‘Kevin Bacon,’ one of baseball’s punniest mascots, sizzles for attention

Half man, half pork, he plays a leading role as ‘director of fun’ for Middle Georgia’s Macon Bacon.
Mascot "Kevin Bacon" greets Macon Bacon fans at Luther Williams Field on opening night in Macon, Georgia. The Macon Bacon team plays in a collegiate baseball summer league. (Joe Kovac Jr. / AJC)

Credit: Joe Kovac Jr.

Credit: Joe Kovac Jr.

Mascot "Kevin Bacon" greets Macon Bacon fans at Luther Williams Field on opening night in Macon, Georgia. The Macon Bacon team plays in a collegiate baseball summer league. (Joe Kovac Jr. / AJC)

MACON — He answers to “bacon guy” or “bacon man” or even “Mr. Bacon.”

He does so because not everyone who ventures into Luther Williams Field, the near-century-old baseball park that’s home of the Macon Bacon, is ’80s hip enough to know that this 7-foot-tall, footloose mascot’s actual name is a pork-wrapped homage to a famous actor.

But then “Kevin Bacon” really needs no sobriquet.

When you’re a costumed, two-legged strip of cured meat with a skillet for a cap, the world is your frying pan.

You can cook up belly laughs by merely existing.

And in the world of off-brand baseball, where branding is everything, chuckles are a much-sought byproduct.

Take the Savannah Bananas, those vaudevillian, “Field of Dreams” phenoms who’ve risen to viral fame. The Bananas were the Macon Bacon’s in-state rivals in the Coastal Plain League until a couple of years ago when they graduated to barnstorming glory in a bats-and-balls-meet-slapstick realm pioneered by Max Patkin, the late Clown Prince of Baseball.

Last Saturday, opening night of a 27-game home slate, Kevin, the Macon mascot, greeted fans at the stadium’s front gate. He fist-bumped, high-fived and shook hands with hundreds coming to enjoy collegiate summer league play. For the most part, only the regulars knew him as Kevin.

At one point, a 10-year-old boy marched up to Kevin and, out of the blue and for no apparent reason, blurted, “The Bananas are better than you!”

Kevin wove through the entering spectators, caught up with the boy and stepped in front of him. He blocked the youth’s path and, arms crossed, struck a pose sadder than microwaved bacon. Playfully, he fumed (OK, sizzled). The kid didn’t so much as grin. Tough crowd.

Macon Bacon mascot "Kevin Bacon" welcomes fans to Luther Williams Field in Macon on opening night 2024. (Joe Kovac Jr. / AJC)

Credit: Joe Kovac Jr.

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Credit: Joe Kovac Jr.

Kevin, who has been with the Bacon since their 2018 inception, is listed on the team’s website as “director of fun.” Sure, he does what typical mascots do. He cavorts with the crowd. But his name provides much of the amusement for fans. Oh, I get it, they realize, suddenly in on the joke.

“Having a Kevin … it’s an irreplaceable part of the experience,” the club’s marketing director Ben Remelius says. “There’s nothing quite like it that you can find in other aspects of life. You can’t go to the grocery store and take a picture with the Walmart mascot.”

The other night in the middle of the first inning, Remelius wheeled out a refrigerator-size box on a hand truck. He rolled the box, covered in red wrapping paper, onto the grass in front of the home dugout.

Remelius, unbeknownst to the crowd, had brought home the bacon. Or near enough.

Kevin, hidden inside, then made his stadium grand entrance, bursting from the box. Musician Kenny Loggins’ hit “Footloose,” the theme song of the 1984 movie which starred the actor Kevin Bacon, blared as the mascot Kevin Bacon trotted toward the on-deck circle and streaked down the right-field line.

Macon has had its share of punny sports team names, the most renowned being the Macon Whoopee, a minor league hockey team, which during its most recent incarnation in the 1990s featured a whooping crane for a mascot.

Kevin, along with the Savannah Bananas’ “Split,” is among most creatively named sports creatures in a state that is home to Georgia Tech’s “Buzz” and UGA’s “Hairy Dawg.”

Kevin’s costume has on back the number 6 with a superscript degree symbol, a reference to movie star Kevin Bacon, who is also affectionately known for a parlor game dubbed “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

The concocted game involves participants trying to connect other celebrities, living or dead, to the real Kevin Bacon in six steps via the more than six dozen films he has appeared in.

Macon itself can play the game of connections with the actor.

People magazine reported last year that Bacon, in the early 1990s, considered naming one of his children Macon after a movie character. But his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, said, “Wait a second. Macon Bacon? Are you out of your mind?”

A few years ago, the actor tweeted about a goat he owned named Macon Bacon. To which the team replied, “Wait ... did @kevinbacon name one of his goats ‘Macon Bacon’?” The actor tweeted back, “Is this awkward? I can’t tell.”

A far more obscure Macon connection to the actor lies in a little-known architectural reference.

In the late 1990s, local officials floated the idea of a public plaza between City Hall and the City Auditorium. One of the designers cited a quote credited to the movie star’s father, the noted Philadelphia architect Edmund Bacon, saying the downtown space would serve “to intensify the drama of living.”

And, hey, what could be more intense or dramatic than spending part of your summer watching someone prance around in the Georgia heat while dressed as a piece of pork?

“There’s nowhere else you can go,” Remelius says, “and meet a 7-foot-tall strip of bacon.”

Members of the Macon Bacon's "Sizzle Squad" prepare to unveil mascot "Kevin Bacon," who made his grand entrance wrapped as a gift at last weekend's home opener at Luther Williams Field. (Joe Kovac Jr. / AJC)

Credit: Joe Kovac Jr.

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Credit: Joe Kovac Jr.