by Alex Poletti
With his beer gut and Keith Yandle jersey, it may not seem like there’s anything special about 33-year-old Seth Mandurago. However, Zoo Miami has recently created an initiative to keep Seth safe after it was discovered that he is the last remaining Florida Panthers fan.
Missing the playoffs for the third straight season, the Panthers average by far the lowest attendance in the NHL. According to official census data and Zoo Miami records, the Miami resident is the only fan the team has left.
“A few years back, when we saw the numbers dwindling, we inserted tracking chips in all of the Panthers fans we could find,” Zoo Miami Foundation president Carla Esposito says. “Throughout the years, it seems that they’ve been continually losing interest in the team. Unfortunately, Seth is now the only hope for Panthers fans.”
With the Tampa Bay Lightning having another superb season, many disgruntled Florida fans have flocked to the other team’s base to watch a successful franchise.
“It never occurred to me to switch teams,” Mandurago says. “I’d always watch the Panthers with my family when I was younger. After my dad passed and my sister lost interest, I started watching them alone. I never realized I was completely alone.”
In an effort to keep the Panthers’ faithful alive, Zoo Miami has taken measures to insure that Mandurago will remain out of harm’s way. These include getting Seth his own private living space within the Zoo facilities and completely bubble-wrapping him to prevent injuries.
“I know this may seem a bit extreme,” Esposito says, “but this is Florida, and you never know what crazy shit these guys are going to whip up.”
Now, Esposito and her crew are attempting to find a living female Panthers fan in hopes so they can get the two to reproduce and grow the Panthers fanbase in a contained manner.
“So far, there hasn’t been any luck finding a female of the species,” Esposito tells The Second String. “But we still have hope that there could be one out there. However, we could experience some extra logistical challenges if we do find one. We just don’t find it plausible that any female would want to mate with Seth. Imagine the beginning of the movie ‘Rio’ but instead of parrots it’s a sweaty 30-something dude from Miami.”
Despite the extra precaution taken to keep Mandurago safe, the Panthers fan has vowed to see at least one game next season.
“Now that I know I’m the only one left, I feel an extra need to support my team,” Mandurago says. “Maybe I’ll even sit in the lower section this year so they can really hear me root for them.”