Evil Milan

This week, we’ve found that soccer, like all other sports, contains lies, deception, and bribery, once again proving the statement that ‘money talks.’  As capitalists here in the United States, we kind of live and die by this mindset- except for one key thing- the slight bit of compassion engrained in all of us.  Maybe it’s a societal outlook and not a given concept of humanity, but honestly, the slave-like caste of Qatar for stadium building?! Completely awful.

Since today’s mascot is obviously based on soccer, I could try to spin the current connotation of the sport to something happy.  But, I choose not to, and instead pick the one team that shows how I truly feel about soccer.
In 2006, with Warner Brothers, Italy’s AC Milan adopted the devil as their mascot.  This team has been around since 1899, so the fact that it took them a $20+ billion empire and 107 years to come up with a typical devil is kind of weak.
And he’s not even that cute, or scary!
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But the icon is decent-
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Yes, they named him Milanello, which completely makes sense logically, but makes me think of this:
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King Lebron

Lebron James- love him or hate him, he’s pretty good at what he does.  By ‘what he does’ I mean having a big ego.  It’s not that I don’t think he’s a good player, but he just comes with a Cavaliers-can’t-be-the-champions curse.  Last night he lead the Cavs to a non-entertaining romp over the Hawks, easily finishing their 4-0 conference title series.  But will the domination continue, or will the curse endure?  We’ll just have to wait and see.  But for now, we’ll take a look back at the team who jerseyed-up, showed-up, and played, only to lose each time.

The Atlanta Hawks were only only underdogs by 7.5 last night, and yet lost by 30.  Ouch.  But Harry the Hawk still loves you.
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Harry is a great sport, and remembers the big picture- they did end as up the #4 team in the league.  And to keep the frustrated crowd smiley, he makes funny faces…
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…And rides tricycles…
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…And takes a sweet dunk while growing out his mohawk.  Kickass.
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Prince Not-So-Charming

Mascot loving ladies, today you must reminisce into your distant, or not so distant past, to remember what your dreamed of being when you grew up.  Did you want to be a superstar professional athlete?  A life-saving doctor?  The most popular, yet most down to earth pop singer ever?

How about a princess?  With people loving you, and getting to wear a crown while doing that fancy wave all the time- you know it crossed your mind.  But did you know it is possible to become a princess?  All you have to do is marry a prince.  Oh, but where do you find a prince?
At Heidelberg University in Ohio, where the Student Prince lives.  Sure, he’s not good looking, but neither is Prince William, and he got Kate.
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Plus, known for his jousting expertise, he is typically wearing something over his face.  Not so bad.
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Men, this is your chance to become a prince and get any lady you desire (I think.)  Consider enrolling at Heidelberg and trying out for themascot role.  But know that you may get knocked off of a horse by a stabby weapon.
At least your royalty kids will have something adorable to look at.  This should really be the official mascot.
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Texas Tough?

“Everything’s bigger in Texas.” continues to be a popular phrase about the state, and is still used for tourism ad campaigns.  Makes the republic sound pretty tough.  But the story of them joining the United States- surprisingly not so tough.  Texas was tired of being a part of Mexico, and wanted to be their own nation.  So they went to war, and defeated enough troops to take over the land temporarily.  But Mexico kept fighting and fighting, and Texas was running out of power.  So Texas, manly as they are, went to the United States, and said that if the U.S. could provide the manpower and supplies to get rid of Mexico, they would join the Union.  A lot of killing later, and an official treaty of $18.5 million, the U.S. had saved Texas from evil Mexico, and all was happy.  How tough of you, Texas.

But toughness is not everything- especially here at Mascot of the Day.  And so I present to you Tex Hooper, the very sweet, not at all tough bull.

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Of the MLS FC Texas team in Dallas, he is one of the star players, measuring in at 6 ft tall (plus horns) and around 2,000 pounds, as a bull typically does.  Born in 1996, he is one of the youngest players, but also one of the best.  The head coach made a statement about him when he was first signed with the team:

“It’s a big deal considering the difficulties we went through with injuries last season.  If anything happens to him we have a giant stack of costumes ready to go at a moment’s notice.[…] Really, what Tex brings to us is size and hard work. Horns too, those are important[…] He’s too large to be nimble and precise, but I’ve seen grown men drop the ball and run away at the sight of him charging, so he certainly has his strengths.”
Sounds like a good recruit.  And that team president, AMAZING for actually making this speech.  Seems like a pretty successful part of the team- he’s been a part of the team for two decades, and the fans love him.
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Plastic Fish

As the mascot queen, I’ve been writing a lot lately about the wonders of the characters, the logos, and their actions.  But I’ve never really acknowledged that there are people in those costumes.  Real, normal, lame people, just like the rest of us, are behind those awesome façades.  Those people are walking around in a scary darkness- with just two meshed eye holes to see the world.  There are people running up to you and hugging you or hassling you- people you’ve never seen before, and you’ll never see again.  And it gets really hot in those things, like 100+ degrees.  The NBA states thatmascots are to take off the head portion of their costume every 15 minutes as to not overheat.

Worse for heat than the NBA’s costumes that have a thick-cloth-like head is the head of the Miami Marlin.  Named Billy, this guy has a fully plastic head- completely unbreathable and non-absorbent.

But before we go any further with this mascot, I just want to address my issue with this MLB team.  From your opening season in 1993 to 2012, you were the Florida Marlins, and then you decided to become the Miami Marlins.  Why would you do that?  Why would you want to decrease your area of fans?

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Now, back to the mascot.  Billy is an 8 foot tall, 250 pound marlin who loves eating tuna and sardine sandwiches whenever possible.  His favourite movies are Flipper (cool), and A Fish Called Wanda (does he know how politically loaded that movie is? Wow).  Also on their bio site, “this fish could very easily be the leader of the “untouchables.”  Does this have another meaning, or are they alluding to the lowest caste of some cultures?

Maybe Miami has more of a dark side than I thought.  But, they typically make him happy, colourful, and fun loving, like any other mascot.  He’s pretty athletic, too.

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And omg the baby version.

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Orbit Forever

Today we’re just going to jump right into the awesomeness of this team’s mascots, because there are three of them.  And that’s just fun.

The MLB’s Houston Astros have their main mascot of Orbit, which is a huge improvement from when they were the Houston Colt .45s.  Orbit claims he’s been to the moon, and now has a love for everything dealing with space- tube food, E.T., Star Trek,  Orbit’s favourite musical artist is Michael Jackson- he likes to dance along with the videos and do the infamous moonwalk.  He often challenges the security guards to dance offs, probably just as an excuse to show off his moves.
Also, he’s pretty dang cute.
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But there was a dark time in Orbit’s life.  In 2000, when Orbit was just 10 years old, the team decided that with the move from the AstroDome to Enron Field, they would get a new mascot.  Orbit was retired, and replaced by Junction Jack.
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No story, no introduction; he just appeared one day.  But if you remember anything about Enron, you’d understand that Houston wanted to wipe their hands clean of ever interacting with that company.  So, in 2012, when the park was finally sold to Minute Maid, they got rid of Junction Jack, and brought back Orbit.  Hopefully Orbit gets to stick around for a long time.
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Also unofficial mascots, the racing hot sauce packets.  Who hasn’t eaten Taco Bell and enjoyed the hilarious hot sauces with the funny phrases on them?
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These guys race at every home game, and really make you want to eat Taco Bell, despite your knowledge that your entire digestive system will be mad at you.  I hope Mild wins- simple, predictable, but still has some flavour- that’s my kind of man, I mean sauce.

Criminals and Dragons

Kidnapping is a serious violent crime that has almost 1 million victims in the United States each year.  As of 2009, Phoenix had the second highest kidnapping rate in the world, beat by only Mexico City.  It’s scary to think that anywhere in the seemingly safe, civilized, and hospitable U.S. would have such a horrid record.  So why such a serious topic when this is typically about happy, funny, weird mascots? Up until 1998, the New York Islanders had this mascot, named Nyiles- a tough, hockey-playing, bearded fellow.

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He was not very popular in the 90’s, because he was not fun and family-friendly enough.  So the owner decided it was time to get a new mascot, but did not know how to phase out Nyiles.  He decided on a kidnapping.  Announcements were made, flyers were put up around the area, all saying “Who kidnapped Nyiles?”  That’s the best they could think of?!  Faking a severe crime?  Ultimately, the story goes, the suspect is Carleton the Bear, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, though there has been no proof of the matter, and nobody has been formally charged.
Not only is that team owner fond of terrible, crime-based pranks; he is also a cheapskate.  Charles Wang, owner of the Islanders and former owner of the now-defunct AFL New York Dragons, decided it would be a smart business decision to have just one mascot for two teams, because that means only paying one person, buying half as many costumes, and half as much charitable work needed for positive publicity.  So after the kidnapping of Nyiles, Sparky the Dragon just stepped in to fill those shoes.
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I do have to say, he is much cuter, and so happy!
How does one get on top of the glass wall?  Looks like he’s deep in thought- maybe that should be my new thinking spot.
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The Islanders also came out with a kid-version logo for the team.
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Is that a styrofoam cup?  Where’s the string that connects it to another cup for the classic ghetto phone?  Who is on the other side?

If You Had Fun, You Won

The “Greatest Generation”, as described by Tom Brokaw, went through a few wars, the Great Depression, and really just lived through a lot of tough years without much reward.  Therefore, they are often coined as hating the later generations’ celebration of mediocrity.  You got a ribbon for participation?  In the real world, just showing up is not good enough.  You have to win.

And yes, we celebrate winners, and to an extent mediocrity, but what about complete failures?  They seem left out.  Sure, they’re participants, too, and all participants are equal, but some are just more equal than others.
So today we will make sure to pay attention to the failures, and congratulate the worst team in the 2015 NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves.  When the season contains 82 games, how do you only win 16?  How can you possibly lose 15 games in a row?!
You’ve made Crunch the wolf very sad.
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Sure, he’s still smiling, but that’s because unlike the team, he has had great success this year with his flying slam dunks.
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Since this is a not-uncute, not-cute mascot, we move on to the backup version, the inflata-mascot.  And look, he’s racing Hugo!
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On Fire

Generally, as humans, we want the best for the people around us.  Sure, there’s the murderers and the kidnappers, but most of the time, people don’t wish ill upon others.  So that feeling of joy you get- when you’re happy to see the failure of another- is uncomfortable.  You know it’s wrong, but it feels so right.

That’s the general consensus for the NBA’s Miami Heat, so watching the team finish under .500 and not make the playoffs was quite satisfying.  They’ve been too good for too long, with high profile picks that just aren’t worth the money.  They had to crack eventually, and ‘eventually’ turned out to be 2015.  Unlike what your logo shows, Heat, this year you were not on fire.
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This logo is fine, generic, alright.  But then they tried to make it into a mascot.  Judge for yourself:
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This is Burnie, and he is supposed to be a representation of the logo.  The nose is the basketball, and the rest of his body is just pure fire?  Isn’t clothing decently flammable? (“Don’t worry, it’s INflammable” -Dr. Nick, The Simpsons)
But he’s not afraid of fire.  Nor anything else, really, even skydiving solo in full attire.

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Enjoy your extended offseason, Burnie, doing whatever wild thing it is that you choose next.