Regardless of your feeling about sports, everyone can share in the loveable tradition of team mascots. Costumed individuals dancing around in their bulky suits can bring a smile to nearly anyone’s face. Yet, the world of mascots does have a dark side; the uncomfortably awkward character who frightens instead of bringing joy. Melissa and myself are here to share with you the best and worst mascots in sports today.
Heather’s Best Mascot:
Anaheim Angels – Rally Monkey
I know what you’re thinking… the rally monkey isn’t a real mascot. Congratulations, you are correct. Yet, the rally monkey is so undeniably cute; thus, I find no possible reason others wouldn’t share in my sentiment that he is, by far, the best “mascot.” The loveable Angel’s rally monkey was first seen in 2000, during a game between the Anaheim Angels and San Francisco Giants. The Angels trailed 5-4 at the bottom of the ninth, and in hopes of boosting spirits the Angels showed a clip of a jumping monkey on the big screens with the words “rally monkey” displayed above him. The Angels scored two runs, winning the game. The monkey is now well known, and, whenever the team is down, the rally monkey is brought out to raise morale. Most Angels fans even have their own rally monkey; of course, not a real one, he is plush. Other teams have since robbed the Angels of their fabulous rally monkey idea, and have begun producing ones for their own teams; thus, indisputably proving that the rally monkey reigns supreme. Go Angels!
Heather’s Worst Mascot:
Stanford – Stanford Tree
If you have never seen Stanford’s unofficial mascot, the Stanford Tree, I suggest you Google it immediately. Once you do you’ll most likely agree with my statement that it is possibly one of the foulest looking mascots to date. Its oversized, bulging eyes and its frighteningly large, gaping mouth make it not only ugly, but terrifying. As Stanford is well-known for both their achievements in sports and academics I have a hard time coming to terms with such a disgusting choice of mascot. Apparently, the Stanford Tree isn’t too happy with himself (or herself) either. The tree is notorious for drinking on the job, which was made evident when police witnessed the mascot drinking from a flask during a game. No one likes drunk trees, which is one of the many reasons the Stanford Tree gets my worst mascot award.
Melissa’s Best Mascot:
Milwaukee Brewers – Racing Sausages
Stadium food is clearly the highlight of attending a professional sporting event. From curly fries to hot dogs to peanuts, the greasy treats make even the dullest game viewed from the nosebleeds exciting (not to mention completely delicious). The Milwaukee Brewers immortalized my favorite stadium item with their Racing Sausages, a 1995 mascot experiment turned phenomenon. There are five delectable sausages represented, dressed for their respective nationalities — bratwurst, Polish sausage, Italian sausage, hot dog and chorizo. The mustache on the Italian sausage is absolutely charming. They’re the most adorable savory treats that have ever raced around a baseball field on a nightly sausage run. Their website features extensive biographies of each sausage, highlighting their personal history and what brings them to Milwaukee. They may not be as snuggly as the Rally Monkey, but they look worthy of a cuddle (and definitely worthy of a snack).
Melissa’s Worst Mascot:
Southern Illinois University – Saluki
Conceptually, it sounds like a good idea to have a Saluki as a mascot. They’re one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dogs and they’ve got a reputation as solid hunting dogs. They’re tall and lean with short hair on their bodies and shaggy ears, tails and limbs. All in all, they’re kind of cute. Somehow Southern Illinois University’s costume interpretation of the Saluki lacks all the adorableness and instead looks like a terrifying werewolf in a tank top and maroon shorts. I’m all for intimidating mascots, but this crosses the line. It’s not the big mouth with enormous and sharp looking front teeth. It’s not even ears that look like pig tales. What’s truly horrifying about the Saluki is the piercing eyes sinking into the sides of the grey head with protruding brow bones. If they’re determined to keep the mascot, it’s definitely time for a new costume.