New Royals Mascot Reportedly Training to Avoid Further Hot-Dog Incidents

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TMZ is reporting that the Kansas City Royals have selected the next person who will wear the Sluggerrr mascot costume, and that the new guy is planning to go through a "mascot boot camp" run by Dave Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic.

Whether the previous Sluggerrr was released because he allegedly hit a fan in the eye with a bratwurst, or had simply reached the end of his term, is unclear.

Raymond said he would be teaching the new occupant of the lion costume the "ways of the air gun" as well as putting him through other drills that emphasize mascot safety.  In 2008, the New York Times reported on Raymond's mascot business, in which he helps design and create new mascot costumes in addition to training the performers and helping educate executives in marketing techniques.  He was paid $25 a game (about $2000 for the season) to be the Phanatic starting in 1978.  Now he charges $40,000 and up for mascot consulting.

The NYT article describes some of Raymond's business meetings, in terms that suggest he must have one of the best jobs around.  In a meeting with executives who were planning to start a minor-league hockey team called the Walleye, "[a] critical question was whether a giant yellow walleye should wear hockey shorts or go bare-bottomed, even if a fish does not really have a bottom."  He got another contract, from East Stroudsburg University, "after he borrowed a bear costume and barged in on the mascot committee's meeting with the university president."  I would encourage anyone applying for a job at Shook, Hardy and Bacon to try the same strategy.  Borrow a bear costume and barge in on a partner meeting.

It won't get you a job, but I absolutely encourage you to do it.

TMZ contacted an expert, the San Diego Chicken, for comment on the safety/boot camp story, but the Chicken would say only that "I don't handle air gun weaponry."  Sounds like at least one mascot has gotten some good legal advice.

Link: TMZ