In between innings, the mascot was relied on for entertainment. Major League Baseball’s only sideshow was the mascot, or several in some cases, like the Brewers’ [Klement's] Racing Sausages. But in 2003, the Marlins unveiled the Mermaids, making the Fish the first MLB team to have cheerleaders.
In 2008, the Marlins unveiled the Marlins Manatees, a ‘fatty’ all-male dance/energy squad. The squad of large men brought some attention with stories from NBC’s Today Show, CNN Headline News, Inside Edition (CBS), FOX News, AOL.com and from other major newspapers and television networks around the country.
Sadly, the mid-game entertainment from the Manatees will not be returning in 2012.
The Miami New Times is reporting that members of the Manatees have confirmed the Marlins have asked that they not return for mid-game entertainment next year.
“It’s cold,” said Angel ‘Chubbalicious’ Villarreal to the Miami New Times. “We stood by them when times were tough and got people to go to the stadium. Now the Manatees are getting the rug pulled out from under them.”
The Manatees were paid with access to a pre-game buffet during the first couple of seasons of existence, but then the front office threw in $40-$50 per game, according to the Miami New Times. They also report that the Mermaids’ return is uncertain.
You have to ask yourself, these men, and now, these women are part of the Marlins’ fan base and small history. I know we’ve re-branded to the “Miami Marlins,” rather than the Florida Marlins, but how much does it cost you to keep the small amount of fun? You can easily make all of the Mermaids’ and Manatees’ paycheck on Opening Day 2012 through a single concession stand.
And they’ve already recolored Billy The Marlin. Although so many positives come out of the re-branding, it’s safe to say almost all the fans will miss the entertainment provided by the Manatees.
If you wish to contribute to the effort to bringing back the Manatees, there’s a Facebook page you can ‘like’ to help.
-Derek (Source: Gus Garcia-Roberts [Miami New Times blog])