fe – atomic number 26, the chemical symbol for Iron
ferrous – of, relating to, or containing iron
FeRROUS – IronPigs uniform number 26 and the undisputed heavyweight champion* of IronPigs’ enthusiasm.
*(disclaimer: Certainly FeRROUS’ partner in swine, FeFe is also an enthusiastic champion but it’s just never proper to call a woman a ‘heavyweight’ and I don’t wish to be become one with the mud!)
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with The Best Friend of FeRROUS for some informative Pork Tales. FeRROUS’ Best Friend pretty much experiences every wallow FeRROUS does, straightens his hat and even ties his shoes.
So, without further ado, here’s a dirty dozen regarding everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about the IronPigs “Head Swinertainer”.
DiPro: Not only are you FeRROUS’ best friend, but were formerly the best friend of Avalanche, The Golden Bear, and Kutztown University’s mascot.
Question #1: Describe your relationship with Avalanche, and what you might have learned that you were able to pass along to FeRROUS.
FeRROUS’ Best Friend: Well, it’s just like any friendship starts, you kind of get acquainted with that person, I got acquainted with Avalanche, saw him at different events, appearances, and then there was an opportunity that came up that I could become better friends, close friends with Avalanche. So I took that opportunity, and through that I met a lot of really cool people, did a lot of really neat things, and thought I want to pursue this further and maybe find a professional friend. Avalanche was trained by David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic.
Question #1a: Mr. Raymond also designed Avalanche correct?
He did. He designed the Golden Bear and he designed FeRROUS as well. So I took a lot of what Dave did when he was the Phanatic, and kind of introduced that into my relationships with both Avalanche and FeRROUS here at the IronPigs.
Question #2: Does FeRROUS have a background, birthplace, etc.?
FeRROUS was found on a local farm in the Lehigh Valley, back in 2007 before the team started in ’08. They were searching for a pig that would resemble the Lehigh Valley, what the Lehigh Valley is about. And so, they found a ferocious pig, a pig that was enthusiastic and passionate and they found there the pigs they wanted.
Well, I know FeRROUS was really excited … the new look, he unfortunately didn’t lose weight through it but he was able to become a bit livelier. He’s able to be more mobile and get around to all the fans a bit easier this way.
Question #4: Who would you say is FeRROUS’ biggest influence and how would you sort of describe his personality if you had to equate it to something else in the world, a cartoon character perhaps.
Ok, I don’t know, that’s a tough one… it’s always easy to relate it to other I guess, mascots, he’s always a close relation to the Phanatic, that’s kind of his role model or his idol if you will, another character, I don’t know, he’s a bit slapstick comedy I don’t know another character, that’s tough… maybe Goofy.
Question #5: For FeRROUS, how much do you think is entertainment versus athleticism?
I would say 75-25, entertainment 75, athleticism 25. There are a few stunts, that he does, whether it be climbing down off the dugout, or whether it be falling off the ATV or jumping off the ATV, or doing rolls or flips, but most of it’s just comedy and entertainment.
Question #6: Do you and FeRROUS ever train together and is there anything during the off season that helps him keep his “shape”.
He and I hit the gym, infrequently, irregularly, we’d like to do it more often if we could. We had considered doing, maybe some circus training, juggling training, and maybe taking some dance classes on the side.
Question #7: Who would you say, over time, would be FeRROUS’s favorite player he has interacted with, whether it be IronPigs, opposing player, maybe even an umpire, who might stick out in his memory?
One of FeRROUS’s favorites, hmm… there have been actually several IronPigs players and opposing players, or opposing teams. A fan favorite and FeRROUS favorite, Rich Thompson, he was always friendly with the fans, friendly with FeRROUS, so they did things on and off the field. Coaches are a little tough, because they’re more about the sport rather than the entertainment.
DiPro: No Tommy Lasorda incidents?
No Tommy Lasorda yet, [Dave] Brundage and I are good, [Rye] Sandberg and I were pretty good, actually his wife got close with FeRROUS at one point, and he had some fun times with that.
Question #8: How about any embarrassing or extremely funny moments that might have happened to FeRROUS?
FeRROUS likes to drive his ATV on the field, and one day he saw the Phanatic, jump over the mound on the ATV, so FeRROUS figured, “If the Phanatic can do it, I can do it” so he gunned it across from first to third, jumped over the pitcher’s mound, landed it and was thrilled and excited. But he was then met on the field with a very angry Bill Butler, and Bill was very passionate about his field, and his field design, he did a great job with his designs. So Bill yelled at him, in front of 10,000 fans sternly warning him “Don’t ever jump the pitcher’s mound again.” So from that day on, FeRROUS has not jumped the pitcher’s mound.
Question #9: Speaking of ATVs, FeRROUS versus MeLVin, ATV race, who wins?
I would definitely say FeRROUS. He is a little more reckless though, so that might put him into a bit of a circumstance, I think that MeLVin has better handling when it comes to small turns and slippery tracks.
Question #10: Fair enough … We spoke previously about the Phillie Phanatic, the hall of fame, Phillie Phanatic, what does FeRROUS think of working with the Phanatic, and what are some things he may have learned from him.
FeRROUS loves working with the Phanatic any place, whenever he can, whether it be here at home, or at Citizens Bank Park, being invited up for his birthdays, or a playoff push. Some things FeRROUS has taken away, is definitely the whammy. Playing the whammy on home or opposing players, whether it be to encourage them, or distract them, they both use their very big gut to their full advantage, the two use that often, and I think just some different mannerisms. We both enjoy crowd interaction and the way they maneuver through the crowd, is very interesting and similar.
Question #11: Inquiring minds want to know, FeRROUS and FeFe, dating or not?
The way that FeRROUS likes to describe it to me is that, almost like as if it was complicated on Facebook. They’re friends, but FeRROUS is obviously a pig, so he likes to entertain different ideas.
Someone who eventually wants to have their own best friend? Just be yourself, inside and out, it’s a great avenue for those who are normally reserved. If this is something that interests you, there’s plenty of places that you can do it, at your high school, college level, there’s plenty of businesses or corporations that are looking for a mascot, volunteers or paid positions, so try it out and do it, and hopefully it can be something that you enjoy in the long run. It doesn’t always pay well, but it’s just a really fun hobby and fun job, so be yourself and don’t be afraid to do something, don’t be afraid with something that might restrict you, just use a different avenue to get out there.
Many thanks to FeRROUS’ best friend for spending his valuable time with us. He’s off to fill FeRROUS’ trough for a quick wallow.