The Hoosierist: How Does Rowdie Bear The Heat?

A sweltering mascot, freeloading buskers, and early planting. Ask The Hoosierist.

Q: How does Rowdie, the Indians mascot, keep from dying of heat stroke during hot summer games?
A: Mostly by pure determination and grit—the same tools The Hoosierist uses to find free parking spaces when he goes to games at Victory Field. “It’s easy in April, but it’s a tough job in July and August,” says Indians director of communications Charlie Henry. The costume itself is just padding and synthetic fur, without any built-in cooling technology. Fortunately, the person wearing the Rowdie suit has his own locker room next to the clubhouse, to which he can retire, cool down, and perhaps reflect upon his career choice. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s mostly a free-range mascot, wandering around unsupervised for most of the game. If it’s a real scorcher, he can spend time on the stadium’s shaded concourse. Not surprisingly, Rowdie is a fan of night games. “He very much appreciates those cool evenings,” Henry says.

Q: What kind of license do you need to become a downtown busker?
A: Actually, you don’t need any kind of license. According to the city’s Department of Business and Neighborhood Services, would-be buskers fill out exactly zero forms and must meet no additional requirements. You read right. A city that closely regulates everything from panhandlers to hot dog carts adopts a near-total hands-off policy toward folks who score pocket change by banging on empty 5-gallon buckets near the Artsgarden or painting themselves silver and pretending to be robots. So if you’ve always dreamed of showing off your juggling, drumming, and/or sword-swallowing skills in public, just pick out a section of sidewalk and have at it. The only hard-and-fast rules are that you must stay on public property and not impede the right-of-way. Which is probably why you’ll never see a sidewalk performer serenading passersby with a grand piano.

Q: I’ve heard that Indiana gardeners shouldn’t plant until Mother’s Day to ensure crops don’t get killed by a late frost. Is that true?
A: You would be almost completely safe from a hard freeze if you waited that long, but according to weather stats, you’d probably be okay if you planted much sooner. The National Weather Service says Indiana’s average last freeze date is April 17, meaning it’s generally safe to plant those turnips right after you file your federal tax return. But it’s by no means a sure thing. The latest recorded freeze in Indiana history took place on May 27, 1961. And we actually had measurable snow on May 9, 1923. So if you jump the gun, there’s a chance you may lose your lettuce or have to throw a tarp over your tomatoes.

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