A new season of Santa Fe Fuego baseball is bringing an unexpected new addition to the mascot lineup that has a lot of fans asking questions.
The games are a summer favorite for the locals and so is “Pepper,” the team’s loveable dragon mascot.
But as the Fuego just announced on social media this week, Pepper will soon by joined by a new mascot with a fiery, angry look.
The so-far unnamed mascot is set to debut with the Fuego’s 2019 season starting next Thursday, May 30 at Fort Marcy Ball Park.
The bright orange mascot is unique, with a head covered in large flame-like spikes, evoking a fiery, flaring sun. On its face, the mascot has a furrowed brow with white and red eyes and a large teeth-gritting grin.
The new mascot’s appearance is a stark contrast to that of “Pepper,” the large red dragon that normally roams the ball park during Fuego games.
“We have lots of kids that just adore him,” said Yvonne Encinias, general manager of the Santa Fe Fuego. “He’s probably the most requested person out at the field in everyday out on a daily basis.”
Despite that popularity, the team said it wanted to welcome a new mascot with a different, but still fun-spirited personality.
“He means business!” Encinias said of the new mascot’s look.
“We just decided to bring in a new addition to the family to give Pepper some company.”
Online, the new fireball mascot’s appearance has gotten a lot of fans’ attention for better or worse. While some fans just wrote about being excited to go to games, others flexed an opinion of the orange guy.
“Pepper is better,” one commenter wrote, fearing kids were “going to be scared.”
Another fan wrote, “Y’all doing Pepper dirty.”
Laughing at the reactions Friday, Encinias says she thinks fans will take to the new mascot soon after they see it in person.
“You know if you see it in person, the picture doesn’t really do it justice, so he doesn’t look as scary,” said Encinias.
The team also says the new sun mascot will not replace Pepper, but instead work alongside him.
They’re not too worried about the sun scaring kids, either.
“I think it will be more of a silliness than a scary, and that’s what we’re trying to, we’ll try to get across,” said Encinias.
Ultimately, the team hopes kids and family can have more fun with another mascot, no matter how mean his grin might look.
“It’s all about the person who’s in character,” said Encinias.
The team says the idea for the new mascot actually came from fans who for years have asked the team for a fireball-like mascot.
The Fuego’s summer season starts Thursday, May 30 at Fort Marcy Ball Park in Santa Fe. Kids under six are free while all other tickets are $7 each.