SI Vault
March 11, 1991
Trouble at Texas Football players may be using forged steroid prescriptions
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March 11, 1991


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About his scoop, McKeown says, "It was one of those things where everything went right, and we had a whole lot of luck—like Al Geiberger shooting a 59. It was the most remarkable thing I've ever done."

Mascot U
Baseball characters gather for their own spring training

In Clearwater, Fla., early this week, there was to be a one-day training session that would be for the birds—namely, the Pirate Parrot, the Cardinals' Fred Bird and just plain The Bird, the Orioles' mascot. Also planning to attend were the Phillie Phanatic, the Indians' Slider, Homer the Brave, the Astros' Orbit, the Mariner Moose and Tony the Tiger. Tony is not affiliated with the Detroit ball club but rather with Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, the sponsor of this seminar for baseball mascots.

Among the topics under consideration in the day's workshops: playing to the crowd, the use of mime, the use of body language, getting children involved and dealing with obnoxious fans. Mascots were to be videotaped and critiqued. In addition, they were scheduled to perform for fans attending a Phillie workout. Kellogg's was providing meals, lodging and other creature comforts.

The main instructor for the session was Andrew Burnstine, who teaches mime and clowning at New York University. (He is also an adjunct professor of fashion at Kent State University, but never mind.) "We'll be dealing with general issues, like how to turn a crying child into a laughing child," Burnstine said last week. "I'll also be teaching specific shticks. The most important thing to come out of this, though, will be the chance for these guys to share war stories with their counterparts."

Indeed, a chance to be with his own kind was one reason Tom Mosser, a 30-year-old illustrator who is the Pirate Parrot, was flying down to Florida. "It'll be kind of nice to meet other adults avoiding reality like I am," said Mosser. And what war story would the Parrot pass on to his colleagues? "Well, one time on a really hot day during a game against the Mets, I passed out at second base. Naturally, everybody thought it was part of the routine. I must have been out for five minutes. I finally got up, stumbled across the field and lay sprawled in an empty row of seats, in dire need of medical attention. The fans loved it."

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