'Bear back in business': Major League Baseball will allow mascots back for its upcoming spectator-less season

acollman@businessinsider.com (Ashley Collman)
INSIDER
The Phillie Phanatic performs before a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Pennsylvania on September 30, 2018.
The Phillie Phanatic performs before a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Pennsylvania on September 30, 2018.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

  • Mascots will be allowed in baseball stadiums when Major League Baseball starts its delayed season next month. 

  • In a draft manual sent out to teams last month, on how to operate to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread, the league had said that mascots should not return to work.

  • But the league reversed the decision in a final copy of the manual published this week.

  • Spectators will still not be allowed.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's back to the grindstone for Major League Baseball's resident jesters.

In a manual sent out to teams this week, on how to limit the risk of coronavirus when the season starts next month, the league said mascots are OK to return to work, according to The Associated Press (AP).

This is a reversal of policy from a draft of the manual that was sent out to teams last month, which said mascots should not be allowed in stadiums, for fear of spreading the virus.

Spectators will still not be allowed.

View of an empty Dodger Stadium on March 26, 2020, when they were meant to play the San Francisco Giants. The game was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
View of an empty Dodger Stadium on March 26, 2020, when they were meant to play the San Francisco Giants. The game was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It's still unclear how mascots will be used during the season. 

But Dave Raymond, who originally portrayed the Phillie Phanatic, said there's plenty of ways to get creative during this unusual season. 

"I can think right now of about five routines that I'd do. There are lots of things mascots can try," Raymond told the AP. "You could even have a camera follow them around the park the whole game. It'd be fun for fans, seeing what they do."

"I applaud MLB for this change," he added. "They had said we were nonessential, but that's not true."

Some of the MLB's mascots celebrated the news on social media.

The Oriole Bird posted a GIF showing him warming up on the sidelines of Camden Yards. 

Sluggerrr, the mascot of the Kansas City Royals, asked: "Does this mean I have to change out of my sweatpants?"

"Bear back in business," tweeted T.C. Bear, mascot of the Minnesota Twins. 

Opening Day for the 2020 season was meant to take place on March 26, 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is now scheduled to take place on either July 23 or 24, with training to begin on July 1. 

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