Schumaker can't escape as Yanks' squirrel brings flashbacks

May 25th, 2023

DENVER -- After a squirrel shocked and dazzled fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night by scurrying along the right-field wall and leaping onto the warning track during the Yankees vs. Orioles game, Skip Schumaker had a flashback.

It is Schumaker, now the Marlins’ manager, who is the player most closely associated with rogue squirrels on baseball fields. Back in 2011 during Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Phillies and Schumaker’s Cardinals at Busch Stadium, a squirrel dashed across the home plate area while Schumaker was at the plate in the fifth inning.

The Cardinals went on to win that game and even the series, eventually winning Game 5 two nights later en route to a World Series title. The “Rally Squirrel” has made occasional appearances at Busch Stadium since then, most recently earlier this month.

But a squirrel sighting in the Bronx? That’s something altogether different.

“I can’t get away from the squirrel,” Schumacher quipped when asked about it before the Marlins played the Rockies at Coors Field on Wednesday. “You’ve gotta be known for something, right? The squirrel is what I’m known for. Good thing we won. I think that’s why it’s famous -- if we hadn’t won, no one likes the squirrel. That’s just how it works.”

The Yankees won following the squirrel’s appearance Tuesday, thanks to an Aaron Judge game-tying homer in the ninth and an Anthony Volpe walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th. So all good there.

Surely the St. Louis Rally Squirrel hasn’t changed allegiances. This one must be different -- could it become the Yankees’ unofficial mascot in 2023?

If it does, it’ll be a rare sight -- the Yankees had a mascot once, but only for three seasons in their 120-year history. That idea fizzled fast. But a Yankee Squirrel? Maybe that’ll catch on.