Phillie Phanatic, phenomenal. Mr. Met and Mariner Moose, marvelous. Wally the Green Monster, welcome back.
Mascots are getting a reprieve from Major League Baseball. A month after being tossed out of stadiums because of health concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the fuzzy and funny creatures will return as inside-the-parkers.
“The fur is back on the field,” exclaimed Dave Raymond, the playful mischief maker who originally portrayed the Phanatic.
On May 16, in its 67-page draft of the operations manual sent to teams, MLB banned Bernie Brewer, the Pirate Parrot, Dinger, Fredbird and their ilk from the ballpark, trying to restrict access and limit contact exposure.
The final version of the manual this week reversed the policy. Mascots are in play, just not on the field.
Raymond delighted crowds with an array of antics, skits and mayhem from 1978-93, often zipping across the Veteran Stadium turf on his ATV. He’s certain mascots can easily succeed even inside empty stadiums.
“There are all kinds of little blurbs that can work,” he said. “And imagine this: During the seventh-inning stretch, what if you had a Zoom call with fans, where you put up 3,000 tiles of their pictures on the scoreboard and had them dance along?”
This week’s reversal opened up more opportunities for Orbit, Lou Seal, Slider, the Swinging Friar and more.
“I can think right now of about five routines that I’d do. There are lots of things mascots can try,” Raymond said. “You could even have a camera follow them around the park the whole game. It’d be fun for fans, seeing what they do.”
A nice diversion during these tough times.
“Most of us are going to the park to forget our problems or be entertained,” Raymond said. “That’s what we can do to help, even if there aren’t any fans inside.”
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports