It's no rally squirrel, but this scene-stealing owl made a similar cameo during Friday's soccer match between Colombia and Venezuela in Barranquilla, Colombia:
While a Busch Stadium rally squirrel famously heralded last month's World Series title for the St. Louis Cardinals, however, Colombia's owl hasn't had the same "rally" effect. The team tied Venezuela 1-1 in Friday's match, part of South America's qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup, and then lost 2-1 to Argentina in Barranquilla on Tuesday. (Maybe the owl was actually eating Colombia's rally rat?)
Yet despite the national team's recent luck, barn owls like this one hold a special place in Colombian soccer. Barranquilla's club team, Junior de Barranquilla, long kept a pet owl as its mascot, and it became "practically a symbol for the Barranquillera fan," according to the Colombian Football Federation. But earlier this year, when the owl landed on the field during a game against Panama's Deportivo Pereira, Panamanian defender Luis Moreno inexplicably walked over and kicked it.
The bird later died, and Moreno was suspended two games and fined $560. It's good to see another barn owl now carrying the torch (and a dead rat) in its place.
And on a lighter note, here's another look at the rally squirrel's 15 seconds of fame: