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Fans turn attention elsewhere

Now that the Major League Baseball season has been postponed indefinitely, it doesn’t seem possible that we had almost a month of spring training before COVID-19 pulled the plug.

But all baseball fans need to keep the game alive in their hearts and minds. Today was supposed to be opening day for MLB. The Indians were to host the Tigers at Progressive Field.

But since live human players can’t take the field, two traditions linked to the pastime — mascots and bobbleheads — help to fill the void.

Today, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, in conjunction with the manufacturer of MLB merchandise, is honoring the three mascots who regularly run the race after the fifth inning of games at Progressive Field.

Beginning today fans can purchase limited edition bobbleheads featuring the participants of the Hot Dog Derby, sponsored by Sugardale — Ketchup, Mustard and Onion. The bobbleheads were produced for the Hall of Fame by MLB licensee FOCO.

Each of the smiling hot dog race bobbleheads is sold on its own base in a racing pose. There are only 2,019 made and they are available for $40 each, or $100 for each set of three, plus a flat shipping fee through Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. Log onto www.bobbleheadhall.com.

The Hot Dog Derby race in Cleveland started in 2007, according to Bobblehead co-founder Phil Sklar. After the fifth inning is completed, the three mascot participants enter from left field and continue around the warning track, finishing just past the first-base dugout.

Ketchup’s thick-rimmed glasses are in honor of Charlie Sheen’s character Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn from the movie “Major League.”

“No one knows when the MLB season will start, but we wanted to give fans a reason to smile and something to look forward to on what would have been Opening Day,” Sklar said. “The Hot Dog Derby is a fan favorite in Cleveland, and these unique bobbleheads will remind fans all year of the fun they have at the ballpark with their friends, family and fellow Indians fans.”

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, is located at 170 S. First St. in Milwaukee, and opened to the public Feb. 1, 2019.

“We’re the only museum in the world dedicated to bobbleheads. We currently have over 6,500 unique bobbleheads from all genres and periods on display,” Sklar said.

Ohio is very well represented thanks to the contribution of “Bobblehead” Bob Manak from Cleveland. “We have a plaque honoring Manak and his contribution,” Sklar said.

Shortly before he died in March 2017, Manak donated his collection of more than 1,500 bobbleheads to the museum in Milwaukee. He died at age 57 of colon cancer. He was a graduate of Kent State where Drew Carey was one of his fraternity brothers.

It’s too bad Manak isn’t around today so he could line up his bobbleheads to take the field. Here’s hoping one day soon, the live players will be able to do so.

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