With the warmer weather hitting us, the NBA and NHL Playoffs in full swing, the golf majors on their way, the US Tennis Open around the corner and the UEFA Champions League final barrelling towards the end I can’t help but think of one thing: minor league baseball mascots.
As I have written before I was a professional mascot for a decade. It was my campus job while I was in college and then later as Twister for the infamous Worcester Tornadoes. In college, I didn’t just do football games and basketball games. Our women’s volleyball team went to the National Championships twice while I was enrolled and our wrestling team won a National Championship. But I attended softball, baseball, fundraising walks, elementary school spree days, and new business ribbon cuttings. I got crowned Homecoming King, as the mascot mind you, because the students were being reprimanded for over-partying. I have endured a lot of different climates while dressed up like a furry bear and the worst of the worst is a humid July day game for 3,000 pre-adolescent campers.
The heat, plus the suit (which does not breathe well), plus the hot breath of 50 kids asking for a picture or a hug or an autograph is already panic inducing. Then, at the end of a half inning, the PA starts blaring the Spongebob Squarepants theme song and those thousands of kids are screaming every word. They are all buzzing from sugar and excitement and then their favorite show’s theme song comes on. The hundred that I am surrounded by are pulling and tugging and screaming and crying. One kid was just jumping up and down on my foot and two others jumped on my back trying to see who was inside their beloved Twister. My heart races reliving this moment to you now and I hope you don’t endure anything like it.
So as you head to a game or two or five this summer, here are 5 tips to help you and your local mascot can each enjoy America’s pastime:
- Do not pull on tails, ears, shirts, hats, or any other extremity, apparel or body part.
This kind feels like a no brainer, like it’s how you should live as a human being, but especially for a mascot they don’t have the periphery and quickness that most humans do. They are pretty vulnerable and do not want to be touched despite their resemblance to a plushy. (side note one a drunk man tackled me and my mascot head rolled down the left field line, when security asked him why he did it and he responded saying, “I thought there was more cushion in there.”
- Do not yell into the mouth and ask who is in there.
Have I ended up meeting a very beautiful girl this way and end up making out with her in the woods during a kegger? But that sad occurrence is the best possible situation. Most times the person inside there is just smelling your dehydrated breath.
- Do not let your kid hang out with a mascot.
While most mascots do get CORI checked, they are still people who are working and not babysitters so you can get drunk at the game. Our job is entertainment, not entertaining young children.
- Know that the mascot is probably not smiling when you take a photo.
They’ll pose with you, but they don’t have to like it. Especially if any of the first three things have already happened.
- If the mascot is heading to their break, let them have their break.
The mascot will be back. They need this. They need the water, or to cool off or just punch a pillow because you were driving them a little crazy. It can get claustrophobic in there and if one more person just taps their shoulder while they are having a panic attack, they may just snap.
Let’s go WooSox, let’s go Bravehearts, “let’s go” to any team in the area that you go see. You’re there for the game, the amenities and the mascot. This column is dedicated to any and all, but especially Jake the Lion and all of the Red Sox mascots.