The Chicago Cubs spent some time playing with actual cubs Friday. It was cute! But let's get one thing straight about mascots.
Most teams aren't named after things that are cute. Most teams are named for nasty, snarling things that could rip you limb from opposing locker room limb. Which got us thinking: which real live mascot would most effectively annihilate the team named for it? We're talking Chicago Bears players versus actual bears at Soldier Field; the Pittsburgh Pirates versus actual peg-legged, cutlass-brandishing swashbucklers at PNC Park. Few teams stand much of a chance against their namesake. Who stands the least chance of living to play another day?
Leave your choices in the comments. The SB Nation staff's are below.
Matt Ellentuck: Charlotte Hornets
Good luck taking on Hornets plural, Charlotte basketball team. Just look at them. They sting. They're ugly. They sting.
Nobody ever specified what type of hornet this team is named after, and I have sources that claim the original name was to be the Charlotte Asian Giant Hornets, and if so they're done.
Like, are you kidding? They kill people. Frank Kaminsky has survived badgers, Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb huskies, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wildcats, but these things fly. Nobody's prepped for that.
They don't even just die after they sting. Bees pale in comparison.
Hiring the Virginia Tech basketball coach might be the team's only hope for defense.
Graham MacAree: Albuquerque Isotopes
This probably depends on the type of isotope they turn out to be. Isotopes might sound exotic, but they merely specify a particular flavor of element. You and every material thing you've ever encountered are made of isotopes (you're mostly O-16, since you asked), so that doesn't sound so scary.
But! The reason isotopes have that exotic sound about them is because some are indeed terrifying. If, for instance, a hunk of Plutonium-239 manifested in Albuquerque, a fairly significant international event would kick off. And depending on just how much P-240 is mixed in, everyone in the area might also get an unfortunate dose of radiation poisoning as well. Probably best avoided.
Ryan Nanni: Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Science has spent decades trying to figure out how to stop a hurricane. We gave silver iodide seeding a shot. We considered flying supersonic jets around them. We’ve weighed the possibilities of lasers and nuclear bombs and giant plastic funnels plopped in the ocean. And none of these ideas have gotten us anywhere.
And those are hurricanes made of wind and water. Now imagine one made of GOLD, whipping around at 130 mph like a Herff Jones delivery from hell. There is nothing this Golden Hurricane would not destroy. Our best chance would be to worship it as a deity. That would fail, too, but at least kneeling would protect our faces from all that high-speed gold.
Gabe Bichinho: Minnesota Vikings
This is for the people who truly want to witness and test the limits of human savagery. This is for those who want to go beyond the mysterious thoughts of wild animals and the boring metaphysical concepts involving something that Neil deGrasse Tyson has to explain to us on Cosmos. As the educational program that it is, History Channel’s Vikings has taught us that above all, these people from hundreds of years ago are not to be trifled with, and they will not hesitate to tear you apart limb by limb, ensuring that the players on the field will endure only the most painful of endings.
Real Vikings are motivated by the desire of expanding their own territory, at the expense of Adrian Peterson’s new cathedral in downtown Minneapolis, but also not confined by the moral limits of humanity. Erik the Red and his clan should be the only things more terrifying to the Minnesotans than Mike Zimmer on a bad day.
Conor Dowley: Seattle Mariners
This is more a reflection of the Seattle Mariners themselves than their mascot, though the merchant sailors they represent can be pretty feisty when they get riled up. But seriously, the Mariners are so hapless most of the time they'd probably lose in a fight to the Everett Aquasox that represent one of their minor league teams.
Of course, if you put them up in a fight with their physical mascot of a moose, they'd definitely lose. Moose are just mean when you provoke them.
Grant Brisbee: Utah Jazz
If this shitty review didn't kill jazz, then jazz is invincible, which means the Utah Jazz would be crushed, and jazz would beat anyone. Seriously, read that review and marvel that jazz is still around after that.
Jason Kirk: UT Dallas Comets
All these mascots are weak trash and would be nothing before a mighty comet. A comet is a frozen rock much bigger than an entire football field. It's also somehow super hot. It sprays gross gas everywhere, much of it toxic. If the entire city and all of its mascot battles isn't squashed by the comet, it'll either be horrifically frozen or burnt or poisoned or have some other video game status effect happen to it. I chose this Division III Texas comet because it's hotter than the comets employed by other teams and therefore probably more cold and poisonous too.
Mark Hinog: Phoenix Suns
It's pretty obvious that, if Earl Watson somehow managed to bring the sun to his team's practice, everyone would die immediately. Not the whole team -- the whole world. The diameter of Earth is roughly 13,000 kilometers. The diameter of our sun is about 1.4 million kilometers. Everything would be consumed by a fiery hell mankind has never seen before. It would be an apocalyptic mess, with every living human and animal melting, burning, evaporating into nothingness, destroyed and transformed back into the universe's simplest molecules. Everything that led up to our current state of world affairs would disappear forever, save for a few satellites that are drifting beyond the sun's reach, but no longer have a home to return to. And it's all because the Earl Watson felt it was necessary to hire the sun to give Phoenix a motivational speech so they could get a playoff berth in 2017.
Pat Iversen: Dallas Stars
This is no contest, and probably the matchup with the most devastating outcome on this list. The Dallas Stars would line up at center ice for puck drop, but once an ACTUAL STAR appears across from them mass chaos would ensue. The American Airlines Center would be engulfed in a conflagration of plasma and radiation as the entire northern hemisphere disintegrates. Imagine the Kaneda death scene in Sunshine, only with hockey pads and less plot holes. By the second intermission, the Earth would no longer exist and the solar system would be altered forever. But Jamie Benn would have one goal.
End galactic interlude.
Marc Normandin: Los Angeles Angels
An actual team of angels facing off against the baseball version of Angels should be pretty easy to figure out. For one, these are angels we're talking about: the immortal and everlasting servants of God from the kingdom of heaven itself. Ever heard of it? Read a book sometime. Second, we've already seen that just a few angels can take on another baseball team and succeed, thanks to the 1994 documentary Angels in the Outfield. An entire team of angels playing baseball against the Angels? And likely angels from one of the more athletic heavenly choirs? Come on now, this is no contest.
There is one thing, though: the angels from heaven don't have Mike Trout on their team. He's still alive and well, and the Angels employ him. Game: The baseball Angels.
Seth Rosenthal: Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche play indoors, weighted down by heavy padding. So that's no good.
Sam Eggleston: Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Let's be honest. You can figure out a way to defeat a bear, or a gator or even a dinosaur. You can hide from hurricanes and lightning. You can out-think a Fighting Irish or a raider. But unless you have a frickin' proton pack strapped to your back, what the heck are you going to do against a phantom? These things can haunt you no matter where you are, can go through walls and even take over clown dolls and giant puffed marshmallow people. Phantoms are the real deal. They would simply slaughter everyone on the team. They could go inside them and crush their hearts. They could bring inanimate objects to life and kill them. They could control the Zamboni and run them over (Like Stephen King's Christine!). Or, just for kicks, they could take over the bodies of the players and fight each other to the death of their hosts.
Claire McNear: Miami Heat
When the temperature of the Earth rises one degree, weather becomes more extreme: stronger and more frequent hurricanes; longer and more punishing droughts. At three degrees, crops die worldwide, rising seas flood major cities and mass migration sends the world’s governments into chaos. By six degrees, super-hurricanes devastate almost every coastline, and mass extinctions — including, probably, of humans — occur. Assuming a starting pressure of 8 PSI, a basketball explodes somewhere around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold has a lower limit. There is no upper limit for heat.