RICHMOND, VA - The Flying Squirrels are sending their mascot, Nutzy, to St. Louis Wednesday for Game 6 of the World Series to interact with fans outside of Busch Stadium and to take part in the 'Rally Squirrel' mania that has become part of the Cardinals run to the 2011 Fall Classic. There will be an official sendoff for Nutzy at 9:00 AM on Wednesday at the Delta Airlines ticket counter at Richmond International Airport. The team is covering all travel costs and expenses.
Last week, the Flying Squirrels offered to loan Nutzy to the St. Louis Cardinals to be the official Rally Squirrel of the World Series.
"We have received a lot of inquires from our fans asking if we were really going to send Nutzy to St. Louis," said Flying Squirrels Vice President and COO Todd "Parney" Parnell. "They all seemed excited about the prospect of sending him to the World Series and so we figured why not. We think this is going to be a lot of fun for our fans as well as Rally Squirrel fans in St. Louis. While we did not get a response from the Cardinals taking us up on our original offer, we understand that they are busy. Hopefully having Nutzy there will help force a Game 7 in what has been an incredible series thus far."
Nutzy will be traveling with a member of the Flying Squirrels front office staff and the two are scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at approximately 2:00 PM CT. They are expected to make their way to Busch Stadium around 5:00 PM. Nutzy will return to Richmond Thursday afternoon and will participate in a previously scheduled event Thursday night.
The Rally Squirrel phenomenon began in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium and heightened during Game 4. Skip Schumaker was at the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning for St. Louis with the Cardinals leading the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2. Philadelphia right-hander Roy Oswalt's 1-1 pitch to Schumaker was immediately followed by a squirrel darting from the St. Louis dugout across home plate. The pitch was ruled a ball by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez as Oswalt pleaded for a "no pitch." An inning later, David Freese hit a two-run homer and the Cardinals went on to win the game 5-3, forcing a deciding Game 5 in Philadelphia which St. Louis won 1-0.
Prior to Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cardinals distributed 40,000 rally towels with an image of the Rally Squirrel on them. Rally Squirrel hats, t-shirts, and trading cards are on sale and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch even held a "name the rally squirrel" contest on Facebook with the name "Buschy" being selected as the winner.
Season tickets for the 2012 season of Flying Squirrels are currently available. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Flying Squirrels at (804) 359-FUNN (3866), log on to SquirrelsBaseball.com or visit the Flying Squirrels' box office at The Diamond.