Nationals Baseball: Mascot thoughts

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mascot thoughts

Because it's January and man, aren't you tired of people railing on A-Rod or railing on people because they are not railing on A-Rod? (Seriously I think if MLB just flat out knee-capped A-Rod there'd be a non-ignorable contingent of fans that would say they did what they had to do)

First things first - some bench thoughts

1) It's super hard to get a good hitting MI on your bench. Why? Because some teams don't even have a good hitting MI in their starting lineup. So it's not necessarily a knock if you don't have one - though he should still hit well enough not to actively hurt the team if he's in (I'm looking at an X-Ray of your shoulder, Danny Espinosa)

2) Benches are small affairs so one player can drastically shift the impression of a bench. The off-season isn't over and any of these teams, Nats included, could get much better (or worse I suppose) before Spring Training

Ok on with the show

I have a soft-spot in my heart for mascots. Not because I actually like mascots. My feelings for them at the park generally range from disdain all the way to apathy. Even as a kid - didn't have a taste for them (sorry marketers!) They are a distraction, less about getting kids interested in the game and more about getting kids TO the game... where their parents can spend even more money. But I can't deny I'm fascinated by the design process. How did these decisions get made? Why? Somewhere lost in the annals of the internet are my rankings of the mascots. So a new mascot for me is a big deal.

What do I think of Clark?

Well I like the name - obviously ties into the team (one of the cross streets for Wrigley) without being lame, like say "Cubbie" would be.

I also like that he's a Cub. It's an obvious choice, but we're talking about mascots here. Obvious choices should be made (and non-specific entities should be avoided at all costs - Phanatic first and only).

The uniform is ok.  Much like say Paws or FredBird, he does the bare minimum with the hat and jersey.  I'll admit that I have a slight preference for the forward facing hat but whatever.  I did have to wait for "in real life" pics to see if he got pants or not.  Nope. (cartoon misrepresentation does happen - look at Rangers Captain. In cartoons often dressed up as a weird baseball/cowboy amalgam.  In real life super snazzy full uniform)

All in all I'd put him in the middle of the pack, a "getting the job done" mascot. Outside the name there is little clever about him and while a bear is obvious, there is nothing about his design that would in itself lead to fun.  Even his face is so-so, in comparison to say the more lovable face of TC Bear.  Of course it could have been much much worse. A B- job.

How could they have improved it? Well full uniform for one, but that's personal preference. A more rotund shape possibly.  A design centered around the iconic Harry Caray look would have been nice. Somehow referencing Ernie Banks might have helped though off the top of my head I'm not coming up with anything. And definitely his shoulder patches should have been the old school cubs logos here and here. A bear's gotta have some species pride.


cass said...

Best mascots I've ever seen were Altoona's. I was a visiting fan in full Nats gear in the first or second row behind the visitor's dugout on opening day. Can't remember everything they did, but I definitely got hit by a toilet paper gun. Most beautiful minor league park I've been to and very friendly people. Always meant to go back, but the big league team's been too good. I'd recommend Altoona over Harrisburg, though, if you want to see the Senators play.

Sorry, I have no opinions on Clark. Would have to observe him in person. So much depends on how the character interacts with people. It all strikes me as rather bland. Unless the mascot is good, I generally can work up more of an opinion over jerseys.

Harper said...

minor league mascots can be great. Wool E Bull is pretty good here. Even though I hate nonsense mascots I do have warm feeling toward Bingo, the Burlington Royals mascot. He does the race v Kids right (too stupid or distracted to beat the kid) rather than wrong (suddenly much slower than we've already seen you move)

JWLumley said...

I'd like to see more mascots like the Crazy Crab. As it is the Nats mascot isn't bad. I mean, the Aqua Net hair, the vanilla phrases and cliches like someone pulled a string on his back and the poor tie choices are funny enough. I kind of wish he wore a uniform or something but much of the aforementioned makes Bob Carpenter a middle of the road mascot...wait, what, you mean Carpenter is the announcer not the mascot? Well, that's a problem.

Since it's January, here's an article idea, how about something on the Nats broadcast team to include the pre and post game show? Are they awful because of the MASN dispute, or would they be awful regardless? (I like FP, but Carpenter, Johnny Holiday and Ray Knight are terrible. Sometimes I think Jonny and Ray forget where they are and that they're on camera.)

Fat Roommate #2 said...

I can't believe you would even mention nonsense mascots without discussing Youppi!

Harper said...

FR#2 - Youppi isn't nonsense. That's what Canadians look like.

Sirc said...

So what's your opinion on the A-Rod suspension? Obviously baseball did what it had to do, but what's your take?

Zimmerman11 said...


The Phanatic is a poor man's Youppi!

NTPNate said...

Fat Screech is the only true Screech!

(With apologies to Dustin Diamond.)

Anonymous said...

After over a hundred years of waiting for next year, the mascot certainly can't much it worse for the Cubs.

That being said, the combination of freckles and no pants doesn't really work for me in a mascot.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I like the Nats broadcast team. Johnny Holliday is forgettable, but Ray Knight has that interesting 'is he drunk or isn't he?' thing going on. FP has won me over with some good anecdotes and by not always saying the standard phrases, and Bob is just a cookie-cutter type of announcer. Like a poor man's Vin Scully.

Overall, they're pretty watchable.

Michael Norland said...

Harper - Which of the free agents available (and likely to accept a bench spot) would be a huge upgrade? Baker is the one name that comes to my mind, but interested to hear your thoughts.

Harper said...

JWLumley/Anon #2 - I listen to far more games than I watch (and would nearly never watch a pre/post gamer) so I'm not sure I'd be the best one to do something like that. Of course maybe that in itself says something.

Sirc - Short version - Think A-Rod is guilty (and selfish). Think MLB went too far (did not HAVE to do anything). Think A-Rod has very weak case. Not outraged at anyone. As a Yankee fan, happy his salary is off the book.

Z11 - The Phanatic is Youppi after factoring in exchange rates.

NTPNate - I have found the one that likes "Chicken Hawk" Screech! My quest is over. I am turning into dust now.

Anon #1 - Really? I always thought "Sexual Predator Richie Cunningham" would be a great mascot. To each his own.

MN - "huge upgrade"? Well you could look at that a couple ways. Tyler Moore was a special kind of bad last year. For people with 170+ PAs he was 298 out of 380 in fangraphs offensive stat, 307 out of 380 in defense. A combination of doing everything poorly that put him at 367 out of 380 in fWAR. Since the stat can go negative and adds up it's really hard to be up high or down low without a lot of playing time. The only guy who played as little as Moore and hurt his team as much was Mark Kotsay, would is technically old enough to have fathered Moore.

I guess all that is a long way of saying - who ISN'T a big improvement over that? But I think what you mean is who can the Nats bring in who will be good? Not many Jeff Baker (v Lefties) is the best bet. Other platoony OF/1B guys include Lyle Overbay (v R - but shouldn't be in OF so what's the point?). Reed Johnson, Andres Torres (v Lefties, Torres if you like fielding, Johnson a better hitter). IF wise pickings are slimmer. Justin Turner playing is likely not to be a negative. You might get some decent defense from Polanco but couldn't hit him ever versus a righty. He's close to completely done.

blovy8 said...

That's a tough job. I've seen the Nats' Potomac club's mascot, Uncle Slam, in the beer line. He was even on the DL for a few months in 2012, I suspect it was something to do with being extremely creepy. I don't wanna know what the rehab process is for that...

blovy8 said...

I kind of like it when it's not obvious what the hell the mascot is. For instance, there's a Jersey Shore minor league team, the Blue Claws, I saw a few years agao, where as near as we could determine, the mascot was a crabmeat-like blob that approximated some snot, i.e., a loogy. That's going to make it a lot easier for that mascot to make The Show.

Harper said...

blovy8 - even if I generally don't like 'em I don't dare disrepect them. Hardest working men (and women) in baseball

Are you talking about Buster?

Come on this is obviously better

or at least a fisherman or a beach bum or Snooki for gods sake

Zimmerman11 said...

I read this article again because it was entertaining... was anyone distracted ed by Harper's "B-" grade, which he called a B-Job? Between that and sexual predator Richie Cunningham... things are getting CRAZY UP IN HERE!

Anonymous said...

I think we're all losing sight of the main issue here. Why don't the Nats re-sign Brian Bixler?

In the case of a zombie apocalypse, there's really no obvious candidate to be picked off in wide-eyed surprise now that Brian's gone. Maybe McLouth, but I think it's more likely he'd take out the zombies with his trademarked "scrappy" play. A single stretched into a decapitation.

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