Rocky Bluewinkle speaks! (Through an Interpreter)
The Blue Rocks mascot likes eating healthy, reading and anything by Blue Oyster Cult
DT: Why can’t Rocky speak? Is it a mascot thing?
JV: Some mascots can talk, but Rocky, as a giant blue moose, is not able to speak.
DT: How did you guys meet?
JV: Rocky came from the Midwest. He turned blue later in life—a little too much exposure to cold water out in Montana. He looked all over the place for people who were blue, places that were blue. He traveled around and bounced from place to place and finally found the Blue Rocks, where he fit in and where he was more celebrated for his blueness. He’s been here ever since.
DT: How long have you known Rocky?
JV: I’ve been with the Blue Rocks since 2006. Rocky’s been here a lot longer. So I met him obviously when I started.
DT: Do you guys hang out?
JV: Absolutely. During all the games. He tries to take a little time off during the offseason. I usually drive him to his appearances: various Little League events, church groups, hospital visits, things like that.
DT: Where does Rocky live?
JV: He lives under the stands in the stadium. It’s easy access for him to come in and out.
DT: What’s his favorite color?
JV: It is blue. But he prefers the Carolina blue that we use. For a while we were more of a Royal blue, which was Rocky’s favorite color at that time. That was the color he originally transformed to. Back in 2010 when we switched our uniforms to a lighter Carolina blue, he went through an extensive process to dye himself to match the team.
DT: Is there something you can tell us about Rocky that nobody knows?
JV: He has a lot of interests, actually, that probably no one knows. People think he is just interested in baseball and the Blue Rocks. But he loves to read. He’s a real big fitness nut. You maybe wouldn’t know from the size of his belly, but he is a big advocate of exercise and clean living.
DT: Is it true that Rocky and Mr. Celery don’t get along?
JV: No. That’s a myth. They get along well. They have a common goal. They want to see the Blue Rocks win. Celery also lives under the stadium, so they share some quarters down there. I think Rocky might get a little annoyed from time to time because Mr. Celery doesn’t go out in the community as much as Rocky does. He would like to see Mr. Celery a little more active with the causes that Rocky champions. Mr. Celery really never leaves the stadium.
DT: He does seem kind of reclusive. Sometimes you go to a game and don’t see him because the Rocks don’t score any runs.
JV: Hopefully we’ll get to see him a lot this season. He just won’t come out of his home unless the Blue Rocks score.
DT: Who would be considered the best mascot in the state—YoUDee or Rocky?
JV: Obviously I’m a little bit biased. I think Rocky has a more diverse bag of tricks than YoUDee. I think Rocky has a better shtick.
DT: Does Rocky find it hard to go out in public and grab a quiet meal?
JV: Definitely, in the Wilmington area. He’s a celebrity, so it’s tough for him. He tries to keep a low profile. It’s also tough because he doesn’t drive. Also without being able to talk, it’s tough to be able to order in a restaurant—things like that.
DT: What’s his favorite book?
JV: It’s “Casey at the Bat.” He likes everything. He reads the classics, children’s books, Sports Illustrated, everything. But “Casey at the Bat” is his favorite story. “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” is another one of his favorites. When we make appearances at local schools to promote reading, we’ll read one of those two.
DT: What’s Rocky excited about as far as the upcoming season?
JV: More than anything, it would be the all-star game. This year we are hosting the Carolina/California League All-Star Game. It will be all the best players from 18 advanced single-A teams playing in a game on June 17. The night before will be the hitting challenge. Players will hit at different objects for points. Then we’ll have the home run derby. We’re going to put home plate in center field and reverse our field and hit into the stands. It’s actually has never been done before. We wanted to make it as enjoyable as possible for the fans. The greatest part of the home run derby, when you watch the Major League All-Star Game, is everybody trying to catch the home run balls. We don’t have that set-up with outfield seating, so we flipped the field backward and everybody can bring their glove and catch a home run ball from a hopefully soon-to-be Major League All-Star.
DT: I like the logo where there’s steam shooting out of Rocky’s nostrils. How does he do that?
JV: Well, he gets very excited. He gets fired up and he’s breathing heavy and excited for the team and it just kind of comes out of him. It’s his passion for the Blue Rocks.
DT: Who are some of Rocky’s all-time favorite Blue Rocks?
JV: Definitely Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran. More recently, players who are currently with the Royals like Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Pérez.
DT: What’s Rocky’s favorite promotion?
JV: We throw out victory balls to the fans anytime the Blue Rocks win. It’s probably that because it means that the Blue Rocks won. I know he’s also a big fan of our Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. They’ll be out for the all-star game and then again in July. He enjoys that. And he loves the fireworks, which we’ll have again this season after every Friday home game.
DT: Any new promotions this year?
JV: Prior to the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo appearance in July, on June 26, we’re doing a Cowboy Monkey bobblehead. It’ll be the dog at the base, and the monkey dressed like a cowboy will actually bobble on top. Everybody loves bobbleheads and this will be a fun take on that.
DT: How many times has Rocky been hit by a foul ball?
JV: He actually has never been hit by a foul ball. He’s caught a few and he always gives them to young fans in the stands. He walks around on the dugout when the game is going on and in the stands. And in our stadium, you’re right on top of the action. He’s been lucky. He keeps his head on a swivel and he’s paying close attention to the game.
DT: If Rocky was a player, what would his walk-up song be as he comes up to the plate?
JV: He usually comes out to “Can’t Stop the Rock” when he’s introduced at the games. So I would say we would stick with that. If not, then anything by Blue Oyster Cult or the Blue Man Group.