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Winter Meetings Day 2: This man is the world's preeminent mascot doctor

At Cut4, we love mascots. But we're not sure anyone understands mascots the way "Dr." David Raymond does.

Raymond's company, Raymond Entertainment Group, which had a booth set up at the Winter Meetings' Baseball Trade Show, "designs and develops mascot programs." He said he "teaches our clients to use their character inside and out of the stadium to drive revenue and brand." And while Raymond might be the head of his company, he's also, appropriately, something of a medically-themed mascot for it as well.

After all, acting as a mascot should come naturally to him. He casually let slip that he was the original performer for the Phillie Phanatic from 1978-93 (which his vintage Phanatic T-shirt and '80 World Series championship ring subtly hinted at).

"Like every great thing in baseball, it started with an intern," Raymond explained, recounting how he, a Phillies intern in the '70s, was "stupid enough and low enough on the totem pole" to don the now-iconic green fur.

Once he was no longer able to perform as the Phanatic, Raymond started his mascot consulting business as a means of continuing his career as a "professional idiot." He cited the Houston Rockets' Clutch and the Double-A San Antonio Missions' Henry the Puffy Taco as examples of excellent mascots, and said colleges and universities represent his biggest growth sector at the moment.

And despite branding himself as the Mascot Doctor, and acknowledging that most teams in need of his services find him by using the word in web searches, Raymond "would prefer not to use the term 'mascot.'" He says it conjures images of a kid in a suit, and therefore favors "character," which to him is more redolent of an "integrated marketing tool."

Well, whatever you call them, it's clear Dr. Raymond is the man to call when you need one.

-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com