|Other name(s)||Busch Stadium Squirrel|
|Years active||2011-2012, 2015|
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, and was adopted as an unofficial mascot by the Cardinals and the populace of St. Louis. The Cardinals would go on to win the 2011 World Series in dramatic fashion.
During the fifth inning of Game 4 on October 5, a squirrel again appeared on the field. Play was not interrupted, but the squirrel caused considerable confusion, running across home plate as Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was delivering a pitch to Skip Schumaker. The squirrel then jumped into the stands. Umpire Ángel Hernández called the pitch a ball; Oswalt and Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel argued, unsuccessfully, that Oswalt had been distracted by the squirrel and that "no pitch" should be called. Manuel later avowed that, if he had a firearm, he would have shot the obstreperous rodent. Some commentators speculated that the October 4 and October 5 squirrels were the same animal, but this was not proven.
Before Game 5 of the NLDS in Philadelphia, Oswalt was again accosted by a squirrel near the warning track at Citizens Bank Park. 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.
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.
On June 19, 2015, the Cardinals were once again playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. During the fifth inning, a squirrel started climbing up the net behind home plate, ran along the guide wire, jumped on top of the Phillies dugout, and then appeared to jump at Chase Utley, the Phillies second baseman. Soon after, the appearance of the squirrel was called the return of the Rally Squirrel. The Cardinals won this game 12-4.
A Twitter account purporting to be that of the Rally Squirrel was activated on October 4, 2011; by October 6 it had 11,000 followers and 27,000 by late October. By October 5, the squirrel had his own theme song, and by October 6 Rally Squirrel T-shirts were in production. Within a few days, these were reported as "flying off the shelves" with "thousands" being sold, while Rally Squirrel costumes were reported as becoming "one of the hot Halloween costumes" of the season.
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. On the same date, the Cardinals announced that the Rally Squirrel would be participating in an October 12 team rally 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.
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. The Rally Squirrel was also immortalized on the St. Louis World Series rings.
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. As of October 11, four squirrels had been captured at Busch Stadium. The squirrel believed to be the actual Rally Squirrel was eventually released near the Wildlife Rescue Center's facility in Ballwin, Missouri.
Decline to obscurity
By the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals season, when the Cardinals again advanced to the World Series (although they lost), Rally Squirrel had faded into obscurity, with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporting that at the time of the World Series "you'd be hard-pressed to find any remnants of the squirrel today at the Cardinals store at Busch Stadium, aside from a pile or two of generic stuffed squirrels near the counter".
Other baseball squirrels
On May 13, 2017, also at Progressive Field in Cleveland, a squirrel raced in from right field and reached the area around the pitcher's mound, forcing the umpires to halt play. The home team lost 4-1 to the Minnesota Twins. "Those type of things are funnier when you're ahead" Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said. This squirrel was also referred to as Rally Squirrel.
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.
A squirrel which held up play several times at Progressive Field in Cleveland on August 25, 2004 was also called Rally Squirrel. Other squirrels have appeared on baseball playing fields from time to time, occasionally interrupting play or gaining minor press notice.
In August 2019, a squirrel interrupted play at Target Field on two consecutive nights. On the second night, the interruption was followed by the Twins scoring four runs in a game they went on to win 14-4, which led to this squirrel also being dubbed "Rally Squirrel".
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- Vince Lattanzio (June 19, 2015). "'Rally Squirrel' Tries to Take Out Chase Utley at Phillies Game". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
- Christian Bryant (June 19, 2015). "'Rally Squirrel' Returns During Cards-Phillies Game". ABC RTV6. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
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- Kay Quinn (October 10, 2011). "Costume retailer runs out of Rally Squirrel costumes". KSDK. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "UPDATED: "Rally Squirrel" Hats, Shirts, Cards on Sale; Money Goes to Charity". CBS St. Louis. October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
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- ""Rally Squirrel" to attend Cardinals pep rally". KSDK. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "Rally Squirrel generating serious money for Cardinal Gennon". October 14, 2011. October 14, 2011.
- "Skip Schumaker baseball card features rally squirrel". Yahoo Sports "Big League Stew". 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- "Rally squirrel appears on Cards' championship rings". April 14, 2012. April 14, 2012.
- Kathleen Berger (October 8, 2011). "The squirrel believed to be Rally Squirrel leaves Busch Stadium". KSDK. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- 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 11, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "La Russa, Cardinals going nuts for Rally Squirrel fervor at Busch Stadium". Washington Post. October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.[dead link]
- Jason Gay (October 21, 2011). "The Rally Squirrel Runs to Safety". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- Kavita Kumar (October 25, 2013). "Rally Squirrel may have left the field, but trademark dispute lives on". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- "Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Indians - Box Score - May 13, 2017". www.foxsports.com. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
- Writer, STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press Sports. "Berrios fine 1st start, Twins outlast Indians, squirrel 4-1". The Repository. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
- Alysha Tsuji (May 13, 2017). "One fearless squirrel managed to force a delay in the Indians vs. Twins game". USA Today. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Payton Vince (May 13, 2017). "Rally Squirrel appears at Progressive Field in the 6th inning; Video Included". Neo Sports Insiders. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Kevin Berger (May 13, 2017). "Squirrel on the field causes delay of Indians game". Fox Sports. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Small-ball helps Cleveland end 9-game skid". ESPN. August 25, 2004. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
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- ""Rally Squirrel" helps Indians win". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 26, 2004.(subscription required)
- "Swisher, Ramirez homer to power White Sox to win". ESPN. September 3, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Agile Squirrel Invades Cleveland Indians Bullpen". Outside the Boxscore. September 7, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- 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.
- "For second night, squirrel steals the show at Target Field". [Minneapolis] Star-Tribune. August 21, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
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