Billy the Marlin will still be seen around Marlins Park this season even though the man under the costume will be different. The four other sea-dwelling creatures that have frequented the Marlins’ new ballpark since its inception aren’t so lucky.
As was first reported by radio host Andy Slater, the Marlins are canceling its midgame sea creature mascot race.
The Great Sea race, as it was called, began in 2012 with the opening of the Marlins’ new ballpark and featured four mascots: Bob the Shark, Julio the Octopus, Angel the Stone Crab and Spike the Sea Dragon. In the middle of the sixth inning, the four creatures emerged from a gate in center field before racing down the warning track to left-field corner and then turning for the finish line at third base.
Mascot races are nothing new in Major League Baseball. As of last season, 14 of the 30 MLB teams held midgame mascot races, with some of the more notable ones including the Washington Nationals’ Presidents Race and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Sausage Race.
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Marlins pitchers and catchers begin reporting for spring training on Wednesday with the first full-team workout set for Feb. 19 and the the first game of Grapefruit League action taking place on Feb. 23. The Marlins open the 2018 season — the first under new owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman — on March 29 against the Chicago Cubs.