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Johnny Damon: Get Used to Covid Positives in MLB, Mascots Reprieve

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Jun/25/2020

Two-time World Series champion Johnny Damon joined the "Fox News Rundown" podcast Thursday to discuss Major League Baseball's plans to play a 60-game regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic and what that could mean for the players.


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"It's going to be exciting, I mean, 60 games," Damon said in an interview with Jessica Rosenthal. "These guys can get off to a hot start and stay there and whoever gets off to the best start, I mean, they have the best chance to hold it together and end up winning because most of these teams are actually very close to each other as far as talent."

"And I just hope everything stays on track because I know there's more positive cases that are going to keep popping up," Damon added. "I just hope that people don't keep getting scared of it, and I guess I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't take a step back from all the hard work that the American people have done."

He said it is "going to happen" in regard to positive tests for coronavirus popping up.

"People are going to be affected by this," Damon said. "But I think most of the baseball players who don't have the underlying health issues, they're going to come out of it and not even know that they have it.

"But," Damon added, "you also have to worry about their families ... people with health issues and also the older generation, like my mother. She's almost 80 years old and we've been very careful with her the entire time."

Mascots Get Reprieve - Now Allowed in Ball Parks

(AP) - 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.

We’ll see what that means for the Sausage Race in Milwaukee and the dashing Presidents in Washington. Maybe they can stay socially distant, sprinting through the upper decks.

No telling yet whether Mr. Met and Mrs. Met need to keep their distance. Now unmuzzled, no doubt, we’ll see plenty of masked mascots across the majors.

On television, that is. When MLB starts the season next month, fans won’t be allowed in the ballparks.

“I applaud MLB for this change,” Raymond said Tuesday. “They had said we were nonessential, but that’s not true.”

“We’ve become part of the fabric of the game, engaging and entertaining the fans,” he said.

A former punter at the University of Delaware, Raymond was working as an intern with the Phillies when he turned the oversized, green Phanatic into Philadelphia’s most popular figure.

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.”

- Ben Walker Reporting

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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