Mascots are for kids. Grown-ups aren't supposed to like them, and by the time you're, oh, two, you've figured out that they're almost all horrific creations on par with Astroturf, The Wave, and Tommy Lasorda. Some are slightly better than others, and this week's power rankings are based on the likeability of team mascots.
One of the worst incidents was perpetrated by the Phillie Phanatic. The Dodgers were in town to play the Phillies and somehow, it got ahold of one of my jerseys. It took the jersey, put it on a dummy and ran over the dummy again and again.
That type of a display should not be shown in ballparks, especially in front of children. It exhibits violence and disrespect.
I pulled the Phanatic aside and said, "Why don't you run over a dummy with a Phillies jersey??"
So magical. He needs to go into the stands at the next Phillies/Dodgers game and just unload a case of silly string on Lasorda. That'll turn some atheists right around.
2. Milwaukee Brewers - Bernie Brewer
He was a lot cooler before they neutered him. Bernie used to slide down from the heavens into a vat of beer after every Brewers home run. After every home run, even the road homers. He'd be alone in a dark stadium, sliding into a yeasty, intoxicating vat of dinger tea, exulting to the heavens and drinking his fill.
Now, he slides onto a platform shaped like home plate. Now, the children of America are forever safe.
3. Seattle Mariners - Mariner Moose
Geographically appropriate, the Mariner Moose gets bonus points for a) not having a stupid name like Edgar Moosetinez, Ichiro Mooseuki, or Aantler N. Sele, and b) being a moose, which is a funny-yet-also-majestic animal.
4. Oakland Athletics - Stomper
Connie Mack picked out an elephant as the team symbol and mascot, so that gives it the most street cred of any mascot. In the past, Stomper could survive solely on whole peanuts dropped by fans, but this method of hunting and gathering has left him weak and emaciated in recent years.
wait, the pirates signed derek bell?
Not fearsome, not especially cutesy, just a perpetually surprised and upset man in funny clothes. This is perhaps the most team-appropriate mascot on the list.
6. New York Mets - Mr. Met
The original creepy, big-headed mascot. A true pioneer in the young field of thingsthatyoudonotwanttoseelookingthroughyourbedroomwindowology, Mr. Met also gets bonus points for the organization's willingness to let him do Sportscenter commercials.
And because of that, I think I like him. The second you leave on a trip, he'll use your spare key to rob your house for meth money. But he's a good mascot.
The Chicken appeared at WrestleMania XV and WrestleMania 2000 although the costume was worn by Pete Rose at WrestleMania XV during which he was Tombstoned by Kane.
As someone who has no idea what that means, it sounds awesome.
And though the Swingin' Friar is team appropriate and unique enough, it makes me think about those novelty toys from the '70s. So, so creepy once you get that image in your head.
9. New York Yankees - Derek Jeter
This adorable fellow was created in a lab after the Yankees consulted with Omnicom Group, a powerful advertising agency. He's probably the most popular mascot on the list, and he should be around for the next 40 or 50 years.
Okay, fine. The Yankees don't have a mascot, along with three other teams. These teams are haughty and superior and don't they need one. In 40 years, when their current fan base is dead, you know there will be an old PR guy in a rocking chair muttering, "If they'd listened to my crappy gorilla costume idea, that team would be successful today." Instead, the team will be contracted because they don't have any young fans.
10. Los Angeles Dodgers - None
Suggestion: they used to be the Trolley Dodgers, so a guy with a hat, with a long pole extending from the top. On the pole is a large, cast-iron trolley suspended by a wire until it's at waist level. And the guy in the hat has to run up and down the stairs with the cast-iron trolley hitting him in the midsection and groin with every other step. When he finally crumples over from the pain, everyone in the stands throws nickels at him.
It makes sense in my head and I can get a formal proposal going, Dodger brass. Give me a call. Collect is fine.
11. Chicago Cubs - None
It's a cutesy, lovable, and harmless team name and a cutesy, lovable, and harmless franchise, so what's the harm in having a cutesy, lovable, and harmless guy in a sweaty cub suit harass children? What, it would make a mockery of the game of baseball? Read what team we're talking about again ...
12. Los Angeles Angels - None
"Gene Autree" -- A large, anthropomorphic tree who roams the stands playing cowboy songs.
"The Real Rally Monkey" -- A man in a rally monkey costume who roams around the stands throwing unwrapped chocolate bars from a pouch he keeps behind his back at waist level.
13. Baltimore Orioles - The Bird
Like the Mariner Moose, he's ranked higher than he might otherwise be, because he doesn't have a stupid name. He's not Mike Cuelloriole or something stupid. He's just a bird. An oriole. Because the team is named the Orioles. He does mascot things, and this is the last time you'll ever think of him. The team would be better off just hiring Michael K. Williams to walk the stands and whistle "Farmer in the Dell."
... which makes me think that he at least has the potential to fight crime.
15. Florida Marlins - Billy Marlin
His Wikipedia page has a section heading titled Skydiving mishap -- but you shouldn't read it because there's no way it can be as interesting as the story you've already invented in the five seconds since you started reading this.
16. Washington Nationals - Screech
Screech is an eagle. That's his thing, and it's bland. It's a good thing he wasn't around in the '90s because he would have just followed Mark Carreon around all day, trying to eat him.
Also, it's a shame that the Nationals don't get more mileage out of their bully Teddy Roosevelt costume instead of just wasting him on a fake sausage race. That Teddy costume is terrifying, yet amazing. He'd walk around the park, killing and stuffing animals while making fun of Thomas Jefferson.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks - Baxter the Bobcat
What bugs me about this one isn't that he's too serious, but that the Diamondbacks are named after an animal already. This isn't a situation like the Mariners, Nationals, or A's, where if they wanted an animal mascot, they'd have to arbitrarily select one. They don't get to pick twice. If they don't like snakes enough to make a stupid costumed snake, they shouldn't have been the Diamondbacks.
Junction Jack has been the mascot character for the Houston Astros since March 2000. He is a 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) rabbit dressed as a railroad engineer. Other characters include Junction Julie and Junction Jesse. He walks around Minute Maid Park, greeting visitors, shaking hands, and posing for pictures, and he also greets young kids and gives them hugs and makes them happy.
My favorite part of that is the last sentence. There's nothing explicitly offensive about "and he also greets young kids and gives them hugs and makes them happy," but it still hurts your brain. If you could only write one sentence about mascots, that would be it, exactly as punctuated.
You don't understand. never gets that starting role. That designated hitter/occasional catcher's role is perfect for him. It'll make him a big star. I'm gonna run him out of baseball. And let me tell you why. Mike Napoli ruined one of Nolan Ryan's most valuable proteges. For three years we had him under contract. Throwing lessons, strength training, endurance training. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was gonna make him a big star ....
20. Minnesota Twins - T.C. Bear
A bear? Come on. It's not like Nelson are doing anything these days. And even though I've been railing against stupid pun-based names, there was a chance to name this one Harmon Killerbear, which could have redeemed the whole genre.
21. Toronto Blue Jays - Ace
Again, the Blue Jays are constantly forced to figure out ways to make blue jays cute, fierce, or in any way appealing. The problem is that the blue jay is pretty much the worst bird in the world. A more accurate costume would be a guy in a tick-infested costume yelling, "HEY. HEY. HEY. HEY. HEY." at every single fan until someone is forced to shoot him with a BB gun.
22. Detroit Tigers - Paws
Mike Ilitch went on vacation one February, and before he left he wrote "Come up with a mascot!" on the dry-erase board in the break room, and everyone totally ignored it until Frank saw it at 5:55 p.m. on Friday. Everyone had, like, plans and stuff. So they came up with a Tiger. His name is Paws because he has paws. Don't take it from me, check out the Wikipedia page:
I wonder what the marketing department spent those bonuses on.
23. San Francisco Giants - Lou Seal
Okay, so seals are geographically appropriate and there's an allusion to the San Francisco Seals. Fine so far. But to name the mascot, there was a contest. The winner was a first and last name that, when said together, sounded like a woman's first name. That's it. That's the whole joke.
He represents San Francisco, where Coppola started American Zoetrope studio, and where the Fillmore was the American center of the '60s music scene, and the best they could come up with for a male anthropomorphic seal was a name that sounds like a woman's proper name. Disgraceful.
Don't know what that is supposed to be. It's like the product of horrible slash-fic.
It was dreadfully lonely, this existence of being a lion-man. No one to talk to. Everyone was afraid. So he didn't feel guilty or embarrassed when he ordered the sea monkeys. The ad was certainly appealing. Look at how much fun they're having! Look how many friends he'd have!
But then the sea monkeys came in the mail. She was there with them. He couldn't believe it. She was gorgeous beyond belief, a ravishing aquatic dream. He sent away for a friend. He received ... a lover.
The Phillie Phanatic is atop this power ranking, but it's not because he's the greatest thing to ever to happen to baseball. He's okay. Nothing completely transcendent.
That's about what Alice in Chains would be to the history of rock -- good, better than most, but let's not go crazy. If the Phillie Phanatic is the Alice in Chains of mascots, any sort of wacky unidentifiable monster mascot that follows is like the Godsmack, Puddle of Mudd, or Staind -- a horribly bastardized version that makes you wonder if the original was worth it.
28. Atlanta Braves - Homer
Cleveland Indians - Slider (tie)
Nope. You don't get a cutesy mascot. You have to go the whole way. You can't have Chief Wahoo, tomahawk chops, and war chants and not go the whole way with an offensive mascot. Make the mascot Chief Takeyourscalp and have him give away toys to children, only to return later and take them back as they sob uncontrollably. Being partially offensive is like being somewhat pregnant. Either back away from the offensive stuff, or go all in.
30. Colorado Rockies - Dinger
No surprise. He's the perfect storm. He combines 1) pointless cutesy with 2) something that's barely related with the region or team name and 3) stands behind home plate and acts like an idiot, probably hoping he'll distract opposing pitchers.
That's not the most egregious example I could find -- it's just the first one. He the greatest problem facing our country right now. And it's not like Rockies fans like him, either. Everyone hates him. If you could fire syphilis, wouldn't you? Everyone would. No one likes it. Same thing with Dinger, yet the Rockies forge on with the worst mascot in baseball history.
Previous Power Rankings:
6/27 - Promotional giveaways
6/21 - Health inspection reports
6/13 - Random ex-major leaguers in minor-league system
6/6 - Awesome names in draft history
5/31 - Team logos
5/24 - Annoying people
5/17 - Song titles
5/10 - Hair metal bands
5/3 - Sitcom locations
4/24 - Team names