He’s a softy in a hardball world, a lovable figure who reduces adults to childlike clamoring for hugs and high-fives.
“We think Paws is the coolest cat in town,” says Joel Scott, senior director of promotions and in-game entertainment for the Tigers. Scott says the team mascot is quick on his feet, loves kids, and has an ability to ad-lib.
All those traits help with ballpark duties as well as the nearly 150 appearances each year at birthday parties, parades, schools, wedding receptions, and company picnics.
But what do we really know about the furry giant who roams Comerica Park dancing and embracing strangers?
The normally silent mascot “paused” to speak just as the Tigers were cruising toward the All-Star break. A mild-mannered Clark Kent-type accounting employee by day, Paws keeps his answers brief.
Résumé: “I’ve been doing ‘mascotting’ since 1999, when I was Buster for the Western Michigan Broncos and Sparky for the Motor City Mechanics.”
Favorite Tiger: “Curtis Granderson.”
Favorite souvenir: “The All-Star baseballs I get every year.”
Favorite refreshment: “Water.”
Favorite part of the game: “The seventh-inning stretch.”
Favorite game-day clothes (under the fur): “Shorts and a tank-style shirt.”
Favorite area of Comerica Park: “The garage door in right field.”
Sweetest part of the job: “When the little kids come to the ballpark for the first time and you’re in that first photograph.”
Colleagues: “I’ve been to cheer champ with Sparty and the Wisconsin Badger.”
Secret identity: “I don’t tell too many people.”
Male or female?: Paws is male. “I’ve had women grab my paws to see if I have long fingernails.”
Best part of the job: “I get to be the host of the ballpark.”