As you all know, this site has an unhealthy obsession with sports teams mascots. Not only do they bring joy and laughter into the lives of the young and old, but are an unassailable part of a team’s success (average mascot WAR = ∞). Come to think of it, mascots are really just a reflection of the lives of the fans and players alike, whether they bring their family to the ballpark…
…or celebrating their birthday parties with friends at the stadium…
…or just getting into the playoff beard mood…
Of course, let’s not forget that mascots have been running the halls of SportsCenter for decades
So, in honor of those teams that made the 2014 MLB playoffs, it’s time to introduce you to the lucky, oversized, overly furry fan favorites that will be stomping on a visitor’s dugout near you this October:
The Phillie Phanatic (Philadelphia Phillies)
Because hey, even though the Phillies were out of contention by Spring Training, the Phanatic is the world’s greatest mascot. Just ask his friends:
Most of all, let us remember Phillie for giving us the world’s greatest mascot gif
For some reason, two teams participating in this year’s MLB playoffs are not participants in the whole mascot thing. And yes, they both come from the Los Angeles area. And no, we are not counting the Angels’ Rally Monkey aka the dumbest baseball concoction in history. With that, may the baseball gods forever eat at their souls.
Except the Dodgers. God Loves the Los Angeles Dodgers. But not you, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County California United States Who Cares Because This Team And Its Fans Are Awful.
Mascot Power Rankings
Note: for these rankings, we utilized a recipe of Mascot’s Costume, Mascot’s Performance, Mascot’s Hilarity, Mascot’s Fame, Mascot’s Non-Field Activities, Mascot’s Toy Plush and supporting cast (aka the Entertainment Crew). And a whole lot of bias. That too.
8. Fredbird (St. Louis Cardinals)
I’m going to be honest. I hate the Cardinals. God has somehow touched this franchise and doesn’t let bad things happen to them. I blame Bronson, Missouri. I blame the 926,061 (est.) old white folks that fill their stadium every game, making Busch Stadium seem like the most boring baseball party on earth. And I blame the forever all business, all boring Tony LaRussa.
All that aside, this is still a pretty sh*&ty mascot. It looks like it was thrown together from raiding the 500 WalMarts that are probably within a 5 mile radius. Granted, he was a product of the 1979 weirdness he was born into, but still, he’s kinda creepy looking. Positives are his description includes stats like “Bats: Afraid of them” and “Heads Beaked: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 fans”, so he’s got some charm. And the members of Team Fredbird are always welcome into Dodgers Stadium.
But just when I was gonna give some bonus points for this picture, I came across the number one reason for mascot failure. If your kid Halloween costume version is this, then we have a problem.
7. Screech (Washington Nationals)
Round two of red uniformed teams I can’t stand. This time, a little bit of an improvement in the mascot department. But I emphasize, a little.
Screech was born in 2005 about the same time as the Washington Nationals murdered 4 decades of unique, all love, no attendance baseball in Montreal. And funny enough, despite the years of awful baseball that followed that move, their mascot was actually adorable.
For some reason, the geniuses behind the static, cookie cutter, non-baseball entertainment department at Nats HQ decided that either Screech needed to grow up or they hate children. Now, we’re stuck with a far too humanoid body looking costume with the head of an eagle on acid. The plush isn’t anything to write home about and NatPack somehow makes the between inning time go slower. Big plus for the Presidents Race as it is tailored to the local culture. In fact, taking those points away since even though Screech officially holds the mascot conch for the Nationals, he’s far too often overshadowed by the Presidents, especially Teddy. Hell, even the neighboring Oriole Bird gets to have his way in Nats Park
Still, Washington stays out of the basement of this list only because it’s semi-inherited lineage includes the Godfather of Modern Mascot-ing aka the Montreal Expos’s Youppi!
Live on, Youppi, live on…
5 (TIE). Sluggerrr (Kansas City Royals) and Paws (Detroit Tigers)
Only because these aren’t exactly the most original, even if the Royals added a crown-fro to their charismatic mega-fauna feline. Both teams were in the doldrums of the American League since their heydays in the 80s, with Detroit turning it around with the help of ultra-millionaire, Little Caesar’s Pizza owner, and soon to own all of downtown Detroit Mike Ilitch. I almost went with the Royals’ Sluggerrr though because:
A) The Royals last went to the playoffs when I was Minus 1 years old. Even the Buffalo Bills have had some playoff experience in that time.
B) His favorite foods are: Cardinal Wings, Filet O’ Mariner, Rays Soup, Tiger Steak, Oriole Sandwich, Blue Jay Bites. But most importantly…
C) Sluggerrr was seen last year getting his own personal, at home lap dance. Yes, you read that correctly. Photos of the Royals mascot were posted online, causing the media to pick it up for fun. I’m not kidding, it was event tweeted: (WARNING: NSFW)
Hours and hours of advanced analytical research were dedicated to finding out just how, why, when, where, how much, operating hours, discounts, and variety were associated with Sluggerrr and his friend. The best part: who the hell is that guy sitting on the couch?
Anyways, we are a family friendly organization here at The 500 and just couldn’t bear to have Sluggerrr and his Louisville Sluggerrr leapfrog his Detroit cousin. Here’s to you Paws:
4. Lou Seal (San Francisco Giants)
I can’t believe I let the Giants get this far in something as beloved as a mascot ranking, but hey, credit where credit is due. First off, big big points for the clever name, although he is definitively not female. Fits right in with the very ocean oriented city of San Francisco, even “graduating from Pier 39 Flipper Academy, majoring in Beach Ball Balancing and Shark Avoidance”. And it’s short for “Luigi Francisco Seal”. No idea. But, the glasses are kinda goofy and the Orange and Black Attack crew is ho hum, much like the rest of the Bay Area.
But Lou once went up against the one and only Manny. Pacquiao not Ramirez.
And his plush is pretty adorable. But the best part is that despite Lou Seal becoming a member of the Giants family in 1996, he somehow emulated by another unnecessarily larger than life Giant teammate…
3. Stomper (Oakland A’s)
Hands down, the cutest mascot in the playoffs this year, if not all of baseball save for the Colorado Rockies mascot Dinger. I mean, come awwwwwn. What a shame too, because Elephants really are super cute, yet somehow the most non-cute thing in America, the Republican Party, gets to run around with this adorable beast. If they switch to a penguin, wrath hath no fury as I. And let’s be honest, throwing up an elephant as your team’s animal when you’re nicknamed the “Athletics”, well then I don’t know any other reason than that to give the A’s 9 DH spots.
But the cuteness just doesn’t stop there. Check out his Kids Club baseball card
And these adorable plushes!
Did we mention his listed weight is “A ton of fun!”?
As of this writing, the Oakland A’s lost in grand fashion in one of the most memorable playoff games of recent history in Kansas City the other night. Once the MLB’s best record in August, the As went home yet again without a WS title in the Moneyball era. Jon Lester is probably gone and the future of their stadium eternally up in the air. But they have Stomper and that would give me and any As fan a reason to show up to the ballpark.
2. The Pirate Parrot (Pittsburgh Pirates)
This was a close one, but as we’ll see with the next mascot, sometimes out of this park goofiness just doesn’t cut it next to 5-tool mascots. Hatched at the venerable Three Rivers Stadium in 1979 during the “We Are Family” era, the parrot is the epitome of mascot in many ways. A goofball, perfect fit with the team’s nickname, doesn’t take on some weird humanoid look, has the dance moves to keep up with MVP Andrew McCutchen, and has his own ride to the stadium.
Oh, and he’s a father!
And, as always, big bonus points to the city of Pittsburgh for color coordinating their teams. Keep up Panthers.
But the best part of the Pirate Parrot experience might be the ongoing rivalry with local fan pleaser Iceburgh of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Did it get so bad that they even ran political style attack ads against each other? Yes, yes it did…
But all is well now that both teams seem to be playing past their regular season schedules.
1. The Oriole Bird (Baltimore Orioles)
The cream of the crop when it comes to professionalism in mascoting. Oriole Bird finds a way to live in that area between goofy and cute, funny and crazy, and tormenting and lovable. This side of the Oregon Duck, he might be the best avian mascot we have. Just like Albert Belle was hired to do way back when, let’s touch all the bases on the excellence that this Bird exhumes, semi-Buzzfeed style…
His beak is his favorite weapon…
The kids love him…
He’s a fantastic fiddler for those 7th Inning stretches…
And an amazing plush…
Is BFFs with all the local celebs…
He’s happily married…
Has taken the local rivalry to a whole different level…
Even got arrested once!
JK, he’s in with the cops like Bunk and Jimmy…
And most importantly, he’s their perennial Cy Young candidate
Still, the best of the Oriole Bird, and O’s fans in general, is that even through thick and the very very thin Post-Ripken years, Baltimore is a city of grit and fandom. A tip of the baseball cap to the Queen of the Mid-Atlantic. We’ll let Oriole Bird tell you what he thinks of your team’s World Series chances against the O’s…