Ever since he was as young as 18 months old, Lindell has loved two things: animals and an audience (also, alliteration, coincidentally). He knows and remembers not just the names of all his stuffed animals, which surely number in the dozens by now, but also their personalities, likes and dislikes. And although he is somewhat introverted and shy, the place he feels the most comfortable is in front of an audience.

This might sound like normal kid behavior, so I should tell you that for many years, Lindell thought he was a dog — like an actual member of the canine species. He carried a tennis ball in his mouth and drank water from a bowl on the floor. When we got a real dog in 2011, Lindell slept on its bed. There was some confusion about whether Sparky was an actual sibling or a pet.

“I have hair and hands like my mom,” Lindell would say, “and I am smart like my dad, but I got my sense of humor from my dog.”

All of this naturally led to a fascination with team mascots. My husband is a die-hard San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Padres fan. My other sons are, too.

And then there’s Lindell. He chooses teams solely based on their mascot, which is why the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles are his teams. Lindell has never been to St. Louis or Philadelphia. This can be confusing, especially for strangers who see Lindell wearing his favorite Eagles shirt in Maine.

“Are you from Philly?” a man at a gas station once asked us. “I am, too.”

At first, I didn’t understand. Then he pointed at Lindell and said, “Are you an Eagles fan?”

And Lindell said, “No, I’m just a fan of eagles in general.”

Yet it wasn’t until Lindell was 3 years old and wore an oversized Scooby Doo head for Halloween that we first got the idea that he might be headed toward a job as a character at Disney World or, at least, the high school mascot.

That dream almost came true when Lindell’s older brothers played on the Lions for Little League. Before the beginning of one season, when Lindell was 7, he asked me to find him a lion costume.

“I’m going to be the team mascot,” he said.

The only costume I could find was a size 5/6, but that didn’t matter. Even in the high-80s, Lindell wore the flannel suit with ties in the back and the wrap-around, thick mane to cheer on the team. As his tail dragged through the dirt and the occasional breeze blew through his lion hair, he looked just like something out of “Where the Wild Things Are.” It never bothered Lindell that he might be too old to wear a too-small lion costume in the middle of June.

Sadly, Lindell announced this year that he was retiring the lion costume, an event for which one of his brothers partially blames the loss of their end-of-season championship. If only they had had Lindell the Lion yelling through the chain link of the dugout. As his mother, I worried that maybe Lindell’s days of zero inhibition (well, behind a costume, at least) and his unbridled zest for life had finally passed. I mourned the lion costume left in a heap in the closet.

But perhaps it was only left there because it wasn’t authentic enough and certainly too small for his growing body.

Last week, when we took Lindell to a Newport Gulls game in Rhode Island, he saw many things for which he could be impressed — a fantastic red sunset over Cardines Field, a 5-1 win for the Gulls, an over-the-fence home run — but it was the Gulls’ mascots, Gully and Gully Jr., that had Lindell’s rapt attention. Lindell followed those birds everywhere. And when they went into the bull pen, he waited patiently outside the fence for them to return. He wanted both to sign his baseball. You know, some kids want the pitcher’s or catcher’s signature; Lindell wants the mascot’s.

By the seventh inning, however, Gully and Gully Jr. seemed to be retiring to the bull pen for good. Still, Lindell waited. And then, between the eighth and ninth innings, a swarm of kids got to chase the mascots across the baseball field — and Lindell was trapped with us on the other side of the fence. Talk about mind blown. Lindell’s jaw dropped, and he ran like an actual lion was chasing him to the gate of the bull pen. But he was too late. The chase was over. And soon after, so was the game.

“It’s okay, Buddy,” his brother said. “Maybe you’ll get their signature next time.”

“And, you know, someday you could be a real mascot,” Dustin said. (A generous thing for this baseball-loving dad to say to the son he says has a better throwing arm than either of his older brothers did at the same age.)

Lindell stopped walking, turned around and said, “I already am a real mascot.”

“For what,” I asked.

“For everything,” he said.

That’s my boy.

Maine author and columnist Sarah Smiley’s writing is syndicated weekly to publications across the country. She may be reached at facebook.com/Sarah.is.Smiley.