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San Diego Chicken entertains G-Braves fans

LAWRENCEVILLE - When Scott Romesburg lived in Los Angeles, he used to drive to San Diego and see the Famous Chicken at Padres games.

Now a grandfather, Romesburg was surprised to see the same chicken, the same person, out doing the same things.

"He used to do some more daredevil stuff," said Romesburg, who lives in Alpharetta. "He's still good."

Romesburg came to Friday's Gwinnett Braves game with his 9-year-old grandson, William Faber, and the first thing William asked for was a San Diego Chicken stuffed animal.

"It was the first time I had seen the San Diego Chicken and I wanted a souvenir from the game the San Diego Chicken came here," William said.

One of William's favorite skits came when the chicken chased someone dressed as a Buffalo Bison, the opposing team, with water balloons and ended up getting pelted by tons of balloons from the visiting dugout.

"He's still one of the best mascots," William said.

And at 55, that is impressive.

A day before the Famous San Diego Chicken made his appearance at Gwinnett Stadium, the man in the suit, Ted Giannoulas, promised he would make the fans laugh.

It took him less than a minute to make it happen when he appeared in front of 7,143 in the bottom of the third inning. He left the umpire hanging on a handshake, put the whammy on the Bisons' dugout and sent G-Braves' first base coach Billy Nicholson to the dugout and took over signs there for the inning.

And that was just the first inning.

He had his feather torn off by three Bison players, gave the plate umpire an eye test and danced with Barney the purple dinosaur. Barney won.

Between innings and during play, you could hear laughs across the stadium as the chicken danced and clucked. Every half inning he surprised the fans with his routines, but his appearance at the G-Braves game surprised Bethlehem's Alina Jamie. She did not know the chicken was coming to the stadium as she drove to her first G-Braves game.

"He is one of my favorite mascots, that and the Philly Phanatic," Jamie said. "I wish I had brought my grandkids."

Jamie's grandkid may not have known who the chicken was, but like William and the rest of the crowd, would have laughed. Just like he promised.

"He's just funny," Jamie said. "He gets the crowd going."