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Opinion Corner: Celebrating a squirrel? Say it ain't so

There is no greater goal among professional athletes than an opportunity to hoist a championship trophy and know you are among the best in the world. To have that small fortune of diamonds on your ring finger that lets the world know you are the best.

The St. Louis Cardinals front office believes it was more than great players, at the right time, with near-genius management. They decided in part to thank a glorified rat.

That's right, last week the Cardinals World Series rings were handed out, and above home plate on the side is the famous rodent who "captivated" millions.

In case you don't know, I'm writing about the Rally Squirrel, an American gray squirrel that made three appearances last year as the Cardinals rallied to an unlikely World Series Championship.

Well it was really four American gray squirrels that made "history" as the only group of varmints to help lead the way to postseason success. At least that's what a nation of Budweiser adoring rubes like to believe.

I can't believe how many thousands of people were duped into buying a tacky screen printed T-shirt with an acorn-eating rat on it.

Even Topps baseball cards are still fueling the fire of squirrel mania, as Cardinals fans slip further into dissolution regarding all the sheer luck one group of rats can carry.

A 2012 Skip Schumaker baseball card features a picture of the shortstop's ankle, as well as the famous varmint. Asking price on eBay on Monday afternoon? Buy It Now for $80.

Heads up fans! Better store your Rally Squirrel memorabilia next to those old Beanie Babies and my 401(k) and just wait for the value to skyrocket.

Why don't people remember the amazing exploits of Albert Pujols and David Freese? Where's the love for Tony LaRussa and his quasi-insane pitching changes. What about the unstoppable Jason Motte mowing down batters in the ninth with the ease of tying a shoe?

I pulled out more hair watching the Cards carve up Milwaukee due to in-the-clutch at bats and superior pitching. The most annoying thing I remember is the unwavering love for the squirrel.

Why is a group of fans so infatuated with a glorified rat? Is it because they are from St. Louis? Maybe. Or is it because St. Louis won't win another title, in any sport, for at least a decade? I think that's the one.

I may still be bitter, but there is no argument in sports that can't be solved by pointing to the number of championship trophies -- they have 11 -- second-most in the sport.

Back in 2002 we all had to endure being beaten over the head with the Anaheim Angels and their Rally Monkey. But that's California -- Hollywood, Disneyland and all the rest.

St. Louis is the hearty, down-to-earth Midwest. In short, you don't need a gimmick. You're better than that.

Rodgers is a news writer at the Jamestown Sun