Lucky Squirrel from the foul pole gets an artice in the new york fucking times

The newspaper that  has won 95 Pulitzer Prizes, the same newspaper that brought you the Pentagon Papers, the same paper that gives us Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman and the same paper that gave us Nicholas Kristof and his award winning articles that shed light on Darfur, now gives us this: 

For Yankees, Squirrel’s Visit May Be Omen (a Bad One) function

Published: August 30, 2007

If a scholar of Norse mythology had been in the stands of Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, he or she probably would have advised Yankees fans to not make too much out of the 5-3 victory against the Red Sox.

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The result, after all, still left the Yankees trailing Boston by an imposing seven games in the American League East. But more significant, perhaps, was the pesky and distracting squirrel that scampered up and down the right-field foul pole during the game and that, according to Norse mythology, just might have foretold that the Yankees will not prevail over the Red Sox this season.

Believe it or not, the squirrel’s actions closely resembled those of Ratatosk, or “gnawing tooth,” a squirrel in Norse mythology that climbed up and down a tree that represented the world. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic scholar and poet, recorded the story in his 13th-century work “Prose Edda.”

As the story goes, Ratatosk carried insults as it traveled to opposite ends of the tree, fueling a rivalry between the evil dragon residing at the bottom of the tree and the eagle perched at the top.

“Oh, that’s perfect,” said Roberta Frank, a professor of Old Norse and Old English at Yale University, when told of the squirrel’s antics at the stadium.

Frank was born in the Bronx and is a Yankees fan. She said in a telephone interview yesterday that in the Bronx version of this myth, the Yankees would probably represent the eagle and the rival Red Sox would represent the dragon. The Yankees, after all, are the home team this week, more or less making them the good guys. And if there were a sports team identified with an eagle, it has to be the Yankees, who have begun any number of postseason games with a visit from Challenger, the bald eagle who swoops in from center field.

But being the eagle is not such a good thing, Frank noted.

“The dragon will destroy the world in Norse mythology,” she said, adding that the eagle would be on the losing end of a battle that was only made worse by the malicious squirrel.

So Yankees fans are now left to wonder if the dragon wins by simply capturing the American League East, which the Red Sox have not done since 1995. Or does it have to be more than that? Are the Red Sox destined to beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, as they did in 2004? Is that what the squirrel was trying to tell everybody?

Who knows? Right Field Ratatosk was not available for interviews last evening. The Yankees said the squirrel came down about 20 minutes after Tuesday’s game and was allowed to go on its way. It joins a cast of baseball creatures that includes the black cat that crossed in front of the Chicago Cubs’ dugout during their ill-fated pennant-race battle with the Mets in 1969 and the bird that Dave Winfield killed with a throw in Toronto in 1983.

It should be noted that Right Field Ratatosk was doing its thing Tuesday when Johnny Damon hit a game-winning home run for the Yankees in the bottom of the seventh that landed near the right-field foul pole. That would seem to suggest that Ratatosk was doing its best to help the Yankees. But maybe the squirrel was just confused, since Damon was a member of the Red Sox until last season.

For now, we are left with a swing and a myth. September and October will provide more answers.

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