They say major league baseball is all about the Benjamins. The inevitable legal battle brewing over who owns the rights to the Rally Squirrel would further that cynical view.
The 2011 Cardinals were the underdog in the National League Division Series between the Cardinals and the Phillies. But in the middle of Game 4, in an at bat featuring Phillies veteran Roy Oswalt against Cardinal utility player Skip Schumacher, a squirrel ran onto the field, well, he more bounded in little flying jumps, running straight toward home plate in the middle of an Oswalt pitch.
The pitch crossed inside the plate, the Squirrel ran in front of Schumacher, headed from the Cardinal dugout toward the Philly dugout, the umpire called the pitch a ball, Oswalt stood slump-shouldered, wanting a do-over, the Cardinals rallied to win the game, and with all of that, a little squirrel set of a craze in St. Louis. He (or she?) became a sensation, and St. Louis had its Rally Squirrel.
In the 2011 post-season, the Cardinals would have many more rallies, and with each one, the legend of the Rally Squirrel would grow larger. When the Cardinal won Game 7 of the World Series, the Rally Squirrel became cemented in Cardinal baseball lore.
The Cardinals started the post season a 1000-1 long shot to go all the way. At the start of their historic run, a a magical thing happened: a little squirrel picked St. Louis. And the Cardinals and their fans rode the charm of the squirrel all the way to a world championship.
Rally Squirrel Shrine (pictured above)
The Rally Squirrel is not like "Fredbird", a corny, corporate created mascot. The Rally Squirrel is a magical thing that was created by no one, except possibly the fans. From day one, all sorts of impromptu Rally Squirrel sightings started to appear. Fans were attaching little squirrel tails to their hats. They'd sport a squirrel on their shoulder. They had fun with it and it added a level of charm to the post season.
Baseball always says it's about the fans. The Rally Squirrel either belongs to no one - or it belongs to the fans. It does not belong in a court room. It does perhaps belong on a statue in front of Busch Stadium, with a placque commemorating this incredible 2011 championship season.