This year, for the first time since the game was founded in 1948, the annual Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game will have an official mascot out on the field to cheer on one team or the other when a home run is hit or a great catch is made. It is a 7-foot-tall piping plover.
No national baseball team has a piping plover as a mascot. The Mets have Mr. Met, a baseball head up on top of a costumed cartoon character running around Citi Field. The Long Island Ducks baseball team has a 7-foot-tall duck as a mascot.
Piping plovers are little, skittery birds that you see out on the beaches, disrupting where Hampton beachgoers usually set down blankets by irresponsibly building their nests in those places, thus requiring that now fencing be placed around the nests to keep them from harm, since piping plovers are an endangered species.
This new mascot is the terrifying granddaddy of all piping plovers, and I found it in an online catalogue featuring pictures of wearable costumed mascots. The mascot is made in China and the company that makes it declares it to be an eagle, but I know a piping plover when I see one. It just sort of jumped out at me.
I ordered it on Amazon in June, figuring that would be ample time for them to get this piping plover before game day on Saturday, August 21 in Herrick Park behind the Stop & Shop in East Hampton.
Indeed, in the initial information about this thing, it said it could be delivered by June 28. So I ordered it. But then, when I pressed the button to make the order official, it told me it would be at my front door in a cardboard box somewhere between August 1 and August 15. I thought this August 15 date was pretty close to game day and if it were even just a little late we wouldn’t get it on time. So I chose to have expedited delivery for an extra $20, thinking they’d put a special sign on the box and I’d get it in a matter of days. But the $20 only earned me a statement that the mascot would arrive between August 1 and August 8. A week. So I crossed my fingers.
In late July, President Joe Biden laid down the law to the Chinese. They’d hacked our infrastructure. And I was really worried that the president would announce a moratorium on things from China and my piping plover might not get here at all. That would be bad. But then, a week later, still in July, the piping plover arrived.
One of my sons put the costume on and assumed a pose in front of our pool. He scowled. The scowl does not change. It is part of this character’s facial expression. No opposing team can possibly defeat us on this field. But he needs a first name.
Name our piping plover. The person submitting the best name we get before game day will receive a $50 gift certificate to the Union Sushi & Steak restaurant in Southampton.
Send your entry to [email protected]. I am on the board of the nonprofit that organizes the game and donates proceeds to The Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, Phoenix House Academy, The Retreat and East End Hospice. And Dan’s Papers is the presenting sponsor of the game.