In the wild kingdom of baseball mascots — the Phillie Phanatic, Mr. Met, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Fredbird and more — is perched a formidable figure in lime-green shag fur: the Pirate Parrot, entertaining fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates since the team’s 1979 World Series season.We touched base with the Parrot through his wingman, Alex Collins, 32, an Indiana University-Bloomington grad who has been right there with the Parrot for every home game — and never once put up a squawk.
American Way: It can’t be easy being green. How would you describe the Parrot’s appearance?
Alex Collins: In a class of his own, compared to other birds. Because of his googly, crossed eyes and his robust belly, fans laugh at him for his looks. But then they laugh hysterically when you add that to his comedic antics.
AW: I hear the Parrot does good deeds.
AC: For the past three years, the Pirate Parrot has driven a Can-Am Spyder across the state to raise money and awareness for the Western Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Foundation. To date, we’ve donated almost $40,000 to the foundation because of the generosity of our fans.
AW: How do the Parrot and the Pirates players get along?
AC: [Outfielder] Andrew McCutchen and the Parrot have a secret handshake that is unique to only the two of them. It usually takes place during pregame.
AW: Cool — I guess he will never be mistaken for an actual Pirates player.
AC: Well, you never know. I’ve also helped the Parrot to mimic Cutch’s look with his very own dreadlocks, Oakley sunglasses and a custom jersey with “McClucken” on the back.