Rally Squirrel

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Rally Squirrel
Squirrel sujit.jpg
An American gray squirrel, not affiliated with the Rally Squirrel
Other appellation(s) Busch Stadium Squirrel
Species Sciurus carolinensis
Years active 2011-2012

Rally Squirrel is the name given to an American gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) which appeared on the field and ran across home plate at Busch Stadium during a 2011 National League Division Series (NLDS) Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals on October 5, 2011. The squirrel captured American media attention,[1] and was adopted as an unofficial mascot by the Cardinals and the populace of St. Louis.[2] The Cardinals would go on to win the 2011 World Series.[2]

Appearances[edit]

On October 4, a gray squirrel appeared in the outfield during Game 3 of the Phillies–Cardinals National League Division Series,[3] causing an interruption in play.[4]

During the fifth inning of Game 4 on October 5, a squirrel again appeared on the field.[5] Play was not interrupted, but the squirrel caused considerable confusion,[6] running across home plate as Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was delivering a pitch to Skip Schumaker. The squirrel then jumped into the stands.[7] Umpire Ángel Hernández called the pitch a ball; Oswalt and Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel argued, unsuccessfully, that Oswalt had been distracted by the squirrel[8] and that "no pitch" should be called.[9] Manuel later avowed that, if he had a firearm, he would have shot the obstreperous rodent.[10][11][12] Some commentators speculated that the October 4 and October 5 squirrels were the same animal, but this was not proven.[3][13]

Before Game 5 of the NLDS in Philadelphia, Oswalt was again accosted by a squirrel near the warning track at Citizens Bank Park.[14] Philadelphia fans taunted the Cardinals by throwing a stuffed squirrel into the team's bullpen. Cardinals pitcher Octavio Dotel retrieved it, and kept it in his locker. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies in five games, and Dotel said he would keep the squirrel through the World Series. "They didn't know that it's our good luck; they gave us good luck to our bullpen and that's why the bullpen has been so great lately", commented Dotel about the Philadelphia fans.[15][16]

On October 16 in Milwaukee, Dotel and teammates toasted the stuffed squirrel and sprayed it with champagne and beer while celebrating their NLCS victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, which sent them to the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

Public reaction[edit]

A Twitter account purporting to be that of the Rally Squirrel was activated on October 4, 2011;[3][5] by October 6 it had 11,000 followers[17] and 27,000 by late October.[18] By October 5, the squirrel had his own theme song,[19] and by October 6 Rally Squirrel t-shirts were in production.[20] Within a few days, these were reported as "flying off the shelves" with "thousands" being sold,[21] while Rally Squirrel costumes were reported as becoming "one of the hot Halloween costumes" of the season.[22]

On October 11, 2011, a different Rally Squirrel appeared at a press conference in Kiener Plaza, where Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation announced that it had adopted the Rally Squirrel as its mascot for a fundraising drive.[23][24] On the same date, the Cardinals announced that the Rally Squirrel would be participating in an October 12 team rally[25] and that 40,000 rally towels with a squirrel motif would be distributed at that day's game of the 2011 National League Championship Series (which was Game 3, a 4-3 Cardinals victory). The Rally Squirrel, in the form of a performer wearing a squirrel costume with a Cardinals jersey, indeed joined the existing Cardinals costumed mascot Fredbird at pre-game rally events during the remainder of the postseason; this Rally Squirrel also assisted Fredbird and Team Fredbird in passing out T-shirts in the stands at Busch Stadium between innings.

By October 14, 2011, sales of Rally Squirrel t-shirts had generated approximately $210,000 for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation.[26]

The Rally Squirrel gained notoriety again in late January 2012 when it was announced that it would be immortalized with a Topps baseball card. The special-edition card is actually that of Cardinals player Skip Schumaker but instead of the traditional "face shot" the card features only Schumaker's pant leg in the photo background as the Rally Squirrel is seen dashing across the batters box.[27] The Rally Squirrel was also immortalized on the St. Louis World Series rings.[28]

Rally Squirrel and Cardinals mascot Fredbird walking the field at Busch Stadium during Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.

Disposition[edit]

A squirrel believed to be the Rally Squirrel was captured at Busch Stadium on October 8 and turned over to the Wildlife Rescue Center for eventual release in Castlewood State Park.[29][30] As of October 11, four squirrels had been captured at Busch Stadium.[31] The squirrel believed to be the actual Rally Squirrel was eventually released near the Wildlife Rescue Center's facility in Ballwin, Missouri.[32]

Other baseball squirrels[edit]

On September 4, 2007, a squirrel darted onto the field at Busch Stadium. That squirrel, which was captured and released into the wild, was also nicknamed Rally Squirrel.[3]

A squirrel which held up play several times at Progressive Field in Cleveland on August 25, 2004 was also called Rally Squirrel.[33][34][35] Other squirrels have appeared on baseball playing fields from time to time, occasionally interrupting play or gaining minor press notice.[36][37][38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joe Walljasper (October 9, 2011). "TAKE TWO: ‘Rally squirrel,’ bah. Try interloping rodent.". Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Steve Gardner (October 19, 2011). "Cardinals fans go nuts for the Rally Squirrel". USA Today. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Erica Smith (October 5, 2011). "The Rally Squirrel returns for Game 4". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "This squirrel is nuts for postseason baseball". The Wall. Major League Baseball. October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Busch Stadium squirrel steals spotlight at NLDS". Chicago Tribune. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Ed Barkowitz (October 5, 2011). "Squirrel driving Phillies, Cardinals nuts". Philadelphia Enquirerer. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ Aaron Goldstein (October 6, 2011). "This Isn't The First Squirrel to Run on The Field". American Spectator (blog). Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Squirrel steals spotlight at NLDS". ESPN. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cardinals Freese up Phillies". Toronto Sun. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ Mike Cole (October 5, 2011). "Charlie Manuel Says He Would Have Shot Busch Stadium Squirrel If He Had His Gun". NESN. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Cardinals rally to force Game 5 versus Phillies". Detroit Free Press. October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  12. ^ "'Rally squirrel' invades field in St. Louis, becomes a celebrity". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ Anna McDonald (October 7, 2011). "St Louis Cards rally squirrel is still on the loose". ESPN. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Squirrelly predicament: Ballpark critter makes way to Philadelphia for Game 5". Washington Post. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011. [dead link]
  15. ^ Nelson, Amy K. (October 17, 2011). "St. Louis saved by its bullpen". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ Kepner, Tyler (October 18, 2011). "A Gritty Bullpen of Fierce Creatures". The New York Times. p. B14. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ Jeré Longman (October 6, 2011). "Who Needs a Black Cat? Rally Squirrel Toys With the Phillies". New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  18. ^ Jennifer Hatton (October 21, 2011). "Marketing professor talks 'Rally Squirrel' craze". UMSL Daily. University of Missouri at St. Louis. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  19. ^ "The Busch Rally Squirrel!". CBS St. Louis. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  20. ^ George Sells (October 6, 2011). "The Rally Squirrel T-Shirt Industry And Other Businesses Rooting For Cardinals". Fox2Now (KTVI TV). Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ James Baer (October 10, 2011). "Going Nuts Over Rally Squirrel Might Work". Chesterfield Patch. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  22. ^ Kay Quinn (October 10, 2011). "Costume retailer runs out of Rally Squirrel costumes". KSDK. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  23. ^ "UPDATED: "Rally Squirrel" Hats, Shirts, Cards on Sale; Money Goes to Charity". CBS St. Louis. October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Rally Squirrel raising money for charity". KMOV. October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ ""Rally Squirrel" to attend Cardinals pep rally". KSDK. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Rally Squirrel generating serious money for Cardinal Gennon". October 14, 2011. October 14, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Skip Schumaker baseball card features rally squirrel". Yahoo Sports "Big League Stew". 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  28. ^ "Rally squirrel appears on Cards' championship rings". April 14, 2012. April 14, 2012. 
  29. ^ Kathleen Berger (October 8, 2011). "The squirrel believed to be Rally Squirrel leaves Busch Stadium". KSDK. Retrieved October 9, 2011. [dead link]
  30. ^ Doyle, Ricky (October 10, 2011). "Rally Squirrel Picked Up by Wildlife Rescue Center, Removed From Busch Stadium". NESN.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011. 
  31. ^ "La Russa, Cardinals going nuts for Rally Squirrel fervor at Busch Stadium". Washington Post. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011. [dead link]
  32. ^ Jason Gay (October 21, 2011). "The Rally Squirrel Runs to Safety". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Small-ball helps Cleveland end 9-game skid". ESPN. August 25, 2004. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  34. ^ Justice B. Hill (August 25, 2004). "Indians welcome 'Rally Squirrel'". MLB. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  35. ^ ""Rally Squirrel" helps Indians win". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 26, 2004. (subscription required)
  36. ^ "Swisher, Ramirez homer to power White Sox to win". ESPN. September 3, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Agile Squirrel Invades Cleveland Indians Bullpen". Outside the Boxscore. September 7, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  38. ^ Ethan Rouen and Bill Hutchinson (September 6, 2007). "Squirrel in outfield seems to be good omen for Yankees". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 12, 2011. 

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