Rally squirrel or not, Busch critter has to go

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Busch Stadium “Rally Squirrel” may need to find a new home.

Ballpark officials are trying to a catch a squirrel that ran onto the field during both games of the NL playoffs in St. Louis this week, including a scamper across home plate as the Cardinals’ Skip Schumaker was hitting against Philadelphia

For a sellout crowd, it was a nutty diversion. The squirrel quickly became a fan favorite, and a Twitter account attributed to the critter has been active since Tuesday night.

Vice president of stadium operations Joe Abernathy believes two or three squirrels have made their home at 6-year-old Busch Stadium. He said there is a public safety issue, and added that stadium officials don’t want any interruptions in play.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOX Radio ( http://cbsloc.al/r0Aiit) reported that seven traps have been set up by the team groundskeeper to catch the squirrel or squirrels. The traps are baited with peanut butter, then a gate closes behind it. The squirrel can then be taken elsewhere.

The squirrel that dashed across the plate jumped to the box seats and safety in the fifth inning of Game 4 Wednesday night. Earlier in that game, a squirrel was sighted on a walkway just past the green expanse beyond the center field wall, and another was seen along foul territory down the third-base line.

Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt said he was distracted by the squirrel’s appearance during his delivery of an inside pitch called a ball. Oswalt and manager Charlie Manuel were unsuccessful in pleas to home plate umpire Angel Hernandez for a do-over.

“If it ran up the guy’s leg, was he going to call the pitch a strike?” Oswalt said, only half-jokingly. “I was wondering what size of animal it needed to be for it not to be a pitch.”

The Cardinals won that game, sending the opening-round playoff series to a deciding Game 5 in Philadelphia on Friday night.

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Information from: KMOX-AM, http://www.kmox.com, St. Louis Post-Dispatch http://stltoday.com.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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