Good Life

Getting to know Ike the Spike

Ike dances with youngsters during the State College Spikes fest in March 2015 in the Multi-Sport Facility.
Ike dances with youngsters during the State College Spikes fest in March 2015 in the Multi-Sport Facility. Centre Daily Times, file

The man. The myth. The mascot.

Ike the Spike has been the proud representative of the State College Spikes since 2006, but the deer himself remains a mystery to us.

In an effort to get to the heart of this hooved enigma, we took our questions directly to the source.

Below, Ike gets candid about his feelings on baseball, the fans and his plans for the future.

Q: How long have you been with the Spikes?

A: On May 6, 2006, I jumped out of the press box at the State College Little League Opening Day, rappelled down the backstop and announced my presence with authority. So, I’ve been here since the beginning.

Q: What drew you to baseball?

A: With the success that players like Rob Deer, Buck O’Neil, Sam Horn, Spike Owen and Bucky Dent have had in the game, I thought that I could follow in their tracks and maybe make the big bucks one day.

Q: In the summer, what do you do to beat the heat?

A: What heat? I’m always a cool customer — just kidding. Seriously, us deer have to hydrate just like humans do, so I drink plenty of water during the game. Plus, I like to take a lot of baths since I’m one of those deer who tends to sweat a lot.

Q: Do you have any pregame good luck rituals?

A: Sure do! First, I’ve got to make sure my head is on straight for the game and clear my mind, so I take my head in my hands and turn it every which way to know that I’ve got 100 percent focus. Second, I make sure my jersey is tucked in just like the players — the more I look like them, the more I can help the Spikes to victory. But, as more than a few of my friends have found out, the best luck you can have is reached by outrunning whoever is after you, so I also do a few sprints in the morning.

Q: Where’s your favorite spot in the stadium?

A: Meeting and greeting fans wherever they are in the ballpark is always fun, and that’s what I love to do best. But I would say that my favorite spot has to be Ike’s Kids Zone in left field. Not only can kids play on the inflatable games and take swings in the wiffleball field, but it’s got my name on it. Two places are tied for my second favorite — the BB&T Nook, where my pal the BB&T Nook Monster lives, and the Lion Country Kia Korner, where Lucky the Lion is the master and commander of Lucky’s K Zone.

Q: What’s your favorite task to perform during a game?

A: I’m honored to carry the Spikes flag before and after the games, and I love to see all of the fans. But my favorite thing might be the mascot races down on the field — it’s always great to win, but even better to beat Colonel Mustard.

Q: If you could do any other job in the stadium, what would it be and why?

A: I think announcing would be my next step. Can’t you just imagine Joe Buck and I in the booth together?

Q: What do you do while the team is traveling?

A: When the Spikes are away, I love to take the opportunity to visit fans all around central Pa. Even though my schedule is sometimes busy, if I have the time, my friends can call the Spikes at 272-1711 to set up a visit from me to you.

Q: Do you have a five-year plan?

A: My five-year plan is to create even more ballpark fun for my fellow Americans. This nation wants more fun, affordable family entertainment and future major league stars, and I will do my best to make that happen.

Q: If any young fans out there want to say hello to you during the game, where should they look?

A: I am all over the place during the game — sometimes on the concourse, sometimes on the field and sometimes up visiting our friends in the luxury suites. But if you see me, feel free to come up and say “hi” — I love all of our fans!

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready