Who’s the Lion?



I told Theriot he better hope I have a good day at the plate or I might not show up as Alex the Lion at his son’s birthday party. I ended up hitting a home run late that game. I went over to one of those jungle gym-type places where they have birthday parties or whatever. I put on a pair of shorts that I thankfully brought, and put on the Alex the Lion costume from Madagascar. I sat there for five or 10 minutes trying to put the head on, trying to figure out how I was going to see out of this thing. I couldn’t see anything. I almost had to look out of the mouth so I could see the kids. I didn’t want to step on any kids — I didn’t want one of them crying.

I didn’t scare them. It was the whole Madagascar theme. I ended up getting in there and the kids loved it, and actually Freel split some time with me. It was one of the most miserable things I’ve ever done. We’ll leave it at this — I give a lot of credit to the people who are mascots. This was an air-conditioned room and I was like dripping with sweat. I couldn’t imagine being in the Phillie Phanatic costume in the middle of summer. I have a whole lot of respect for mascots.

— Reed


  1. cubbiegirls

    Sitting at work trying not to crack up in my cube. As a result, I have tears in my eyes.

    Those costumes ARE horrific. I occasionally did mascot work in high school and undergraduate. You should be thankful you don’t have hair as sometimes the headpieces really do a number on hair. The high school mascot headpiece I had was funky. It practically gave me instant rasta-head hair!

    And try getting flipped by cheerleaders in one of those outfits – totally no sense of where you are midair!

  2. lauraareed@gmail.com

    Oh my gosh, that is one of the funniest things I have read in awhile! It is so nice to hear that you guys are buddies off the field as well. And I love that you do this blog because it gives us fans some insight into your lives! Keep up the good work Reed – you are an amazing asset to this team and I hope you can keep the momentum going and spirits up. Oh and try to get a “W” today….it is my birthday!!! Go Cubbies!!!!

  3. lindseyyonker@hotmail.com

    Yeap I enjoyed this blog for sure!!!! Thanks Reed for keeping us entertained!!! I can attest to it being Laura’s Birthday today so please give us a W!!! We are your biggest fans:)

  4. sjj104@hotmail.com

    And a great day at the plate it was!!! I was fortunate enough to be in Chicago for the game and took the opportunity to show your blog some love with a “I Reed Between the Lines” sign that I waved like a mad woman as you rounded home plate. Just when you might have seen it, the guy sitting next to me craned his neck (translation: completely blocked my handiwork) to read what it said. But all was not lost…you rallied the team and your blog generated a few more hits! Go Cubs!

  5. abpets@aol.com

    roflmao…that is too funny! Hey, my twins have a birthday in September, I’ll hire you you to be Alex the Lion for them!! Heck, i’ll hire you to be Reed Johnson, Cubs player #9, they’d love that just as much!!! 🙂

  6. randyfan36

    Hey Reed,
    Oh how I would have loved to see that! I can just imagine it! Scene 1 (Reed sitting on red rubber block) (Reed looks at costume head) (Reed shakes costume head) (Reed stares at costume head) (Reed sniffles) (Reed puts on costume head) (Ryan walks in) (Ryan stifles a laugh) (Ryan hands Reed $100).
    Your a great guy Reed! Thanks for writing about your life outside baseball too. It’s cool when it’s coming straight from you!! I’m glad you have a blog!


  7. millirose

    Great game! I love when you are playing. This blog is great, I’m up early for work like always laughing my head off and getting funny looks. It is just past four am here. Thanks for doing this blog and showing us not only an insight to the baseball aspect, but also your personal lives. I would like to see a picture of this, too! I bet it was pretty funny. Happy Birthday to Houston! Let’s put another W up against the Dodgers today! Go Cubs Go!

  8. zvphreakvz@aol.com

    reed, this is your greatest blog yet. I think I speak for all of us when I ask, when do we get to see the pictures of this?

  9. nightninja88@yahoo.com

    Reed I just watched the suicide squeeze bunt you put down. BEAUTIFUL play. Textbook baseball. Home runs are fun and all, but I LOVE seeing that kinda stuff. Nice job!


  10. mhi2sense

    To Len:….. You don’t need a scoreboard keeper to pick your stocks… I’ll give ya some tips… I am waiting till Tuesday for all my cash to clear from trading actively and I buying a stock that I know will double by Earnings season in July… It’s the end of May and time to go away… So, I am buying long for the month of June…. All I ask in return is you say something on the air during the 7th inning about how we should have a 4 year elective in all of our high schools that teaches stock trading and small business ops… But, I will turn you on to what I am doing.. I am not an insider… But, I can show you what stocks and show you the research I did to come to my conclusions… you’ll make at least 50% by the end of July…

  11. mhi2sense

    nevermind… just realized the game is on Fox and that isn’t Len… Screw Joe Buck, He’s from St Louis… no wonder he needs help with his stocks..

  12. cobinwv3@aol.com

    Been there done that Reed! Was Deputy Dog for the sheriff’s department! Lots of fun but miserable heat! BUT the real reason for this post is to once again CONGRAGULATE you on another FINE preformance today! You were terrific!! I am soooo glad that you are a CUB and that you are seeing more playing time!!! Took ole Lou long enough!!!

    Congrats on the fantastic game and another CUBBIE VICTORY!!!

  13. millirose

    I commented this morning, but I had to congratulate you on the great job you did in today’s win against the Dodger’s! I love seeing you in the line-up. I think you should play everyday center and Fukudome and Bradley can share right. That’s where Fukudome is the best anyway and you are amazing in center. Great job! Just about everyone contributed to this win, I was disappointed that they intentionally walked Fontenot, he had a good chance at hitting for the cycle. He got the triple and the double, he’s good at singles and about due for another homer. 🙂 Let’s bring this same game tomorrow. Great pitching, great offense and excellent defense. Go Cubs Go!

  14. jeff.laufenberg7@gmail.com

    I hope you can win a few more in a row i hope you can sweep the sox when you play them. Yours truly Jeff Laufenberg

    Can you send me an email on how you became such an elite outfielder i never saw someone that has the courage to go for every ball and crash in to the ivy.

  15. ramos106@cox.net

    Great game! I wish you were in the lineup everyday. You are by far my favorite player-make sure you let Theriot and Fontenot know that, especially since I am from New Orleans.

  16. reediculousskills

    Wish we were there to see this amazing game today. So envious of all of you that were able to be there!
    So happy you are getting a chance to use your mad skills. You have got some amazing fans

  17. rachel.pearl@ge.com

    Amazing game today! I watched from the Left field bleachers. I’m your #1 fan, I swear. Your catches are so sweet, and I love seeing you hit homers as a Cub. Go Cubs!

  18. edelweiss

    I certainly hope Uncle Mike didn’t buy Houston a .22 for his 4th birthday. Rumor has it that Fontenot was out in the woods shooting at squirrels while he was still in diapers, and that he thinks Theriot is babying his kids.

  19. zbenjamin18@yahoo.com

    Ha–I think that this is how all of us fans hope the dynamic is off the field.

    Thanks for the window into your world, and GO CUBS GO!


  20. roxy9

    Wow Reed now that is hilarious! I’ll remember that for a long time and Theriot definitely owes you one. See you at the game today, I’ll be in the bleachers looking to catch one of your homeruns!


  21. jakki218

    Great game on Saturday and that was so nice of you to do that for Ryan’s son! You might not have scared the kids but did you scare Ryan and Font? (ha ha)

    Good luck the rest of the season!

  22. rnv1228@msn.com

    Reed I so agree….you need to be the number one starter in center! Thanks for this blog…I hope you really do read all these messages! You rock!

  23. hilda@romoland.k12.ca.us

    Just got through watching the Cubs/Dodgers series. You are on fire kid! Great job! All your Temecula fans are so proud of you. Keep it up and go Cubs. We love you.
    (Give a kiss to Taryn for us and a belly rub and dog biscuit to Shooter).

  24. furhenakidwai@hotmail.com

    Reed you did a amazing job on Saturdays game! It was really nice of you to dress up as a lion for Ryan’s son. You definitely should put up a picture of yourself in the lion head! Good luck in today’s game. I hope the Cubbies win a world series soon.
    ~GO CUBS GO~
    ~ Furhena K.

  25. tschlak

    Reed – whatever you’re drinking, can you please, PLEASE put some in the dugout Gatorade machine (assuming one of you guys doesn’t beat it to death, of course) so the rest of the team can start putting up your kind of numbers??!! You along with Kosuke, Scales and Fox such bright spots for us fans so far this season, I hope you guys all know how much we appreciate you.

    But this is getting a little worrisome for us Cubbie lifers…

  26. cubbeeblue

    You are the whole package my man! Gotta love a guy who would do that for a friend’s kids…

    Lou better be playing you all week!! You are the man!

  27. mhi2sense

    Yo Reed…… Tell Sean Marshall he is going to get his own self sent back to the minors and traded eventually if he doesn’t start trusting his catcher….. It is so obvious that he doesn’t because of the fat pitches he has been delivering… The pitches are breaking perfectly, so there is no mechanical flaw… Dude just doesn’t trust his catcher…. Tell Sean Marshall, Soto is a man… don’t worry about making him look bad… pitch the damn ball right… If Soto can’t catch the ball, then his *** will get sent back to the minors… but you got to take off the kid gloves and trust your team mates and go after the batter, dude…. You have to do your thing to the utmost of your ability and quit worrying about everyone else being able to handle what you are throwing… If Soto can’t catch the ball in the dirt, then that is a weakness… a weakness that is effecting your pitching… so trust your catcher… and put the ball just outside of the hitter’s swing…. it doesn’t need to be a strike to fool an ump into thinking it was.. curves are a hard read…put that curve ball in the dirt every time…. or your career is going to suck

  28. mhi2sense

    also this offseason, Sean Marshall needs to add a split finger fastball…. because as it is right now with the 4 seamer, the opposing batters know to sit and wait on the heat…. otherwise it is just a slap fest of meaty curveballs… If Marshall can add heat with movement… and the split finger is the easiest to pick up on… the the batter can’t sit and wait on heat, because they will strike out when the bottom drops out of the pitch…. And since Sean Marshall can get a lot of movement from his curveball…. he can go outside curve in the dirt, then fire a split finger that falls in for a strike or bottoms out to get the batter swinging inside….. then put another curve in the dirt, and then a split finger in the dirt, and then 3-2…. straight 4 seamer in the bottom outside corner of the strike zone…. or up an inside for a k….. But, Marshall’s problem is the same as Farnsworth’s was…. basically 2 pitches… not hard to guess what pitch is coming to choose which one you want to hit as a batter… Sean Marshall needs to work with an old fast ball pitcher…. to put that curve ball to use… and by adding a split finger, it gives a speed change to basically the same pitch, so the batter can’t guess slow curve every time… sometimes it will be a fast splitter, sometime a curve, sometimes a 4 seamer… add in a 2 seamer too to run up inside… Understand what I am saying ??… a knuckleball wouldn’t hurt either… rag arms throughout history have made a knuckleball work and work well… the great Cy Young and Walter Johnson both threw versions of a knuckleball… and it kept the hitters guessing constantly…. but add a splitter for sure… I am not sure a change up would help… a 2 seam fast ball would…. but you want to give your curve, your splitter, and any other pitch to come at the batter the same look at different speeds so they can’t time their swing.. and if you do that.. a fat curveball up high won’t get hit anymore…

  29. cubbykimmy

    Gotta tell ya, that takes a lot of heart and guts! A ton of screaming kids in an itchy, sweaty costume that God knows who has worn!! BRAVO, you are an awesome friend and teammate!! It is great to know you guys support each other in more ways than just on the field (caught the pep talk with Milton). Saw ya in Atlanta last night, thanks for the win!! I was surrounded by Braves fans that were relentless…..A cubby win sure did leave them speechless. Go cubs go!!!

  30. cubbykimmy

    Gotta tell ya, that takes a lot of heart and guts! A ton of screaming kids in an itchy, sweaty costume that God knows who has worn!! BRAVO, you are an awesome friend and teammate!! It is great to know you guys support each other in more ways than just on the field (caught the pep talk with Milton). Saw ya in Atlanta last night, thanks for the win!! I was surrounded by Braves fans that were relentless…..A cubs win sure did leave them speechless. Go cubs go!!!

  31. mhi2sense

    Hey Johnson…. Ask Hendry why he isn’t going after Freddy Sanchez before the Pirates have their annual garage sale of developing talent… I know Sanchez is injury prone… but the Cubs need to load up for the playoff run before the price on Sanchez goes up… The Cubs are hurting in the 2 hole and his bat plus defense puts the Cubs over the top, especially if Ramirez comes back strong…. The Pirates are always shopping for minor league talent… and damn if Sanchez wouldn’t complete one helluva infield… Also Glavine needs a look for pitching depth… If the Cubs got Sanchez, Glavine would sign thinking he could retire a World Series Champion for the Cubs…

  32. swamp34@yahoo.com

    I’ve always had sympathy for mascots and your story confirms why. You’re such a great person and I’m sure your buds appreciate everything you do. Keep it loose in the clubhouse and enjoy the season! Take care.

  33. edelweiss

    Reed, we hope you read the fan comments in a timely manner, because Fontenot needs some encouraging words about now. There is no way he should have been charged with an error on that throw. Had he thrown any lower, he would have hit the runner. The ball was simply hit in exactly the right place, and the runner beat the throw because it was a hit and run. Maybe he can be fairly blamed for the first run , but that’s it. The entire offense missed too many opportunities to score, and the only time Mike came up with a runner on base, he was pitched 4 straight balls outside, which amounts to an intentional walk. We hope Lou isn’t too mad at him; he is being asked to do an extremely difficult job, and he usually comes through very well. In the mean time others on the team commit errors more frequently then Mike does, but he is more scrutinized because ignorant people think he is too small to play the position. Most likely, once he has logged time at third, he will play at least as well as other third basemen. He’s that kind of player. In the mean time , we all want to wish him a Happy Birthday, and let him know we believe in him.

  34. bacon011@aol.com

    Hey Reed– Can you ask Soriano what is going on??? I mean a .244 average? Sloppy D? Anemic stolen bases? Guess he’s not really earning his $98 million! 13 HRs and 26 RBI is not too impressive either! This team needs to get it going and soon! The Brewers are a skeleton of a team compared to the Cubs, yet they are 4.5 games in the lead! I know it is a long season, but as a fan, a run away come August would be a nice treat! We are all pulling for you guys, but it is really getting tough to watch these games! Thanks for taking my comments, hope I wasnt too harsh! GO CUBS!

  35. dsrjane1

    Hey Reed, I know exactly what you mean about the mascot thing. When we opened the department store I manage, one of the grand opening events that the company did was they had an associate in a bear costume outside, who gave little stuffed bears to the children who came in that first morning. The costume was supposed to have these ice packs in it to keep the person somewhat cool. They shipped the costume a day or 2 before grand opening, and then it was shipped off again (at the time they were opening quite a few stores) Anyway, when we got the thing, the day before opening, it came with a letter saying that the ice packs were delayed and would be shipped in a week to 10 days! like that was going to do any good!!! The poor guy that was stuck in the bear suit about keeled over from heat exhaustion…did I mention it was late August??? Glad you were in air conditioning at least!

  36. ricky_bustos10@yahoo.com

    Hey Reed Johnson, this is the first time I’ve read your blog and this interested me because you talked about being a mascot and how much props you give to them for wearing one. Well I’d like to give mad props to you as well cause your in the big leagues, you made it to the holy grounds I’d like to say. How often does a Major league player for your favorite team post blogs and anyone can respond too. I think it’s a complete honor for me to send a comment to you through the blogs. I would be very happy if you read this comment cause it means a lot to send you this. I wish you made like a messaging spot so you can read whatever we wanted to talk about such as your youth years, how’d you learn the game of baseball, who showed you the game of baseball, what did you do to make yourself become so successful at the game of baseball cause let me tell you the game of baseball is a very difficult sport to play especially at the Major League level. My dream one day is to play professional baseball, I know I’m not the greatest player on the face of the earth, I’ve had my good and bad days at the plate and on the field. Right now I’m a Senior at Waukegan High in Illinois, I played for my high school my freshmen and sophomore year and my junior year my coach didn’t let me play cause he said I turned in my athletic form late and told me they had all the players they need, right after he told me that he said “why don’t you join track”. I’ll never forget that day I was mad but overall pretty sad that day, I felt bummed about not getting to play my junior year. That was probably the worst day of my life. I started playing baseball my freshmen year cause my parents are divorced and my mom never had the money to pay for leagues when I was little never heard of baseball when I was little either, all I new was basketball but I soon found out height was an issue I stand about 5’6/ 5’7, I can jump about 9 1/2 feet, wish I was one of the few short people to dunk.lol I can almost reach it but yeah the point is I love the game of baseball and I congradulate every single player in the Major’s and Minor’s cause they work hard at what they do, day in and day out. I’d like to tip my hat off to Bobby Scales as well, I read your blog on him as well and Lou should give him some more chances as a starter including you, Lou’s needs to give Milton a break and Soriano. Just a suggestion is all.

    I truely hope you reed this and message back through a blog. It would be very cool to do something out of your way, just once.. please I beg you.lol Well Again my name is Ricky from Waukegan, IL about 20 to 40 minutes away from Chicago. I don’t know how many messages you get like this if it got you mad in any way I’m really sorry never meant anything by it, I feel like this message is 1 in a million and I hope you enjoyed reading it and post a “freebie blog” where any person can right about anything they wanted to you and you could reply back to it some how. I’m not sure how often you post a blog or anything like that but yeah you can send me a message at Ricky_Bustos10@yahoo.com. I know I’m a complete stranger to you but I’m a Cub fan and a Fan of yours with a ton of questions I’d like to ask you. I’ll pray to God every night for you to reply to this message because it would truely by an absolute honor to recieve a message or blog from you about this. My bad for writing so much I got carried away, I could write more but I have no clue how interested or how little your interested of this comment you are.

    Alright, Reed Johnson its a pleasure sending you a comment through one of your blogs keep making more I like to read all of them including the other blogs on the list. Good luck with the Sox series.

    June 17th 2009, 11:36 p.m

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