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This Baseball Mascot Was Struck Out By The Coronavirus Pandemic

David Edwards thought he'd be spending this baseball season prowling the ballpark in Davenport, Iowa, trading high-fives and cheering the home team.

After all, it would be his second season playing mascot for the Quad Cities River Bandits.

"I am the big raccoon," Edwards says. "It's the most fun I've ever had."

But there's no joy in Davenport — the River Bandits aren't playing ball this year because of the pandemic. While major league teams hope to revive their season for a TV-only audience later this year, Single-A clubs like the River Bandits depend on in-person ticket sales and concessions to pay the bills.

David Edwards (left) and Ray Hernandez, manager of the Quad City River Bandits.
/ David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards (left) and Ray Hernandez, manager of the Quad City River Bandits.

Edwards lost a second job, showing visitors around a regional zoo, when that also closed to the public.

"All the plans for this year went out the window," Edwards says. "Guest relations aren't essential when nothing is open."

Edwards, who majored in music at Iowa State University, also planned to audition for classical singing gigs this summer. But with most big cities under lockdown, that's on hold, too. That's three strikes, and Edwards is worried.

"I feel very scared about my future," he says. "I just don't know what funding is going to be, what festivals or programs are going to survive."

For now, Edwards is living off savings, trying to figure out what life's going to look like after the summer and keeping a positive attitude.

"Just trying to do what's right and what's recommended and what's healthy," he says. "I just don't want to be part of the problem."

Read more stories in Faces Of The Coronavirus Recession.

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Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.