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Baseball's Team Mascots Blame Heavy Costumes for Discontent
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ^ | Sept 2 2002 | JERRY GUIDERA

Posted on 09/02/2002 4:24:50 AM PDT by 2Trievers

Edited on 04/22/2004 11:47:00 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

MILWAUKEE -- Dripping with sweat, 20 of the most colorful characters in baseball peeled off their rubber suits and made for the exits.

On the field, some of the game's best sluggers were still taking swings in the annual Home Run Derby prelude to the July All Star Game. Twenty-four of the Major Leagues' mascots were scheduled to entertain the crowd on the sidelines during the derby and then stick around for some post-event high jinks. But as the competition dragged on, all but a handful were wilting after hours of running around in their heavy costumes in the 90-degree heat.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: baseball; mascots

1 posted on 09/02/2002 4:24:50 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers

Someone always seems to be squawking.


2 posted on 09/02/2002 4:30:53 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers
"Mascots are always an afterthought," says Damian Shepard, a former college mascot in his first season as Seattle's "Mariner Moose."

Not the Chicken for the San Diego Padres. He was the MAIN REASON why fans used to go to the games. BTW, did anybody here see that Simpsons episode where Homer Simpson became a team mascot? He started out in Springfield and then moved up to the bigtime in Capitol City.

3 posted on 09/02/2002 4:34:43 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers
Oops! I posted before coming to the part where the article mentioned that Chicken.
4 posted on 09/02/2002 4:35:45 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers
A Johns Hopkins University study, "Epidemiology of Professional Mascot Injuries," last year found that 42% of all mascots had suffered "an episode of heat illness."

Was this study presented with a straight face?

5 posted on 09/02/2002 4:37:33 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers
Some get paid far less and can only dream of the liberties once taken by the Chicken -- now replaced in San Diego by a watered-down, Padres-sponsored "Friar." League rules, promulgated in response to the antics of the Chicken and the Phillie Phanatic, prohibit the mascots from engaging the umpires and interfering with play.

Any wonder why baseball attendance is declining? BTW, just what does that Friar costume look like? It's kind of hard to picture a Friar as a mascot.

6 posted on 09/02/2002 4:41:14 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers
If they joined a union, they could increase ticket prices AND get air-conditioned suits.
7 posted on 09/02/2002 4:42:14 AM PDT by Principled
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To: 2Trievers
"We could do whatever we wanted at the old stadium," he says. But when a fan complained that Orbit's fake fistfights with visiting mascots promoted violence, Mr. Villanueva, 34, says he was ordered by Houston's mascot coordinator to pull his punches.

I'll bet that PC fan was a Demmycrat. They ruin all the fun!

8 posted on 09/02/2002 4:43:30 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers
Milwaukee mascot coordinator Katie Newcomb concedes Bernie "is a lot more limited on his new perch." She says the beer mug was nixed, "much to the fans' disappointment," because management wanted a more "family-friendly image" at Miller Park.

Talk about hypocrisy!!! Let's see, the mascot is named "Bernie BREWER," they are playing in the Beer Capital(Milwaukee), in a place called MILLER Park and this dopey mascot coordinator says it is somehow wrong for the Beer-themed mascot to slide into a giant mug of beer? BEAM ME UP!

9 posted on 09/02/2002 4:49:36 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers; PJ-Comix
lol . . . "general lack of respect" . . . surely they're not talking about a guy in a marlin suit? -- cynic#456,789
10 posted on 09/02/2002 4:51:15 AM PDT by cyn
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To: 2Trievers
As for keeping Mr. St. Pierre out of the seats, Reds owners are concerned the mascot will obscure fans' view because "he's got a big baseball on his head." says Mr. Butcher. "The game is the most important thing going on, not Mr. Red."

Translation: "Fun is no longer allowed at baseball games."

11 posted on 09/02/2002 4:52:02 AM PDT by PJ-Comix
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To: 2Trievers
" San Diego Chicken goes out on Strike"

Claims he is not getting enough 'scratch'.

12 posted on 09/02/2002 5:12:41 AM PDT by Vinnie
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To: 2Trievers
...Twenty-four of the Major Leagues' mascots were scheduled to entertain the crowd on the sidelines during the derby and then stick around for some post-event high jinks, etc....

I watched the home-run derby and noticed a bunch of mascots all standing together in one place clapping and reacting to the home runs. They looked ridiculous, like idiotic shills with no dignity.

(I mean this "seriously". If you think a guy in a chicken costume can't have much dignity, you haven't seen the San Diego Chicken. His persona was similar to Bugs Bunny, like a smart-alek kid who can get away with doing whatever he feel like, always winning in the end.)

I'm sure not blaming the mascots for doing what they're told, and I sure don't blame them for walking out.

Once again, "baseball management" is totally tone-deaf to what baseball fans want.

The fans *want* to see mascots having fun, acting up, dancing, playing tricks, and so on. I don't think anyone got any enjoyment out of seeing those mascots all just standing there, jumping up and down, and clapping.

I remember a few years ago at Tiger Stadium, during one of the breaks there was a fast-paced song playing on the PA system (could have been "Hold That Tiger").

The Tiger's mascot, "Paws", came running up the aisle, grabbed a little girl by the hand and begin jumping around and dancing to the song.

The little girl danced right along with him, laughing and having a great time. Everybody in the section started clapping along, and they got a big hand at the finish.

*That's* what mascots should be used for, and they deserve to be treated with respect - they earn it by adding so much enjoyment to the customer.

Only a damn fool would tell the mascots to stand together and jump around like idiots for hours in 90 degree heat (which is bad enough), and then expect that they would entertain the customers after that.

13 posted on 09/02/2002 8:29:07 AM PDT by Flashlight
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To: Principled
if i'm still out there roastin' my bird/fish/etc off,
those rich bastards with the a/c'd suits oughta be coughin' up a luxury tax !

it'd be for the chillin', of course ...


14 posted on 09/02/2002 8:32:18 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: BluesDuke
ping...

any comments on this?

Also, I think I missed your take on the All-Star game's tie-finish. Unless you don't have any opinion on it. Yeah, right... :)

15 posted on 09/02/2002 8:34:47 AM PDT by Flashlight
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To: 2Trievers; MotleyGirl70; TADSLOS
"They should be wearing cotton."
16 posted on 09/02/2002 8:35:31 AM PDT by Cagey
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To: Flashlight; BluesDuke
I miss the good olde days when we lived in a saner world. &;-(
17 posted on 09/02/2002 8:36:44 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers
We have Charlie the Riverdog at our minor league games. He's great - better than the Riverdogs, usually. Thankfully, the Riverdogs are run by Mike Veeck (sp?) and he knows what fans want and how to have a good time.
18 posted on 09/02/2002 8:36:46 AM PDT by Salo
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To: Salo
Thankfully, the Riverdogs are run by Mike Veeck (sp?) and he knows what fans want and how to have a good time.

Wasn't that the guy who engineered the game where attendence was ZERO? He was all over the news for a week or so. Quite the pitchman. Son of his father. Charleston, SC, right?

19 posted on 09/02/2002 8:39:44 AM PDT by Glenn
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To: Glenn
Yes to all. Bill Murray is one of the co-owners, too. He signs autographs in the stands for anyone who asks. I've never had the gumption to ask: it seems rude to me.
20 posted on 09/02/2002 8:45:42 AM PDT by Salo
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To: 2Trievers
Personally, I think that unless you get a very unique performer - the Phillie Phanatic and, especially, The Chicken come to mind - leave the damn mascots to the philistines at the football games already! (Guess I still remember the like of Charlie O. the Mule and the San Francisco Crab too vividly...)
21 posted on 09/02/2002 8:47:15 AM PDT by BluesDuke
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To: Flashlight
Also, I think I missed your take on the All-Star game's tie-finish. Unless you don't have any opinion on it. Yeah, right... :)

Of course I have an opinion on it...and it's this: The All-Star fiasco is one time (underline that, gang) when it wasn't Bug Selig's fault. Not his fault that for one night Joe Torre and Bob Brenly couldn't remember how to manage a baseball game reasonably. And boy, did those two end up with omelettes on their faces (which in Brenly's case almost wouldn't make a difference, since he does look as though someone put out a fire on his face with a spiked shoe, not that Torre is any raving beauty if you're going to go there!) when, it turned out, both Vicente Padilla of the Phillies and Freddy Garcia of the Mariners could have pitched at least five more innings if they'd been asked to do so...the All-Star Game fell on a day when Garcia, schedule mandating, would have been the Mariners' starting pitcher in a regular game, while the day was Padilla's normal throwing day between starts, which I guess no one believed until Phillies manager Larry Bowa went on national Fox Sports Radio the next day to confirm it.
22 posted on 09/02/2002 8:50:43 AM PDT by BluesDuke
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To: 2Trievers
They are also fed up with exhausting schedules, menacing fans, the heat and general lack of respect.

Okay, here's the deal: You have a job. You decide your job sucks. You get a new job.

Any questions?

23 posted on 09/02/2002 9:00:48 AM PDT by Semper911
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To: BluesDuke
Of course, I always thought the antics of the olde managers were better than any mascot! &;-)
24 posted on 09/02/2002 9:48:08 AM PDT by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers
Of course, I always thought the antics of the olde managers were better than any mascot! &;-)

Some classics:

Casey Stengel, New York Yankees, 1960: In a mocking of Comiskey Park's famous exploding scoreboard (a Bill Veeck creation), when a Yankee blasted one into the seats in Comiskey he was greeted back near the dugout by Stengel and his Yankees prancing around in front of the dugout holding those Fourth of July sparklers.

Casey Stengel, New York Mets, 1962: After Marvelous Marv Throneberry had a two-run triple negated when he was called out for not touching first (first base coach Cookie Lavagetto, stopping a bellowing Stengel from trying to manhandle the umpire: Forget it, Case. He didn't touch second, either; Stengel, in retort: Well, I know he touched third because he's damn well standing on it!), the next Met hitter, Charley Neal, belted one off the Polo Grounds' upper deck facade for a three-run homer. Stengel popped out of the dugout immediately and stood athwart insanity, yelling "Stop!" Neal froze a few steps up the line. Then Stengel pointed to first base and stamped his foot, and only then did Neal dare to begin his run around the bases. As he turned around each base, he glanced back - and saw Stengel pointing to the next base and stamping his foot, repeating the routine until Neal crossed the plate safely. The Polo Grounds crowd went nuclear with that one.

Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles, 1970s: Going out to the mound to talk to relief pitcher/flake Ross (Scuzz) Grimsley, amidst an opposition threat, Weaver gestured and jawed and then said to his stunned pitcher (who was often enough accused of throwing the spitter), If you know how to cheat, now's the time.

Whitey Herzog, Kansas City Royals, 1978: Urging leadfoot first baseman John Mayberry to try for home and remember to slide, the White Rat tried to make an upper body gesture to indicate an instruction to slide...and ended up doing a belly flop in front of the Royals' dugout.

Gil Hodges, New York Mets, 1969 World Series: Hodges upended managerial custom, real and alleged, by calmly walking to home plate umpire Lou DiMuro with a baseball in his hand, and without saying a word showing DiMuro the smudge of shoe polish on the ball, which had ricocheted off the foot of Met hitter Cleon Jones. DiMuro turned the ball over once and then jerked his thumb toward first base, indicating Jones had indeed been hit by the pitch.

Bobby Valentine, New York Mets, 2000: The famous incident in which Valentine, tossed out of the game after an argument with an umpire, reappeared in the runway between the Mets' clubhouse and the dugout with a Groucho Marx-like mask over his face and a different uniform shirt on. The umpires caught on soon enough and were distinctly not amused.

Bill Robinson, first base coach, New York Mets, 1986: Robinson walked out to the coaching line during a nationally-televised game...completely unaware that the heel of his right foot was in flames until he got to the coaching line. The culprit: infamously flaky relief pitcher Roger (The Met Most Likely To Be Committed) McDowell.

Alvin Dark, Kansas City Athletics, 1967 - Actually, Dark was the hapless victim in this one. Another flaky relief pitcher, Moe Drabowsky, was the culprit. Drabowsky, a known mimic, could do Dark so dead-on that he decided to call the Oakland bullpen and order a relief pitcher to start getting hot...while Oakland starter Jim Nash had a no-hitter going toward the seventh inning! Nash glanced back, saw a reliever up in the pen, and lost his concentration and, in short order, the ball game. Dark went out to the mound and learned the hard way his starter thought he actually did order the relief pitcher up and throwing, and Dark practically exploded on the mound. (Drabowsky, by the way, also once scared the fabled Atlanta Braves mascot, Chief Noc-A-Homa, into a near heart attack by running a string of firecrackers and M80s from the bullpen to the chief's teepee above the outfield fence and ignited them, "waiting," as Drabowsky put it inimitably, "for the Chief to surrender.")

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins, 2002: - Happened this season, folks. Gardenhire had been winged in the face with a cream pie by veteran relief pitcher Eddie Guardado after a particularl exuberant Twins win, and Gardenhire decided to follow the code of Delta House: Don't get mad...get even! He did, the following day, strolling up to Guardado's locker while the pitcher sat on a stool in front of the locker and dropping a live lobster in Guardado's lap.

Joe Schultz, Seattle Pilots, 1969: Seen hollering at reserve catcher John Gelnar during a game, Schultz actually told the catcher to come up to him and listen to an instruction. Then, according to Jim Bouton, Schultz pointed seemingly toward the field. He was actually pointing to the box seats and saying to Gelnar, "Gelnar, check out the rack on that broad!"

<
25 posted on 09/02/2002 10:10:23 AM PDT by BluesDuke
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