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Grover Really Ought to be Doing this One

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Since Grover is sitting out the World Series do to selfishness -- Oh sure, he will tell you it's not in his contract but I am not buying it.  If you ask me he is too busy making personal appearances to care about us.

This leaves me to do the mascot report since he went on the birthday cake circuit.

So how do Grover and his mascot buddies spend all their time in the off-season, apparently counting their money.

Major League Baseball's mascots, the big-headed critters that gyrate atop dugouts, include a moose, horse, marlin, parrot and seal.

Every one of them also qualifies as a cash cow.

This year's World Series participants, the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox, are among the big-league teams that recently began charging as much as $500 an hour for mascot appearances at birthday parties, weddings and functions for companies

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Florida's mascot, Billy the Marlin, makes some 450 appearances a year, says Gary Levy, the team's director of in- game entertainment. The Marlins charge $350 an hour for the mascot with the big teal head.

Keep the Change

No one benefited more from Florida's success than John Routh, 46, who donned the Billy the Marlin costume when the team won its first World Series in 1997 and worked through the 2002 season. Back then, the team allowed Routh to keep all of his off- field income.

``After we won in '97, I must've done 120 appearances by Christmas,'' Routh says, declining to specify his earnings. ``When you win a title, people want a piece of the championship no matter what.''

The Marlins won the World Series again in 2003, though Routh's replacements weren't as fortunate. Nowadays, the Marlins split appearance money with the mascot. The team's portion, which amounts to what Levy described as ``a decent amount,'' goes to the team's charitable foundation.

$350 to $500 an hour?!?  I need a costume, stat. It is now official, the career counselors at my high school sucked.