Bat-dog Rookie named Eastern League's winner in Mascot Mania competition, advances in fan voting
Rookie, the son of current Thunder bat dog Derby and grandson of original retriever Chase, was announced Monday as the Eastern League's winner in MiLB.com's annual fan-voted Mascot Mania competition, and the pup is now squared off with 13 other league-winning mascots in a week-long showdown of the people to determine the overall champion.
Neither of the last two Mascot Mania champions, nor any other Baby Bombers brethren, made the finals, but Rookie still faces stiff competition from several; among the other 13 finalists are two Mets mascots - South Atlantic League winner Gnate the Gnat from Savannah and New York-Penn League winner Sandy the Seagull from the Brooklyn Cyclones - as well as distant Philly Phanatic cousin Phinley, the Clearwater Threshers' shark mascot who was last year's overall runner-up and this year beat Tampa Yankees favorite Blue to win a second straight Florida State League crown.
Although Phinley was the leading vote-getter in the league round, the 14 finalists will now start fresh in the Championship Round, which runs from August 4-11 on MILB.com.
The winner will be announced next week, and you can vote for Rookie (or any of your other favorite mascots) in two ways; fans can vote an unlimited amount of times at the Mascot Mania page on MiLB.com, and can register votes via Twitter up to 25 times daily by using a mascot's hashtag - which, for Thunder manager Tony Franklin's new canine friend, is #VoteRookieThunder.