All it took was a lapse in judgment for Mr. Met to gain a big dose of notoriety.
The person in the funny-looking mascot costume of the New York Mets flashed a "middle" finger at a fan during a loss Wednesday night to the Milwaukee Brewers, and after somebody tweeted video of the incident it went viral online. The Mets quickly issued a statement saying the person behind the baseball head would no longer serve in that role.
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Not a surprise.
"Just about every professional baseball position expects the employee to be able to handle a highly stressful environment with a lot of work and very little thanks and very little pay," Erin Blank, who in her heyday as the Detroit Tigers mascot PAWS was rated as the best mascot in Michigan, said Thursday. "I would have loved to have been the fly on the wall to know what set the poor ball off.
"It can be a very, very rough job," Blank said. "Obviously, the Mets fans are known for their depth of knowledge of baseball and their unflagging loyalty to the team. I can certainly appreciate the humanity of the mascot in the situation."
It seems as if those who decide to don the get-up of team mascots often have a tendency to get a little mischievous -- and more.
The Mr. Met of Wednesday night might be gone, but he won't soon be forgotten. And neither will the devilish deeds of mascots before him.
Ted Giannoulas, a.k.a. the San Diego Chicken , was one of the first. His shenanigans often irked players -- in 1979 Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella threw his glove and screamed at the cantankerous chicken on the way out to his defensive position during a loss in Seattle -- and paved the way for copycats.
The Phillie Phanatic became the Chicken's incarnation on the East Coast, and his run-in with former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda has had a life of its own. It happened in 1988, and 17 years later Lasorda posted "I hate the Phillie Phanatic" on his blog (see full story).
Marlins: Power trio helps spark recent surge
MIAMI -- The way the Miami Marlins' power trio has been swinging, the ball flies off the bat -- even Ichiro Suzuki's.
Justin Bour, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna went into the Marlins' weekend series against Arizona with a combined 43 homers. That included two Ozuna hit this week after borrowing Suzuki's bat.
Bour was tied for second in the NL in homers through Wednesday with 15. Stanton and Ozuna were tied for fifth with 14 each. All are on pace to break the franchise record of 42 homers by Gary Sheffield in 1996.
There's a friendly competition among the three sluggers.
"We give each other a hard time," Bour said. "Ozuna likes to say `How many have you got?' whenever he hits a home run. So whenever I pass him I give him a hard time. He was saying a lot to me early on when I had like one home run and he had 30, so it's good to get somewhere close to him."
The tight race for the team lead may be the reason Ozuna went looking for a new bat. He borrowed Suzuki's on Tuesday, mindful of the 10-time All-Star's career total of 4,319 hits in the majors and Japan
"He's got 4,000 hits," Ozuna said. "I told him, `Hey, can I get 1,000 with your bat?'"
The loaner produced a homer and three hits in the first game Ozuna used it, and another homer in his first at-bat Wednesday.
Then he set it aside and got two more hits with his own bat.
"What's he thinking?" manager Don Mattingly said with a laugh. He could smile because a recent flurry of homers by the Marlins helped them win four consecutive games, improving their record to 21-30 (see full story).
Marlins: Team starts trust fund for Fernandez's daughter, mom
MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins have established a trust fund for the mother and 3-month-old daughter of their late ace, Jose Fernandez.
Marlins president David Samson said Thursday that the fund will be used to pay all education costs for Fernandez's daughter, Penelope. Money also will be allocated annually for Fernandez's mother, Maritza. Samson declined to discuss the amount involved.
Fernandez and two others died in a boat crash last September.
Samson visited Fernandez's family last weekend and said Penelope looks like her father.