“Lucky” the squirrel is 4-for-4. The brazen squirrel has appeared atop the right-field foul pole at Yankee Stadium four times this season, and each time the Bronx Bombers have won.
The bushy-tailed spectator, roosting high above the crowd on his yellow perch, has become such a fan favorite that he got a standing ovation during Tuesday night’s 12-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.
“Let’s hope he doesn’t hibernate and will be around for the playoffs,” said Yankee fan Meghan Cannella, 27, of Manhattan.
Cannella and her sister Katelyn, 21, have season tickets next to the soaring right-field foul pole and first noticed the furry fan on Opening Day in April, when the Yankees beat Tampa Bay, 9-5. They said fans were initially taunting the squirrel to jump.
“If he’s good luck, we don’t want him to jump,” Katelyn said. “We might as well call him Lucky. Whenever he’s around, we win.” Lucky also appeared at the Stadium on June 8, when the Yanks beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-4.
The daring critter showed up in his sky-high seat on Aug. 28 to watch the Yanks beat Boston, 5-3, sparking deafening cheers when he was put on the scoreboard video screen. The next day, the rodent’s antics were featured on NBC’s “Today” show, during which hosts Matt Lauer and Ann Curry called the media darling “cute.” “Probably the fans at Yankee Stadium yelled all kinds of obscenities to it,” Lauer said. “That’s all right, that’s normal.”
Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon said he fed the cuddly creature sunflower seeds before the Boston game and then slugged an upper-deck homer that went right over the squirrel’s head. “From what I hear, he’s been bringing us good luck,” Damon said. “We think it’s the same squirrel. I know they’re roaming around here.”
Bombers first baseman Andy Phillips sounded a little jealous. “The animals get more attention than us,” Phillips said with a chuckle, adding that the Yankees should somehow get Lucky in pinstripes. “It certainly is marketable,” Phillips said.
Lucky didn’t turn up last night, but the Bombers managed to beat the Seattle Mariners, 10-2, anyway. Some Yankee fans have just gone nutty over the adventurous animal.
“That’s Phil Rizzuto up there,” said sheet-metal worker John Allegretti, 46, of Staten Island, referring to the legendary Yankee shortstop and broadcaster who died on Aug. 13. Allegretti’s friend Herman Ramirez, 46, of Old Bridge, N.J., said he has nicknamed the squirrel “Scooter” after Rizzuto.
But David Powell, assistant curator of the Bronx Zoo’s mammal department, said the squirrel probably isn’t even a baseball fan. He said the squirrel is likely more interested in the smorgasbord of leftovers littering the stands. “For now, it’s working for him and helping him prepare for the winter,” Powell said. “This is probably just a transient animal who might move on once it really gets cool.”