29 October 2011

Of Cardinals and Squirrels

Three weeks ago, I blogged about my favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and their squirrelly experience in the playoffs.

Last night, less than 24 hours after completing a World Series Game 6 comeback that served as a microcosm for the team's season and provided an ultimate example of perseverance, the Cardinals prevailed in Game 7 to win their 11th world championship.

The victory capped an incomparable run to first get into and then progress through the playoffs. In two months of work that seemed more like play, the team created something special; and right in the middle of that special experience, you'll find a real-life squirrel, name Rally Squirrel by the St. Louis fans.

Even after the real squirrel was caught in a live trap and relocated to a wooded area away from the ballpark, St. Louis embraced it: Fans dressed up as squirrels, relief pitcher Octavio Dotel carried a toy squirrel with him, and a squirrel mascot was hired to accompany the Cardinals' usual mascot, Fredbird. Major League Baseball even created a commercial that tied the playoff theme "Legends are Born in October" to the squirrel's runs around the field.

Sports aren't always all they're cracked up to be, but I'll treasure the experiences the Cardinals and Rally Squirrel gave me this fall. It was something more than playing a game and winning. For just this once, it was the stuff of life.

What an autumn this has become.

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