Remember the Rally Monkey?
That cute, spirited little capuchin with a soft spot for House of Pain and the ability to power to guide the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the 2002 World Series?
Well, the St. Louis Cardinals may have found their own furry talisman.
With the Cardinals leading the Phillies 3-2 in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s Game 4 at Busch Stadium, a squirrel dashed past home plate immediately following a pitch from Roy Oswalt to Skip Schumaker. After a big production at home plate that included Oswalt gesticulating, Charlie Manuel pontificating and Schumaker collecting his wits, the latter flied out.
But the following inning, David Freese took Oswalt deep for a two-run home run that proved to be the difference in the Cardinals’ 5-3 victory and solidified the “Busch Squirrel’s” place in St. Louis baseball lore.
By 9 a.m. Thursday, the Busch Squirrel had amasses 8,170 Twitter followers. And for those surprised by Wednesday’s romp through the infield, you can’t say the little rodent didn’t warn ya.
Then, in the fifth inning of Game 4...
In case you’re curious what else happened in the game — all of which was merely a footnote to the Busch Squirrel’s odyssey through the stands — here’s your quick synopsis: After the Phils took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, David Freese’s two-run double in the fourth gave the Cards a 3-2 lead. Freese’s homer extended the lead to 5-2 and St. Louis closer Jason Motte retired Philly in order to seal the win.
Both teams turn to their aces for Friday’s decisive Game 5 with Roy Holliday and Chris Carpenter toeing the rubber at Citizens Bank Park. Halladay allowed three runs in eight innings to win Game 1 while Carpenter only lasted three innings in Game 2, allowing four runs on five hits before being lifted.
So how did a squirrel end up on the field for the second game in a row? Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday — the guy who had to be pulled from a game in August after a moth got stuck inside his ear canal — has an idea.
“I’m the animal whisperer. I think that squirrel was there to see me.”
But back to the biggest question facing both teams heading into Friday: Can the Busch Squirrel sneak his way onto the Cardinals’ team plane? And if he somehow makes it to Philadelphia, will Manuel be waiting for him in the dugout?