Who is Major League Baseball’s most likely ocelot defender?

If you told me a baseball player was involved in a legal dispute over the protection of ocelot habitats, I’d — and this is prejudice, I know — assume he was one of Major League Baseball’s legions of avid hunters and decidedly not on the same side as the ocelots in court.

If you next told me he was indeed acting on behalf of the ocelots and told me to guess who it was, I’d probably start with Prince Fielder. That’s mostly based on appearances, since Fielder looks cuddly as anything and once almost deked me into hugging him. But we also know that Prince Fielder at least dabbled in vegetarianism for a while, plus he plays on a team named for another endangered cat.

I’d round out the top five most likely ocelot defenders as: Cole Hamels, Brian Wilson, Albert Pujols and Mariano Rivera. That’s not based on much, just educated guesswork.

Then, if I had to go through all thousand-something guys on every team’s 40-man roster and rank them in order of the likelihood with which I’d expect them to go to court on behalf of ocelot habitats, I imagine I’d put Josh Beckett right down near the bottom of the list.

But alas, Beckett’s the guy. It turns out said ocelot habitat happens to be on his 7,000-acre Texas ranch, and Beckett is suing a pipeline company for bulldozing in an area where he has observed ocelots. Which is kind of nuts, if you think about it, since there are believed to be only 50 ocelots left living in the entire United States and ocelots are nocturnal and known for “reclusive behavior.” What are the chances that Josh Beckett, of all people, has seen them, and what are the chances they happened to be in the same spot on Beckett’s 7,000-acre ranch that this pipeline company needs to bulldoze?

I vote “pretty good.” As much as we might want to vilify Beckett for his purported roles in various Red Sox clubhouse meltdowns in the past couple of years, I’m just going to go ahead and guess he purchased the ranch specifically because of his interest in ocelots and his knowledge of the area as a potential ocelot breeding ground.

Also of particular note: The linked article features the headline, “Pipeline work leads to an ocelot of legal woe.” Also, both Beckett and Nolan Ryan have won a deer-hunting contest called the “Muy Grande,” which is Spanish for “very large.”

Finally (language NSFW):

Via Deadspin.

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