Wild Kingdom: In search of the Cards' next October mojo mascot

We'll call it the Noah's Ark Team. It's gonna be great.

Religious implications aside — and, given the rather high level of belief among a large portion of the Cardinal players in general, I don't say that lightly — it's really the one and only story that makes sense for this team. The beasts of the world, coming from all over, to support the Redbirds as they try to win a championship for the animal kingdom.

What? You think I'm joking? Hell no. Cards beat the Phillies. Not sure what a Philly is, but it's not an animal. Maybe a cooked one, like a cheesesteak situation. But I don't think animals are still considered part of the flock once they've been grilled and smothered in onions.

This crop of October Cardinals just beat 
the Beast, but now they need a new animal.
UPI/Brian Kersey
This crop of October Cardinals just beat the Beast, but now they need a new animal.

Cards beat the Brewers, too. Brewer, not an animal. Brewer fans, maybe — they do seem to like Nyjer Morgan, after all. But a Brewer is not an animal.

Now the Cardinals go to take on the Texas Rangers. And I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but a Ranger isn't an animal, either. In fact, according to one well-placed source in the animal organization who spoke on condition of anonymity — he did say he was smarter than many of his brethren, and so wished to avoid drawing undue attention to himself — Rangers are often an animal's greatest foe. Chasing them away from pic-a-nic baskets is really only the tip of the iceberg.

So given that backdrop, it's no surprise that the Cards have gotten some of their most meaningful contributions down the stretch from members of the animal kingdom. In September they were buoyed in body and spirit by the support of Allen Craig's pet tortoise who took to the Twitterverse to provide insight and inspiration on a daily basis. Got his own T-shirt, too.

Then came the Rally Squirrel — or squirrels, I suppose, though I personally find it more believable that it was the work of a single squirrel who simply took a plane. The squirrel proved absolutely instrumental in the Redbirds sending the juggernaut Phillies to their grave. He didn't show back up in the Milwaukee series, but mostly because he didn't need to. By that time he had already enchanted a taxidermied member of his race with playoff mojo and left it in a Cherokee Street pawn-shop window for Octavio Dotel to happen upon. He did, however, take time to sign a sweet licensing deal on all those Rally Squirrel towels they handed out at Busch Stadium. Clever little bastard, that one.

This is the World Series, though. The Rangers are not concerned with debating Cheez Whiz versus provolone, or just how many High Lifes you have to down before Ryan Braun's clothing line starts to seem like a good idea. (The answer is fourteen, in case you were wondering.) The Rangers are here to steal our pic-a-nic baskets and ruin our October. Trusting in the leftover mojo from Torty and Herr Squirrel is a bad idea.

The Cardinals need a new animal.

We here at the RFT have the good fortune to be under the brilliant guidance of a truly great group of individuals. No, not the editors. Those guys, well, never mind. I'm talking about the legendary Council of Indie Journalism. Oh yes, they do exist. Working from the shadows for decades, this group of men and women has crafted the very essence of alternative journalism into the behemoth it is today, responsible for Dan Savage's career, depressing comic strips and setting the minimum number of Pavement references in any given record review (seven). Truly, they are as gods who have built this world.

I was summoned to the secret council chamber late Sunday night and given a command: I was to find the next mascot for the Redbirds. You see, the council is allied with the grand animal leadership, and so have decreed the Cardinals must defeat the evil Rangers. (Plus, I mean, let's face it: This is a council of alternative-journalism types. Probably not huge fans of Texas stuff just in general.) It was a daunting task presented to me, but I resolved to undertake it with all my heart and soul. I declared before the council, trembling all the while, that I would do my level best to find the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals a mascot to bring them four more victories.

I began by narrowing down the candidates. I drove the roads, looking for likely animals. Local fauna would be best, I thought. I did think of just combining the turtle and the squirrel, but it turns out Pokémon beat me to the punch by, like, two decades. Stupid Japanese, taking all the good ideas.

There was a skunk flattened on the center line, and I briefly considered him. Probably not too talkative, though, and not all that lively. Road kill is not exactly the image I want to project, either. But what about a live skunk?

There are some good points for skunks, you know. Gorgeous animals, really. Surprisingly affectionate if domesticated. But there's the smell, which may not play well in a locker room, and people just don't seem to like skunks all that much. Except Pepé Le Pew, which seems a little odd to me. Sure, he was charming, but he was also French, and we Americans do not generally take kindly to those cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Plus, he was at least a stalker, and probably a rapist. The cat never specifically said no, being unable to talk, but she was clearly running away. Bouncing after her with comic music playing in the background doesn't really change the end result, which is a mute feline cornered in a dark alley somewhere by a flouncy, stinky French rape skunk. You know what? Skunks are out. When that's the best representative your race can field, you don't deserve to be the face of a World Series team.

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