One lucky rally squirrel is helping the University of Maryland win baseball games.
Sports are full of quirky superstitions. Some athletes won't shower or wash their uniforms after a big game, Nascar drivers refuse to race green cars or eat shelled peanuts because they are considered bad luck, and baseball players will even turn their hats inside-out to create a rally cap when they desperately need to score a few runs.
The University of Maryland's baseball team has a different good luck charm: Crumbs the rally squirrel.
Last week, Maryland entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing Richmond, 11-8.
As the Terrapins took to the plate, Crumbs scurried onto the field and into the Maryland on-deck circle. On the very next pitch, Maryland Senior Brandon Gum ripped a single into left field. The hit sparked a four-run rally and the Terps went on to win the game.
Those in attendance were quick to give credit to Crumbs the rally squirrel.
"He’s been here since my freshman year," Outfielder Zack Jancarski explained, "we look at him as a little bit of a rally squirrel. He is kind of a pest, sometimes he’ll come in and eat everything in sight regardless if it is packaged or not. Every time we have seen him during games at least in my years here, something good has happened."
"He knows we got the [win]," Jancarski continued, "we like him around here.”
Any missing food is an acceptable loss for the team. Shortstop Kevin Smith routinely has his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches stolen and it makes no difference whether they are wrapped. Crumbs takes what Crumbs wants.
"Crumbs eats my PB&Js religiously throughout the season," Smith wrote on Twitter, "but I'll keep making them for him if we get the W! #FeedTheSquirrel"
Crumbs was spotted in the dugout during the team's practice the following day, giving credence to the scientific theory that if you feed wild animals, they will keep coming back looking for food.
As of the time of this publication, Crumbs the rally squirrel did not return our request for comment.