Baseball is back, and those two words are some that fans nearly thought they wouldn't hear this year. After months of negotiations, proposals and lots of drama, the league and players agreed on a return plan this week. There will be a 60-game MLB season with "spring" training beginning on July 1 and the regular season beginning in late July.
Starting a season amidst the coronavirus pandemic means new health protocols and safety measures for the managers, players, medical team and staff.
That's right, MLB did not overlook these fan favorites in their new health and safety protocol.
"Home Clubs may have their mascot in the ballpark if they choose, however under no circumstances are mascots permitted on the field of play or in any other Restricted Area on game days," the protocol reads.
Games will certainly look a lot different this season, with limited fans or no fans likely, but at least we will have some normalcy with the odd comedy often presented by mascots. They have been a staple at games since 1964, when Mr. Met was introduced for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
Currently, all but three teams have an "official" mascot: The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. Meanwhile five mascots with connections to MLB have the honor of being in the Mascot Hall of Fame (yes that is a real thing): Sluggerrr of the Kansas City Royals, the San Diego Chicken, the Phillie Phanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies, Mr. Met, and Cleveland Indian's Slider.