On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of their final home regular series, and fans could enjoy the game without too much pressure, as Philadelphia had already clinched a wild card spot in the National League for the playoffs.
However, one fan was not present: Wally, the emotional support crocodile.
Wally’s owner, Joseph Henney of Jonestown, Pennsylvania, took him to the game to watch the Phillies and Pirates, but the two were denied access.
Who is Wally, the emotional support crocodile?
Henney adopted Wally, who is 5 feet long, when the alligator was about a year old in 2015. He said a friend rescues alligators in Florida and contacted him about a group of alligators in danger due to land development. Henney offered to help and took Wally away. Within a few months, Wally was domesticated as a cat or dog.
“He was like a little dog,” Henney told the York Daily Record, part of the USA TODAY network, in 2019. “He followed us around the house.”
Henney created Instagram and TikTok pages for Wally, where he has tens of thousands of followers. He has also visited senior centers and minor league baseball games. Henney entered Wally in the “America’s Favorite Pet Animal Kingdom” animal contest and visited Philadelphia’s LOVE Park to drum up support.
Why couldn’t Wally enter Citizens Bank Park?
Wally has been in the stands at minor league baseball games. The Phillies have allowed animals in the park this season with “Bark at the Park” night on May 23. So why was he denied entry to Wednesday’s game?
Simple: stadium politics. Citizens Bank Park’s policy on support animals states: “Certified service dogs or service dogs in training are permitted for guests with special needs. All other animals are prohibited.”
Although he was rejected by the stadium, Wally generated another wave of interest online thanks to the game.