Work-From-Home Diary: A Minor League Baseball Mascot
Floppo, beloved mascot of the Marysburg MudHuckers, shares their social distancing experience
|Apr 22, 2020||7|
In these uncertain times, countless people have found the nature of their work to have changed dramatically. Today, we’ve brought in a special guest columnist to discuss what work-from-home life has been like for them: we’re going to hear from a minor-league baseball mascot.
I’ve just been trying to stay busy, y’know?
I’m sure that’s true for everyone these days, unless you work in a hospital or grocery store, right? A huge portion of the workforce has transitioned to remote work, and even if we’re trying our best, it’s just really hard to remain as productive as you would’ve been going into your workplace as usual.
I feel like that’s especially true for a job like mine, though.
Oh, right, I hadn’t introduced myself.
I’m Floppo, the beloved mascot of the Marysburg MudHuckers minor-league baseball team. It’s a great job, and one I’ve held for the last seven seasons. The team was going through a rebrand, getting away from their previous (extremely offensive) nickname to one that honored the proud Civil War history of the area, when the townspeople briefly delayed the advance of enemy forces by hucking mud at them. In addition to a new name, logo and color scheme, they needed someone to replace the previous mascot, who was a mishmash of numerous ethnic stereotypes. In a pregame ceremony, right after the last surprise on-field family reunion and before the National Anthem, I was hatched out of a giant piece of moon rock and the rest was history.
Ever since then, I’ve been delighting baseball fans in the quad-state area with my unique brand of antics, which include such classic bits as “pretending to steal your popcorn”, “pretending to steal your hat”, “pretending to steal your children”, and “sitting in front of you while wearing a comically oversized hat”.
Of course, that hasn’t been possible this year. The Mid-Country League’s season was scheduled to start earlier this month, but as with sports leagues all the world over, things are on hold. Our season may not start for months, if at all. We’re missing out on some tremendously exciting baseball action, but it’s more than that — we’re missing out on beloved traditions! By now, if the schedule had held, we’d be seventeen games in, and we’d have already seen some of my favorite events: Bark At The Park (the dogs hate me), Space Fight Night (we cannot afford licensing fees for an official Star Wars night, but the intent is clear), the Tax Day Hangry Ham Hurl, Bark At The Park II (the dogs still hate me), and of course today would’ve been the Earth Day bonfire.
I’ve tried to stay connected to the fanbase as best I can. First, I delivered meals to fans who can’t make it out to the grocery store, firing them onto their lawn from a safe distance with my hot dog cannon. I saluted healthcare workers by standing outside the stadium, thrusting my hips to “Rock and Roll, Pt. 2”. I even tried to brighten the day of some younger fans by showing up outside their windows, but scuttled that after a handful of unpleasant misunderstandings. (Their dogs hate me).
It’s just not the same. Sure, I can barge into a Zoom call just as well as I’d barge into a family ballpark outing — those things aren’t secured, you know? — but if I can’t shine up a bald guy’s head with my handkerchief, what am I even doing? If I can’t sit directly on a fan’s lap, what’s the point of even trying to harass them? The only face I can slam a banana-creme pie in is my own, and this fur is a pain in the neck to get cleaned.
After a couple weeks of the healthy-at-home restrictions, I figured I’d form a support group for others in similar positions. I reached out to my peers in the league -- some of the best mascots you’ll ever know. There’s Randysaurus Rex of the Fort Connor FossilDiggers. Dynamite Dave of the Pikestown OreBlasterz. Slugggggggo from the Campbellsville OceanGoats. Heck, I even called on Eagle Pete from the Bardsburg FreedomFriars. I wanted to know what these titans of the industry were doing to keep their work going during these uncertain times.
To be completely honest with you? I was surprised by the response. Most of them told me they have other jobs! “I just do this for fun,” one said. “I am a tax attorney”, another explained. “I am not really trying to be a mascot at the moment,” I heard over and over again.
I was appalled.
Our work matters. We’re an essential part not just of the gameday experience, but also of the communities. That responsibility doesn’t start when fans come through the gates at CompUSA Financial Credit Union Park, and it doesn’t stop when they head home after the Morgan & Sons Personal Injury Attorneys Fireworks show. It’s a calling, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Without Floppo, why, Marysburg would just be a town like any other. But there was one sentiment from one of my so-called fellow mascots that really honked my horn.
“Why don’t you just do something else until baseball comes back?”
Maybe you’re thinking the same thing. Maybe I should just take off this silly costume and go work at the unemployment office or drive for UberEats or something. But there’s something you have to understand about Floppo — it’s what makes me the best mascot in the whole darn MCL, but it’s also what makes these times so uncertain.
This isn’t a costume.
Listen, I don’t understand it any better than you do. I don’t know where I came from. I don’t know who my parents were, or if I even have parents. I don’t remember anything before I burst out of that comically-oversized moonrock before that game against Somerstown. I just know that I’m seven feet tall, blue, I have flippers for hands, and my rear end honks when squeezed. I have lived in the bowels of CUFCU Park my entire life, consuming a steady diet of stale hot dog buns, beer foam and peanut shells. I don’t know why I was brought to this world, and I don’t know if I can be killed. I just know that I love baseball, and I love annoying fans trying to enjoy it.
It’s been quiet around the ballpark with no fans, players or gameday personnel. The first few weeks, I was lonely, and I was hungry. The hot dogs ran out pretty quickly, and I thought it might be the end for ol’ Floppo. I was in a pit of despair deeper than I’d ever had — worse than any loss, worse than any dog bite. It was ghostly quiet, with not a single soul I could implore to make some noise.
But then something remarkable happened. Wildlife began returning. Hawks alit on the light towers above the park. A flock of wild sheep passed through the parking lot. Deer began grazing in the outfield, peacefully lingering in the lengthening grass. I began to consider that nature was healing itself.
It was a beautiful moment.
I developed quite a taste for those deer. I’m surprisingly fast, you know, and you never see quite how long my teeth are during my gameday antics. I began to relish the hunt. I’d lurk in the bullpen, waiting for them to be caught unaware. I’ve become very good at it. I fear that when baseball returns, I won’t be able to go back to my old ways. I’ve had the taste of blood now.
And I like it.
— Floppo, Mascot of the Marysburg MudHuckers Low-A Baseball Team
As dictated to Scott Hines (@actioncookbook)