A quick post, from the world of mascots.
The Miami Marlins have terminated the mascot performer who has been Billy the Marlin. Billy himself has not been axed, only the guy who brought him to life.
I know that in the scheme of things, firing the guy who puts on a plastic head and acts a fool at games isn’t too exciting, but it shows a pattern of what we in my family called “cheap-ing out”. I highly doubt that the guy who played Billy the Marlin cost all that much. And while I know I’d do just about anything to be a professional mascot, a REAL professional mascot performer is actually part actor, part cheerleader, part PR agent, and part athlete of a sort. It gets damn hot in those costumes, guys. I was a penguin mascot a few times for a job I had when I was a teenager and it wasn’t easy, but it sure was fun. And hot.
Billy the Marlin isn’t one of my favorite mascots. Not in the least. However, I think everyone knows by now that I truly love mascots and I have a real appreciation for the art of mascotting. When you’ve been the same character for as long as the guy who played Billy was, you have ownership of the character in a way. You breathe life into him. You connect with the fans, even the players!
It’s just sad. Mascot jobs don’t come around very often. I hope that the Guy Who Played Billy the Marlin can find another job as fulfilling and rewarding as this one.