all the bases and score a run