Say you and your friend took in an afternoon event at a local minor league ballpark, an event revolving around beer that included a lot of day drinking. You pass out at some point and wake up in a dingy stadium stairwell later that night, long after the event itself has ended. On your way out, an open door reveals a surprise, the beloved mascot's costume. And suddenly, you've stumbled into a moral quandary.
Stay with the mission, find a way out. Or, you could borrow the mascot's costume, put it on, find your way out and head downtown to continue the revelry with your pals, only this time draped in a new identity.
It was a simple choice for Joe Gillespie, the man with a frosted-tipped mullet whose mugshot is pictured here. He found Homer the Dragon's costume on his way out of BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knight, and did something he'd always wanted to do. The result is the greatest drunk story in the history of drinking.
Gillespie recounted his story to Creative Loafing Charlotte, a simple Q 'n A that belongs on the short list for the greatest American sports writing of the last decade at least:
"The event ended at 9 p.m., but the next thing I remember I wake up at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday and I'm at the bottom of a stairwell with no idea where I am. I called Mark, and he said, "Where the fuck are you?" I said, "Dude, I don't know. I think I'm still in the stadium."
Mark happened to be at Hooters, so the plan was to meet there. Joe found the costume on his way out, put it on and headed to his destination.
It turns out, being Homer the mascot opens a lot of doors in Charlotte. He went to Hooters where Mark didn't even know it was him. From there, he went next door to a place called Tilt. They weren't going to let him in, but relented at his pleas.
Turns out that being a mascot gives a person a certain release, not that Joe probably had many inhibitions to begin with:
"There was nobody on the dance floor. I come sliding in and start getting it. I was doing all the moves you always wanted to try, but are too embarrassed to."
Of course, it all came to an end, around 9 p.m. Sunday (but do yourself a favor and read about the shit he did while dressed in the mascot's costume). That's when the cops showed up.
There are a few lessons that we can take away from Joe's story here.
1. Cops are gonna be cops, man.
"There was four of them and three of them were cool. One dude was a nerd, he was trying to be Mr. Officer."
2. It's not totally his fault.
"The headline said something like 'Man breaks into BB&T Ballpark and flees scene wearing costume.'
"Man, how did I break in when I was already in there? It wasn't breaking and entering, it was opening and exiting. Someone could've walked around and checked the building after Beerfest -- I would've left."
3. People like mascots.
"I got like three numbers that night and have added like 20 chicks on Facebook. That's been a plus."
4. Think ahead.
Joe took a two-way radio along with the costume:
"I got that in case they radioed that the suit was stolen so I could just chime them back and say, 'Hey, I have it. Don't worry, I'll return it.'"
5. How do you definite thief?
"If I could, I would call Mr. Knight or whoever the person is and talk to him and explain I'm not a thief. If I was, I would've stolen valuable stuff.
"Professionals steal, amateurs borrow. I'm just an amateur."
Whatever drunk stories you've got and throw them out the window. It doesn't live up to this.
Here's what makes Joe Gillespie incredible: This might not even be his best night of all time. He classified this as one of his "top three nights of all time."
Top three? It's not even the guy's greatest night of all time! HOW?
Joe gets his day in court in November. His case looks airtight to me.
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SB Nation video archives: The creepiest mascots in sports (2014)