This is Mascot Week. All week. I am featuring some of my favorite fuzzy creatures.
Rusty the RailCat debuted for the Gary RailCats in 2002. His backstory reveals he grew up near the tracks in Gary and fell in love with baseball, catnip and hot dogs.
For his first 15 years of existence, Rusty had a big tummy (aided by a lot of padding inside the suit). During the 2017 season, the organization decided the Rusty needed a new costume. At the same time, health insurance provider Anthem signed on as Rusty's sponsor. It only made sense to give Rusty a new trimmed-down look.
The new costume was no longer all fur, like the previous one. Instead, fur was replaced by mesh under the jersey. This made the costume cooler under the sun, and also allowed Rusty to model special jerseys and shirts. It was the perfect marriage of form meets function.
Rusty makes appearances away from the ballpark, too, but you'll never see a duplicate Rusty. There is only one Rusty appearance at any given time.
I had the pleasure of meeting Rusty at a Chicago Bandits game. Rusty and several other fuzzy friends were there to celebrate Bandits mascot Swiper's birthday.
Rusty and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2017.