ST. LOUIS -- How do the St. Louis Cardinals properly thank the Rally Squirrel?
A lifetime supply of peanuts? Freedom to run amok on the field at Busch Stadium when the team is on the road? Maybe a big oak tree in the left field bleachers?
Actually, the Cardinals are providing a more lasting perk for the furry little critter that became the team's unofficial mascot during last year's postseason run -- by immortalizing the squirrel on its championship rings.
When Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III began considering the design of the 2011 World Series championship ring, he figured there had to be a way to incorporate the Rally Squirrel.
“I think we found the perfect spot,” DeWitt said. “He’s jumping over home plate, which is what he did in the [NL Division] series.”
In addition to the requisite player names and team logo, the squirrel and the phrase “Happy Flight” (a slogan the players used when they won the last game of a road trip) are also part of the ring design.
“It’s just a way to acknowledge that he was part of the story,” DeWitt said of the Rally Squirrel.
Contrary to reports, DeWitt acknowledges the Rally Squirrel was never captured. He said the squirrel made an appearance while the team celebrated on the field after the championship parade.
A team spokesperson confirmed that “several of the Rally Squirrel's entourage were caught and safely released at a local park, but the rally squirrel proved to be too elusive.”
DeWitt said he hasn't met the Rally Squirrel. Nor does he sneak down to the bleachers and randomly toss peanuts to thank the Rally Squirrel.
“He’ll have enough to feed on after the first game and peanuts start flying,” DeWitt said.