Thursday, June 15, 2006

MLB Mascot Ratings

Mascots have been a hot topic in the sports-web world this year. The nation has voiced their opinion about the funniest nicknames. According to Deadspin, I believe the Rhode Island School of Design took home first prize by having a penis and giant balls as their mascot, and call themselves the Nads. While MLB team names can’t hold a candle to these guys, team web pages often provide bios and long explanations of why their mascot exists and his role in the community. That being said, I’ve designated a system for evaluating the usefulness and overall value that a MLB mascot gives their team.

Mascots will be judged on a scale of 1-5 based on the following criteria:

1) Spirit: As Sparky Polastri says in Bring It On, “these are spirit fingers…and these are gold.” OK, I might have to kick my own ass for quoting this movie, but Polastri does know best. Mascots are there to inspire and get the drunken crowd involved in the game. And to inspire they need spirit—joy, happiness, a cunning wit. In other words, W.I.T. (whatever it takes) to get the job done.



2) Tenacity: How badass is your mascot? Is he going to strike fear in the opposing team, or is he going to be playing patty cake with the cute M.I.L.F.’s in the left field bleachers? While mascots are there to cheer (see number 1), they are also there to help the team win. And winning means intimidating…I guess.

3) Relevance: Now, this category is here because some mascots just don’t make sense. For instance, if your name is the Beavers, you can’t have a military assassin as your main man. But if you garner your beaver in grenades, M16 rifles, and a patch over his left eye, that’s fine by me. You just can’t do something completely out of left field.

4) Hilarity: While this may be confused with spirit, it shouldn’t be. Humor may help a mascot achieve more spirit, yet, the two are distinct. Spirit implies more than being funny: it’s in a broader spectrum, more about how much “impact” a mascot has during the game. Hilarity, in my mind, is the mascot’s most important job. If he brings a smile to my face, he’s done his job.

5) Accolades: What has this mascot achieved in his tenure with the club? Is he popular? Do people like him? Has he made a name for himself or what?

I’m going to start with the American League East today, and finish up the rest of the league over the course of the season.

Baltimore Orioles


What is it: Naturally, an Oriole. His name though, is simply, “The Bird.”



What you should know: Hatched out of a giant egg in Memorial stadium in 1979, The Bird, has been terrorizing families with his stupid smile and little hat for nearly thirty years. I think owner Peter Angelos has lost his mind, as this bird has a number of important responsibilities including being the official Goodwill Ambassador of the team, as well as making public appearances (for a fee, of course.) He also, “bats with both wings,” and his hobbies include “sliding on dugouts and acting like a birdbrain.”

Spirit: 2
Tenacity: 1
Relevance: 4
Hilarity: 1
Accolades: 4 (Goodwill Ambassador after all)
Total: 12

What it all means: Throw him in a fire and slather his “birdbrain” ass in BBQ.

Toronto Blue Jays

What is it: Ace—a giant Blue Jay.



What you should know: I’ll tell you what, I like Ace. He’s got a lot of things working for him. For starters, unlike the Oriole, he hasn’t put a hat on his head. Instead, his head and face cone out, creating an illusion of viciousness. His hands match his head, blue, and resemble gloves—why would he need gloves? I don’t want to know. His profile lends to his personality: “Ace is always hatching up a plan to foil the other team. He likes to playfully ruffle the feathers of the officials and players alike. His eagle eye helps him catch fly balls and spot opportunities for mischief." His hobbies include, “people watching,” and his grandfather supposedly, co-wrote the song, “Rockin’ Robin.”

Spirit: 3
Tenacity: 5
Relevance: 4
Hilarity: 1 (I wouldn’t laugh at him if I were you)
Accolades: 2
Total: 15

What it all means: Don’t fuck with Ace. He’s watching your every move.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

What is it: Raymond, a….a…..Jesus, there’s a rather long explanation for what he is exactly: Not knowing what this thing was, marine biologists finally discovered that he was of the undiscovered species called, "Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus," or a seadog.



What you should know: Apparently, a lot. Raymond’s bio is longer than any of the players who actually play on the Rays. You might say Raymond is a bit more eclectic than the other mascots. He likes full contact shuffleboard, belly dancing, extreme chess, and of course, reading. His background is best explained verbatim from his site: “In early 1998, Rays scouts on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico spotted a strange looking animal. The creature, apparently drawn to the boat by the smell of hotdogs on the hibachi, climbed aboard and soon won the scouts over with his silly antics.” Raymond also has his own blog and a Q&A page.

Spirit: 3
Tenacity: 3
Relevance: 1
Hilarity: 3
Accolades: 5
Total: 15

What it all means: Damned if I know. Only an organization like the Devil Rays could come up with shit like this.

New York Yankees


What it is: From what I can tell, they don’t have one. They did, however, briefly have a mascot a couple years ago named Dandy—referring to the song, Yankee Doodle Dandy. He was a spotted bird with a cap. This is the best picture I could find.

Proposed new mascot: This patriotic fellow below, or, Miguel Cairo could dress up as a clown and actually earn his money.



Spirit: 5 (Dandy has spirit fingers if I’ve ever seen them)
Tenacity: 2 (he scares me a little)
Relevance: 3
Hilarity: 3
Accolades: 1
Total: 14

What it all means: It’s my guess that the Yankees got rid of Dandy as soon as that looney toon (sorry) Steinbrenner confused him with Yankee-Legend-In-The-Making Randy Johnson.

Boston Red Sox

What is it: Wally the Green Monster. A jolly fellow with a green face, a big orange nose, and a charming smile.



What you should know: He’s shy about his weight, and has secretly been living inside the “wall” since 1947.

Spirit: 4
Tenacity: 2
Relevance: 5 (for creativity)
Hilarity: 2
Accolades: 1
Total: 14

What it all means: You probably shouldn’t let your children get to too close to this thing. It gets lonely in that wall.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Andrew said...

Two comments, one about Ace and one about Wally:

Ace is a lot less terrifying and a lot more annoying in person. For one thing, he has a fairly pathetic posse of breakdancers, and he himself attempts to breakdance in between innings on top of one of the dugouts. For another, they tried really hard to make him look terrifying, even going so far as to add bulging muscles, and the effect is more off-putting than intimidating.

As for Wally, his biggest claims to fame are 1) at first, Sox fans hated him so much that they pelted him with litter constantly, until the Sox didn't let him on the field anymore; at least not until 2) popular Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy started carrying around a plush Wally doll, talking to it in the booth, and generally making it a part of his excellent schtick until he won our hearts and minds or whatever.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Sandro said...

Hmm....I saw the potential for overrating Ace...you make wise points about Wally. He is fairly new on the scene, and I could see the people of Boston rejecting him. Nevertheless, I wish the Yankees had something I could throw garbage at between innings. (No Giambi jokes)

2:05 PM  
Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Uh...why have you seen bring it on....to quote Homer Simpson: There better be a not-gay explanation for this.

And don't answer, We're very drunk. Bart already stole that one.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Mr. Children said...

Sadly, Raymond is the best free agent signing D-Rays scouts have recommended.

12:12 AM  

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