Everyone seemed to enjoy my previous post on college mascots, so I thought I’d keep the theme up for this one. We’ll call it the mascots sequel post.
College teams aren’t the only ones with mascots. Professional teams have them, too. Granted, I don’t follow professional sports nearly as close as I follow college, but I do enjoy some NFL and NBA action. Baseball isn’t my thing, though, and never has been. But going to high school in the Philly area, I knew my fair share of Phillies fans, with the occasional Yankees fan tossed in, so I heard enough about baseball to make conversation when necessary.
Anyway, the professional football season is nearing its end, too. And then all we’ll have is the NBA, because let’s be real, we’re all losing hope for any kind of NHL season. Then come spring, baseball comes back. I wish I could be more excited about that, but me and baseball don’t really mix.
So, continuing in the spirit of my previous post, I bring you my best, worst, and everything in between of professional sports mascots.
I have no real allegiance to ANY professional sports teams. All following commentary is based on speculation, observation, and cursory research.
Pat the Patriot — He’s the face of the New England Patriots NFL team. The image below was used until the early 90s, when it was replaced by what we see today. I like the older, retro Pat mascot more than I like the live-action Pat in costume. Retro Pat looks intimidating, like he’s lining up to take someone down. I mean, look at that face. Although Eli Manning didn’t seem to have much trouble with him last year. (Sorry Pats fans. I’m really not a hater, nor am I a Giants fan. The opportunity was just too good to pass. And yes, I know Eli won’t even get a chance this year.)
Iceburgh the Penguin — Okay, so I don’t follow hockey at all, but I am familiar with most of the teams and some cursory details about them. I do know that you cannot say “no” to a penguin in any shape, form, or fashion. Which brings me to Pittsburgh’s NHL mascot, Iceburgh. He may not be terribly intimidating, and I admit he’s a bit derpy-looking, but as I said, he’s a penguin, and penguins are awesome. And it’s appropriate…hockey is played on ice, and penguins live and play on ice, so it all works out.
Sourdough Sam — Sam resides in San Francisco with the 49ers. He and the team are named in honor of the prospectors who searched for gold in the gold rush of 1849. To me, it’s hard to pull off human mascots without them looking scary; exhibit A, Steely McBeam of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Sam looks tough without appearing overly ugly. And look, he’s even smiling and giving a thumbs-up! He must be happy that the Niners are going to the playoffs.
San Diego’s Boltman — Umm…what? I’m not even sure where to start with this dude. The smile? The sunglasses? The excessive forehead wrinkles? Although I’d hate to see what his eyes look like under those glasses, so please, Mr. Boltman, keep those on. And as bright as a lighting bolt is, he might go blind without them. I’m actually at a loss for what else to say. Guess that’s a bad sign for the Chargers? But seriously, there’s got to be something better than Boltman.
Stuff the (Orlando) Magic Dragon — …lived by the court. And cheered and jeered and danced around with the fans who watched the game! That was written to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon”; I couldn’t resist the parody. I’ve seen Stuff in blue and green, and I have to say I prefer blue over green. Regardless of color, Stuff isn’t what I’d call a top mascot. He looks like something I would have scribbled on the back of a worksheet in kindergarten when I’d finished earlier than the other kids. The pink fairy wings and starry antennae don’t help Stuff’s case in the least. He does appear angry, but if I looked like that, I suppose I’d be pretty angry, too.
Pirate Parrot — Again with the furry green mascots! And why a parrot? Yeah, I get the whole “pirates have parrots on their shoulders” thing, but wouldn’t an actual pirate be more intimidating? Then again, Pittsburgh doesn’t seem to be that great at “real people” mascots, as I mentioned about Steely McBeam above. Maybe Pirate Parrot is okay in that case. Also, what is he doing in the below picture? The “funky chicken” dance? If so, then the irony is fantastic.
Phillie Phanatic — Noticing a pattern yet? What is it with large, frightening, green creatures? But seriously, the Phanatic has to be the scariest mascot I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure I actually had nightmares about this thing once or twice, back when the Phillies won the 2008 World Series and everyone at my high school was going crazy. And what is that fuzzy, horn-like growth on his face? Hairy green creatures should just be a no-no in general. No one seems to do them right, so let’s just stop before it gets worse.
G-Wiz — In my mind, this is pretty much the NBA’s version of the Phanatic. He looks like something a wizard created from a bad mix of chemicals and the wrong spell. I’d rather see Merlin from Disney’s version of The Sword in the Stone on the bench. At least he’s an actual wizard. And if we’re going down that road, let’s have Dumbledore down there! Maybe he’d inspire the Wizards to win a few more games every now and then.
Mr. Red — I don’t know what’s creepier about this dude: the stache or the Frankenstein-esque stitches. Yes, I get that they’re baseball stitches, but when they’re put on a face, it looks like Frankenstein instead of a baseball. But the more I look at Mr. Red, the more I think it’s the stache. Maybe he’s friends with Mario and Luigi and took a liking to their styles. For the future, Mr. Red, leave the creepy stache to Italian plumbers from classic video games and find your own style. I suggest no more facial hair. But bow ties are always classy!
JUST PLAIN FUNNY
Clutch the Bear — It’s almost too cute to be a mascot. Clutch looks like something that six-year-old me would have wanted to snuggle with at night. Wouldn’t you think a team like the Houston Rockets would want something a little more astronomical–and menacing–than a teddy bear? All it needs is to borrow wings from Stuff the Magic Dragon and it would be Clutch the Fairy Bear. Unfortunately, there are no fairies in space or on rockets.
New Orleans Pelicans — This is not quite official, but I cannot pass up the chance to poke some fun. In case you haven’t heard yet, the New Orleans Hornets NBA team is hoping to change their name to the Pelicans. The Pelicans. The change will be ready in time for the 2013-14 season. The bright side of this: maybe the Hornets will go home to Charlotte, where the franchise began in the late 1980s. Another bright side? All the bird jokes I could make about Anthony Davis’ eyebrows (like I’m not making them already).
Mariner Moose — I was not aware that Bullwinkle took up playing a mascot after his film days were done. Mariner Moose was the result of a kids’ mascot design contest held by the team in 1990. I suppose that kind of explains why he looks more like a stuffed animal than a Major League Baseball mascot. Come to think of it, I used to have a stuffed animal that looks like Mariner Moose. Why not take after New Orleans and pick some kind of sea bird? The Seattle Seagulls has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
And my final note for this post…since I was just talking about a moose, and because I loved these films: