In what may be the biggest mascot news scoop of our time, at least since the New York Times last wrote about it in 1998, the Wall Street Journal’s Scott Cacciola cracked open the vaults of failure this morning, and out crawled Yankee Dandy.
From 1979 to 1981, the Yankees employed a mascot named Dandy. He was big and blue and a spectacular failure”a historical oddity for a proud franchise that has collected 27 world championships but would just as soon forget he even existed.
The mascot, brainchild and surrogate child of mascot designers Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, also parents to the Phillie Phanatic (presumably by another biological father), suffered a quick demise as fallout from a Lou Piniella-San Diego Chicken mitt-tossing skirmish that would lead the Yankees organization to declare mascots out of bounds for good.
Following the digg and retweet popularity of today’s piece on Yankee Dandy, follow-up articles on similarly defunct MLB mascots like the Cubs Fop and the Los Angeles Fancy-Man are planned by the WSJ for later this week.
This reporter has been shamefully remiss in keeping CSTB readers, furry phanatics and other mascot aficionados abreast of the latest haps in costumed cheerleading culture, but now that I’ve been fired from my latest job I should have a little more time to enjoy current cultural events.
In breaking news: patent sleuths uncover some mysterious mascot mysteries linking George Steinbrenner to the trade. Though it’d be satisfying to see this guy degrading himself in the Bronx, it’s safe to assume the costume is just some pet project for a birthday party, ice cream social, or Girl Talk concert.
And it’s a slippery and dramatic slope downhill from a past riddled with mascot abuse: former UND defenseman and current Caps property Joe Finley was arrested last week for throwing plates and cups in Grand Forks, ND. Oh, and a friggin lawnmower.
And in bad news in Sussexes all around the world, cricket fans in Sussex, UK are rallying support over a fancy dress ban that apparently discriminates against “harmless” sharks. Sussex, New Jersey might follow suit after the recent scandal involving Scooter, the Sussex Skyhawks mascot, and consider extending their policies to ban child pornography?
Being shunned at Shea Stadium all week takes a lot of time out of one’s blogging schedule, which is why CSTB’s SMD (Special Mascot Division) is a little late to the party on the top news stories of the week.
Firstly, FIFA is pleased to announce a glam-leopard of some variety as the 2010 World Cup Mascot. His or her name Zakumi, which in assorted African languages means “ten pizzas”. In loving gestures towards the sport, Zakumi has a sort of pentagonal-shaped eczema on his or her forehead, and his or her mane appears to be styled by cleats.
Secondly, those (perhaps the Mets’ relief pitchers) looking for a fallback career in the current economic downturn may wish to consider a move to scenic Oakland, California: auditions are now open for Stomper. Admittedly an elephant isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when one tries to envision the living, polyurethane, clowning equivalent of “Athletic”, but it’s at least as good a leap of marketing logic as the five anthropomorphic penises the Pennsylvania Lottery picked to represent its new Quinto lottery game. Thank you to the Keystone State for reawakening a horror not thought upon since the Ziploc Finger Man campaign of the early ’90s.
(Chip, the University of Colorado Buffaloes mascot, appearing in only vaguely less flamboyant Mardi Gras attire last year)
The University of Colorado has issued an official apology for the appearance of Chip, its mascot buffalo, in gangsta-themed attire Friday during a “kid’s night” promotion at a Nuggets basketball game in Denver’s Pepsi Center.
From the Rocky Mountain News via the Boulder Daily Camera:
The fuzzy, cartoon-like buffalo had replaced his trademark CU clothing with a white T-shirt and baggy pants, a do-rag and fake gold teeth. The costume also included a graphic of a teardrop tattoo below one eye. The tattoo is commonly associated with gang activity, often signifying that the wearer has killed someone
“It was, basically, every stereotypical thing you could think of,” CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said. “It ended up being a gang-style persona, and that’s just unacceptable.”
Hilliard said two CU student volunteers who have played the part of Chip since at least August of last year came up with the costume. He declined to name the students, saying officials wanted to have the opportunity to decide on an appropriate action first.
“Because they’ve represented Chip before, they should have known better,” Hilliard said…”We want to apologize to the general public for this, to Nuggets fans and to Buffs fans. This does not represent our values.”
Though the students in question who “represent” Chip are no doubt eligible for numerous social rehabilitation programs on campus, there is no word yet as to the availability of painful mascot tattoo removal procedures in Boulder County.
In a series of what can only be multiple failures to focus group the names of anything, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, new AAA affiliate for the Philadelphia Phillies, announced last week that the team’s mascot would be named PorkChop. They then announced a new name Monday, after being informed by several members of Allentown’s large Latino community that PorkChop is a slang term for various Hispanic ethnicities. The new mascot name, Ferrous, was selected from “fan” nominations, and refers to the Latin (but not Latino) word “ferrum”, for Iron, in continued celebration of the city’s delightful iron industry.
The IronPigs, who will have their inaugural season in 2008, replace the Ottawa Lynx. Hopefully Ferrous will be less clumsy than his Canadian predecessor.
I knew it was confirmation I was definitely ready to leave Toronto when the list of things I wanted to do before I left started with: 1. Go to Hamilton and 2. Go to Montreal. Luckily number three was to see a CFL game before I cut out, and though I still didn’t have enough Air Miles after 9 years residence to take out my friends ” I figured what the hell. I can spend the $20 (note: 500 level SkyDome costs the same as 200 level for CFL games ” what?) for one last fling with Canadian sports.
Although the game was riveting ” Khalil Carter’s 68-yard (why not metre?) TD in the third, followed by his brief nap in the end-zone, was great ” the differences between CFL football and NFL football were distracting.
#1 problem: “Jason” the mascot talks. I appreciated his clamboring over a stool to allow us to be photographed together, but this whole talking mascot thing has got to stop. BJ Birdie was a huge violator of this mascot code as well. Is it a SkyDome thing? What the fuck? There was an inflatable Wendy’s Frosty running around the field at halftime ” though I don’t go for inflatables, I bet he would have known when to shut up.
#2: Sweet Caroline. Come on, people. Your weird early autumn semi-national pastime is not a Red Sox game. Or a minor league game out at Coney, for that matter. Why the fuck is this happening?
#3: If someone could please call Mr. Lukas in on this ” the Argos seem to dramatically change logos every one to six years. The best one features a football with stitches for oars. Why the fuck is this NOT happening?
Finally, the CFL seems to draw more gays than other Canadian sports. I mean in attendance in the stands. That’s what I mean.
Mascot driver licensing procedures were once again called into question at Safeco Field yesterday, as the Seattle Mariners’ mascot, the Mariners Moose, nearly ran down Boston’s Coco Crisp in an all-terrain vehicle.
The incident had disturbing shades of the Tennessee Titans mascot mishap of nearly one year ago, in which New Orleans’ Saints quarterback Adrian McPherson was charged by a mascot-manned golf cart.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean to take me out,” said Crisp to reporters after he was clipped by the Moose-piloted ATV in the middle of the fifth.
The incident came in the middle of another demoralizing Mariners loss, this time 9-2 down to the Red Sox as Josh Beckett collected his 14th win. Crisp, who scored twice in Sunday’s game, RBI’d and made a dramatic diving catch, would have been a good man to take out.
From the Seattle Times article by Steve Kelley:
“Why do crazy things like that always happen to me that you people always want to talk about?” Crisp asked…
“I was told it looked like something from ‘Naked Gun,’ ” said manager Terry Francona, who was in the clubhouse at the time.
Crisp was clipped on the knee by the cart and staggered for a second, but didn’t fall. Instead of getting mad, or even, Crisp played along with the gag, faking like he was going to throw his glove at the offending Moose, before running out to center.
“I’m not an angry person,” Crisp said. “I’m not going to run over and go clothesline the guy.”
Interested lawyers can reach Crisp care of the Boston Red Sox organization.
Just days after the formal celebration of America’s greatness, mascots nationwide continued to revel in their freedom”physically. More than a dozen mascots showed up Saturday to participate in Seattle’s annual Pioneer Square Fire Festival, after which at least some of the mascots”Oregon State’s Benny Beaver, and Eastern Washington University’s Swoop the Eagle were both named in the police report”took things a little too far in the wee hours of the morning.
According to the Post-Intelligencer, area police were on a routine walk-through of the rowdy bar area when they came upon the extremely unpatriotic act of someone beating the shit out of Swoop.
The officers watched as a 30-year-old Seattle man shoved the eagle to the curb and then stomped on the costumed man’s back as the eagle’s costumed confederate — a man dressed as a beaver — looked on.
Witnesses told police the costumed men had been jumping into traffic and harassing people on the sidewalk. The costume-clad men admitted to police that they had been jumping around the bar patron, but disputed the other man’s claim that the eagle had landed on his back.
Luckily Minnesota Twins mascot T.C., who won last week’s Home Run Derby in San Francisco, faced no such retribution from friendly rivals Bernie Brewer or Junction Jack (presumably Bernie can actually hold his liquor.)
Scranton, Penn. resident Jay S. Hastings, undoubtedly better known as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees mascot “The Grump”, was arrested Saturday night at the Wyoming Valley Mall when the internet date he had arranged turned out to be with law enforcement officials and not a 14-year-old boy as planned.
The Green Monster clone’s “talent” was lured by police in a sting operation on March 22 and 27, in which Hastings described various sexual acts to police officers posing as a 14-year-old boy over instant messenger.
According to the Times Leader:
A general conversation took place for several minutes with Hastings telling the fictitious boy his age, and saying he had to be careful because he knew police pose as children in chat rooms.
Hastings told the boy he works at the baseball stadium and said it didn™t bother him that the boy was 14 years old…
Hastings agreed to meet the boy near the mall™s food court at about 9 p.m. Saturday. He told the boy he would be driving the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees van.
Though there is nothing funny about the
time-honoured tradition desperately sick pursuit of young boys by sports mascots, at least the Yankees recently changed the AAA-affiliate’s name from the Red Barons, thus clarifying exactly which organization ‘s good name the “Grump” was sullying.
While astute mascot watchers begin the tailgate of tear-welling that heralds the demise of Chief Illiniwek this evening, news from further east offers a ray of hope to would-be mascot maulers and film enthusiasts alike.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that harrassment charges were dropped Tuesday against a Pittsburgh-area man who, along with four others, attacked a giant Quizno’s soft-drink cup mascot last April along Route 30 in North Huntingdon.
Nicholas Trumpe, 24, was fined $400 for last spring’s attempt to emulate the movie Jackass.
He and his four accomplices appeared in a Westmoreland County courthouse yesterday to contest charges of disorderly conduct and harrassment. All had harrassment charges dropped in favor of fines, and Trumpe avoided a 30-day jail sentence originally handed down in 2006.
According to today’s recap by Rich Cholodofsky:
Witnesses said the men ran out of the car, kicked the person in the beverage costume several times and then posed in celebration before returning to the vehicle as the light turned green.
Matthew Kukic, 17, the costumed cup, told the judge he was surprised by the attack and suffered lingering knee problems as a result of the stunt.
Though many would expect Kukic’s brutal assault might give him pause in career choice, his unflappable professionalism would suggest he’ll have a bright future in the “bigs” should he choose to move up to the world of, say, WNBA mascot:
“I was so scared that when it was over I started waving again. I didn’t know what else to do,” Kukic said.
Both Doug Kalemba and Jon Solomon beat each other to a pulp this morning to make sure I knew about the town hall meeting this evening at Carnegie Mellon University to finally settle the question of who will be their official mascot. Because apparently that affable low-rent fur-suited Scottie dog in a plaid vest that skitters about the field at CMU Tartans games? Is not, technically, their mascot.
The Post-Gazette reports:
…As it turns out, a school that has programmed robots for space exploration and cracked some of the world’s trickiest computing riddles nevertheless falls short by one measure of problem solving skill: It has never in its 106-year history come up with an official mascot.
So the school has formed a task force to do something about it. The panel is asking students, alumni and others if the Scottie Dog now used informally ought to be Carnegie Mellon’s official image, or if something else — a robot, say, or maybe a bagpiper — better suits a university with Scottish roots that has produced both Nobel Prize winners and Hollywood stars…
…Whatever the choice is, Carnegie Mellon will have to consider just how the image should be crafted and then take steps to trademark its use, said Jennifer Church, dean of student affairs who co-chairs the Mascot Task Force. The school said the name Tartans will continue to be used, especially in connection with athletics.
Arguing that the ambiguously relevant Scottish terrier should be replaced with something depicted with more consistency and, theoretically, marketability, the school is entertaining input from many of the future Nobel Prize winners and Hollywood stars who comprise its student body:
“We have Tartan as our name, but it’s characterized as the Scottie Dogs because you can’t really have a Tartan out there dancing around. That’s kind of the problem,” said Megan Pentz, 21, a senior and art major from Hartford, Conn.
Tonight’s town hall meeting takes place at the University Center’s McConomy Auditorium (pouring rights: PepsiCo) at 5:30pm.
In what seemed like the perfect crime, Paul Clark, talent for the Continental Basketball Association’s Great Falls Explorers Rocky Raccoon mascot, was arrested Monday after being found putting in unnecessary overtime at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls in order to siphon excess beer from the venue’s beer keg.
Clark/Rocky, along with companion Kenneth Gavin, 18, of Cascade, was found inside the arena at approximately 2:00am by security, reports the Great Falls Tribune. The two men admitted to entering the building in order to steal some tap beer.
Clark is suspended without pay from his duties as Rocky Raccoon, said Ryan Acra, Great Falls Explorers general manager. Explorers officials will wait for the outcome of court proceedings before making any final decisions.
“We’re mostly worried about him as a person,” Acra said. “He’s part of the family.”
The next home game is Jan. 30. No decisions about who will be wearing the big blue suit for that game have been made.
“This was a huge mistake that I whole-heartedly regret,” Clark said in a written statement. “I would like to apologize to the Great Falls Explorers’ management, coaches, players and fans.”
Clark said he “accepts full responsibility for my actions” and has “no explanation or excuse for what I have done.”
“I look forward to moving ahead, repaying my debt to society and building a long-lasting relationship with the Great Falls Explorers,” Clark said. “I take a lot of pride in my position as Rocky Raccoon and cannot wait to get back on the floor to entertain fans of all ages.”
Society was unavailable for comment on whether the inestimable debt incurred by the enormous blue raccoon could, indeed, ever be forgiven.
The Smoking Gun reports today that Tennesee Titans QB Adrian McPherson is suing the Titans for $20 million following an August mishap in which McPherson was accidentally struck and hit by T-Rac, the Titans’ racoon-cum-golf-cart-driving mascot:
The December 15 complaint…notes that McPherson was listed on the Saints roster as a quarterback and “was going to play in other significant capacities for the Saints.” However, “as a result of the wreck,” McPherson was forced to miss the entire pre-season as well as the NFL season, since he was placed on the team’s injured reserve list. McPherson contends that the Titans are culpable for damages since the club allowed “its mascot to operate motorized vehicles on the field while players are present.”
Raccoon mascots, notorious for their bad hearing, are likely to misinterpret simple phrases like “backup quarterback” as “back into this dumbass with your Titans golf cart”.