The Tucson Saguaros had just about everything they needed as they prepared for their first-ever game in 2016 — even a mascot costume.
Ken Weir noticed the long, green, dress-like outfit and headpiece just before the home opener. His friend, Saguaros manager J.D. Droddy, said the team needed someone to fill it.
“It was the first night, it was our first game, and I go ‘I’ll put it on,’” Weir said. “Never took it off.”
Weir stepped into the role — and into the costume — and became Sticky. The Saguaros’ mascot has become something rare in the Pecos League: A fixture.
Players and coaches come and go in a league that includes teams like the White Sands Pupfish, Roswell Invaders and High Desert Yardbirds. Droddy left after winning the Pecos League title in 2016, and the Saguaros themselves are on their third home stadium in four seasons. They’ll host the California City Whiptails Tuesday night at Cherry Field. At 23-19, Tucson sits in third place in the Pacific Division.
Weir and his wife Kathie moved to Tucson from Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 2013 so they could be closer to their grandchildren. While in New Mexico, Weir was part of the local acting scene. That’s how he met the Harvard-educated Droddy; he was a producer for Weir’s first play, The King and I.
Now, Weir — a retired airman turned civilian employee — works as a unit program coordinator for a maintenance squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Base. It may seem like a completely different world to his after-work hobby, but Weir seems to think his job and Sticky have a lot in common.
“Well, I’m still customer service,” Weir said. “I still get to deal with people. People still need to come to me because they need things.”
Weir’s schedule didn’t allow him to devote as much time to Sticky during the 2018 season, and he only worked a few games. The team discussed holding tryouts for a replacement, something Weir found funny. There’s a lot funny about a giant, smooth cactus costume; some Saguaros fans pretend to get poked by a spine when they touch the walking, talking cactus.
“If somebody wants to put this on, let them do it,” Weir said. “That’s just silly. I mean, this is silly. Who knows talking cactuses?”
Weir was determined to return as Sticky this year. Interaction with the fans, particularly children, fuels him.
“That’s what makes it for me – being around the kids,” Weir said. “And I always get to know the players as well as I can, by name, so that I can yell for them and I can get the fans to yell for them.”