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Hustle Belt Daily Dump: ALL HAIL THE MIAMI RALLY CAT

If you like cats and baseball, yesterday was your lucky day.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins
#RallyCat patrolling the warning track in front of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and an security guard.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Hustle Belt Daily Dump, where we give you the non-MAC links you need to know as you head about your day!


I AM RALLY CAT AND YOU SHOULD TOO

If you were asleep last night or otherwise not paying attention, a grey cat somehow managed to get into Marlins Park (on National Pet Day, no less!) and turned an otherwise forgettable game between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins into a social media extravaganza.

#RallyCat, as the Miami Marlins Twitter account ended up calling him, evaded security and got curious enough about the home run sculpture to the point where authorities had to suspend operations of it for the rest of the game.

After the game was over, Marlins Park officials managed to secure the safe rescue of MEOW-cell Ozuna. But somehow, he escaped again and ran off back into the Miami night from when he came.

As a fan of cats (I used to live in a house with eight of them), the Miami home run structure and social media, this had to have easily been one of the top moments in my Twitter lifetime to follow. It’s safe to say the team had some fun with it too.

Oh and the Marlins won, of course.

So if you see Ichiro MEWzuki in Little Havana, buy him some pollo y arroz. He deserves it.


Sun Conference USA Belt? It could happen.

There’s been rumblings for awhile now that the Group of Five could be looking at various different options in regards to how to maintain its FBS relevance.

There’s plenty of options but an increasing amount of analysts and reporters are saying that one such thing could be to... get ready for it.... merge conferences.

The speculation of such a move was first reported by Harry Minium of the Virginian-Pilot, whose beat is Old Dominion football. Minium called a merger “inevitable” given the circumstances of the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses nature of FBS football and tried to cobble together what a Conference USA-Sun Belt Conference merger would look like.

The report cited Middle Tennessee athletic director Chris Massaro, who insinuated it was an option Conference USA would have to consider, with another unnamed athletic director saying the financial structure of CUSA was “unsustainable.”

The Minium model is pretty much a straight merger of the two conferences into a super-conference done in strict geographic terms, with UMass (hello, old friends!) as a football-only addition and two FCS schools in James Madison and Liberty University.

Our good friends at Underdog Dynasty also gave it a shot and placed the current 24 members of the leagues in two 12-team divisions with geography in mind. (You’ll have to scroll down to see it, but read the whole mailbag if you like G5 sports.)

Matt Brown, the bossman of SB Nation’s college football hub, was a liiiiiiiiiiittle more ambitious, splitting the 24 teams into four six-team divisions. Once again, geography played a big factor in determining placement.

Just the talk of potential mergers makes me concerned about the MAC’s position in the Group of Five and what would happen if the landscape changed enough that something like this could happen.

But that’s for another day.


Learn you some things online!

Finally, if you’re looking for a cool non-sports follow on Twitter, look no further than @MichiganHist.

I may be a little partial, having lived in Michigan for most of my adult life, but dang if it isn’t fascinating to learn about certain aspects of a state’s history, especially one with as unique a history as Michigan.

For instance: near my neck of the woods, people used to golf in full golf regalia in the middle of winter.

Here’s a shot of Mt. Pleasant’s downtown area way back in 1918:

And here’s a bunch of dudes with bayonets trying to strike a fearsome pose in Battle Creek, just a half-hour away from WMU’s campus in Kalamazoo at the height of U.S. involvement in World War I:

Here’s another one just for fun.

Hope they found this guy.