Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

When Shark Mascots Attack

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

When Shark Mascots Attack

Article excerpt

COMMENTARY

A shark has attacked a Bradenton resident off the coast of Miami, biting her on the head and inflicting pain in her neck, back and extremities. The injuries are not life-threatening, though she continues to receive medical attention to treat them.

The startling attack was revealed just in time for "Shark Week" on the Discovery Chanel, yet another important reminder that these evil creatures lurking in the deep can strike anyone at any time.

Even at baseball games.

It was June 29, 2013, the middle of the sixth inning between the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres, and Beth Fedornak was sitting in the third row at Marlin Park watching the "Great Sea Race."

That's when grown adults wearing foam rubber suits with large heads run around the outfield. There's Spike the Sea Dragon, Julio the Octopus, and Angel the Stone Crab.

the Shark.

Now Bob -- according to a lawsuit filed by Fedornak on June 12 -- finished the race, singled her out and "bit" her on the skull. She immediately contacted staff and told them she was in significant pain.

She claims to have incurred $86,000 in medical expenses and has retained the services of attorney Carl Reynolds. And believe it or not she isn't even the first Bradenton resident to sue a professional team over a mascot's antics, but more on that later.

Fedornak's lawsuit is one of the biggest things to hit the Marlins since 1997. That's when a Navy SEAL dressed up as Billy the Marlin (the team's former mascot), jumped out of a plane on Opening Day. He was supposed to land in the stadium, but on the way down a gust of wind blew the mascot head off and the parachutist had to land somewhere else.

The 5-pound marlin head was found two months later on the side of the Florida Turnpike.

The Marlins were also sued once for $250,000 by an elderly man who claimed he was knocked out by a T-shirt that Billy the Marlin shot from an air gun. …

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