There's great news today for fans who love furry things.
After reports of mascots not being allowed at ball parks during a shortened 2020 season surfaced back in May, there are now guidelines in MLB's 2020 Operations Manual that allow for mascots at ball parks this season but with some restrictions.
From section 4.3.5 of the manual:
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.
So obviously no 4-wheeler driving across the field this year. And it's not clear exactly where the "Restricted Area" will be, but it's great to know the Phanatic can at least be in the building. Get in the building first, make magic happen later -- no matter where he's positioned.
Plus, we already know the Phanatic takes the whole social distancing thing seriously.
Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but the Phanatic won't be entertaining any fans inside the ball park. Instead, he'll be there purely for entertaining fans sitting at home watching on television. And maybe messing with some opposing players? And some long-distance love glances at Bryce Harper, of course. This opens up a whole new world to the Galápagos Islands native. He can entertain us at home from literally anywhere as long as a camera can spot him.
Citizens Bank Park has plenty of open spaces for the Phanatic to graze and come up with some new hijinx. Assuming it's not part of the Restricted Area, he could literally have the entire run of Ashburn Alley to himself. I'm thinking a Phantic-sized slip-n-slide. Or the entire 200 level under the scoreboard in left field. Or the 300 level anywhere in the ball park. Maybe he'd like to dine at Harry the K's all by himself. The options are endless. And I'm pretty sure his famous maloiks move while an opposing pitcher is throwing works from any distance.
The Phanatic's original best friend, Dave Raymond, spoke to Jim Salisbury back in May about the importance of fun during these tough times.
"I would argue that in these serious times mascots are more essential than ever," Raymond said.
"I understand that fans can’t be in the stadiums, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still engage them through mascots and character brands. Baseball needs to be creative and carve out space for entertainment.”
The Phanatic isn't the only one with restrictions this season though. MLB players have lots of them which are outlined in the 100+ page document.