Interview with the Mud HenWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | email@example.com
As the Toledo Mud Hens prepare for another campaign on the diamond, Toledo Free Press arranged a conversation with the baseball club’s venerable mascot, Muddy Mud Hen. In person, Muddy exudes much of the silent charm he exhibits in photographs. His bulk is as expected, but he moves swiftly for one of such girth. On the day we met, his yellow feathers were preened and his Mud Hens jersey was clean and pressed.
Toledo Free Press: You seem a bit nervous.
Muddy: Well, I’m not supposed to be working with you. There’s a Blockade, you know.
TFP: I know, and I appreciate your cooperation and time. Are you feeling fit and prepared for another season? You’ll be entertaining fans from now through September, hopefully deep into September.
Muddy: I’m ready. I did some Atkins in the off-season, started yoga sessions with Mudonna. I feel good.
TFP: What else do you do in the off-season?
Muddy: There’s a lot of personal appearances, charity stuff, children’s events. I stay on schedule. There are not many places a 7-foot, bright yellow Mud Hen can go and blend in. The last time I slipped across to The Blarney and tried to squeeze into a booth, all the drinkers kept taking pictures with their cell phone cameras and plucking feathers. I tried to take Mudonna to a movie at Westfield, but we had to buy four seats to squeeze into and the people behind us were mad because they couldn’t see.
TFP: Are you hungry for another title or content with two trophies in three years?
Muddy: To win back-to-back cups was amazing, but that just made me hungrier for more. Mudonna and I have been ecstatic.
TFP: Is Mudonna your wife, or sister, or what? You two have kind of a Jack and Meg White vibe.
Muddy: We’re just good friends. People shouldn’t assume.
TFP: You are the only two 7-foot bright yellow birds in Lucas County.
Muddy: You haven’t been to Woodville Mall lately, have you? [Muddy stops to dig a bug from under his wing with his beak.] Sorry.
TFP: No problem. Since you’re eating, what do you think of the new foods at Fifth Third Field this year?
Muddy: Top-shelf stuff. There’s a Stadium Salsa Dog, a Jalapeño Cheddar Bratwurst, a Fried German Bologna Sandwich, and for those who fly healthier, a gourmet spinach salad with goat cheese croutons.
TFP: There is a wall of Walleye merchandise at the Swamp Shop. Have you met the Walleye yet?
Muddy: We had dinner at The Docks the night before they unveiled the logo. Nice guy.
TFP: Is he ready?
Muddy: This is a tough town. It’s not easy to gain acceptance and become part of the culture. Even once you do, there are those who don’t respect your achievements, and that can be frustrating.
TFP: Speaking of logos, your illustration had a major overhaul a few years ago.
Muddy: Yeah, I’d been putting off the plastic surgery for a few years, and I was starting to get pressure from the front office to slim down, look edgier and be more “extreme.”
TFP: Was the work done locally?
Muddy: I got hooked up through some Beverly Hills connections. It’s been a popular update, but I’m happy that a lot of the older me stuff still says.
TFP: The pear-shaped Muddy’s a classic.
Muddy: And reflects a lot of Toledoans, too.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.