Derek Doi -- YouTubeThe rally bear
In his younger days, Mark Monninger worked as a minor league mascot. For about five years, he played the role of Tremor for the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. But he never made it to the big leagues, and hung up the Quakes' dinosaur suit to focus on his furniture business.
This year, however, Monninger turned 50. He decided it was time to give it one last shot. He tried to persuade the Dodgers and Angels to hire him as a mascot. But when they turned him down, he realized he would have to go rogue.
The rest is Dodgers history...
"The only way I'm gonna make this happen is if I jump out and do it," Monninger told the Weekly.
Monninger picked out the bear suit at a costume shop because it looked cute and it fit. Last night, he wore it under his clothes to the Dodger playoff game. He concealed the bear head in a backpack, and took his seat behind the Cardinal dugout.
Derek Doi was seated nearby, and noticed Monninger's bear pants peeking out at the ankles.
"What's up with the bear pants?" Doi's friend asked.
"Oh, you'll see," Monninger replied.
In the eighth inning, Monninger took off his khakis, donned the bear head, and made a beeline for the dugout roof. He did a split, and waved his arms to fire up the crowd. His antics were captured on the TV broadcast and picked up by news outlets across the country. The "Rally Bear" was an instant celebrity.
"I thought it was awesome," says Doi, who captured the whole thing on video and posted it to YouTube. "The guy was trying to get the crowd all pumped up."
Doi was not alone. There's already a petition on Change.org
calling on the Dodgers to welcome the "Rally Bear" as an unofficial mascot.
No word yet from the Dodgers about that, but the team's initial reaction was not favorable.
Security guards took Monninger below the stadium. There, in lieu of arresting him, they had him sign a statement affirming that he would not come back to Dodger Stadium for six months. The statement was also videotaped.
Monninger was then taken in a squad car and dropped off outside the stadium grounds, where a friend picked him up.
"I knew I was probably going to get tossed out," he told the Weekly. "They were nice to me. I think they were just kind of embarrassed, like 'How did this guy get into the stadium?'"
Monninger said he did this once before, wearing the exact same suit to the Dodgers' final regular season home game. On that occasion, Monninger did not go on the dugout roof, instead trying to fire up the crowd from the aisles before security nabbed him and told him to leave.
Monninger says what happens next to his career as a mascot is out of his hands now.
"I'm glad people are excited," he said. "Now it's up to the Dodgers or the fans to decide if they want me to do it [on a regular basis]. Whether it's a dog or a bear, I don't care. I think it would be a good addition to the team."
Update: Here's a statement from Dodgers PR guy Steve Brener:
"We do not allow fans to be on top of the dugouts or on the field as per our code of conduct played prior to the start of the game.
You cannot enter Dodger Stadium in a costume that covers your face. He did not enter the stadium in costume, but changed after entering the stadium. He was charged with trespassing and he cannot return to the stadium."
To clarify: According to Monninger, he wasn't actually "charged" with anything. Dodgers security told him, however, that he will be arrested for trespassing if he comes back.