Sports Mascots Agonistes
March 15, 2003 7:52 AM   Subscribe

The dark side of being a sports mascot. Assault and battery by opposing coaches and fans. Having to do acrobatics in foul-smelling costumes in 80-degree heat. Lawsuits. Injuries. "I've got really good accidental death and dismemberment insurance," [NBA mascot Kirk] Johnson said with a laugh. "You never know what's going to happen." Behind that frolicsome giant stuffed animal lies a bleak world of terror and pain. [no more inside, wasn't that enough?]
posted by Slithy_Tove (10 comments total)
Somthing must be done.
posted by stbalbach at 8:15 AM on March 15, 2003

"If you put (my head) within a foot of you, you might gag. "

The jokes just write themselves ;)

That's a good read. People do seem to forget that there's a real live human being in there. The mascot I'm most familiar with is the Phillie Phanatic, and he just loves to repeatedly provoke the opposing team and get people all riled up. That's part of his act, but I've seen it backfire on him once or twice; he's been on the receiving end of punching, kicking, and general ass-kicking by people that he's worked up into a frenzy. He makes good money, though, and a ton more from endorsements, from what I understand.

I really like the idea of wearing a self-contained spa to work.
posted by iconomy at 9:11 AM on March 15, 2003

Ladies and gentlement, the President of the United States of America...

posted by xmutex at 10:25 AM on March 15, 2003

Oh great. Another thread about plushies.
posted by bradth27 at 11:12 AM on March 15, 2003

When mascots go bad. Some British football (soccer) mascots have a history of getting themselves in hot water. You can see the "fight" mentioned between Wolfie and the Little Pigs here, should you so wish. (mpeg file 1.01mb)
posted by squealy at 11:47 AM on March 15, 2003

How could they write an article about sports mascots and not mention the one who started it all? (Warning, noisy Flash intro, but, hey, mascots are noisy Flash kinda guys!)
posted by wendell at 12:02 PM on March 15, 2003

Brilliant Squealy - I'd forgotten about that: a fight between a wolf and little pigs - you couldn't make it up. Too bad the mpeg doesn't have sound, the crowd loved it.
posted by niceness at 12:23 PM on March 15, 2003

A friend of mine was Mr. Met (yeah, the big baseball head!) for several years. I learned some interesting stuff about the trade from him:

- It took him several years to get a larger fan installed in that hot, heavy costume, but the Mets' management did let him help redesign it for (relative) comfort.

- If you like the sport, it can be a pretty good job. You get to know some of the athletes, and fairly weird friendships can ensue. I once watched my friend get (playfully) kicked by Joe Girardi, only to exact his revenge later in the game (with another kick).

- All the baseball mascots HATE the San Diego Chicken. Or else they're just really, really jealous. The Chicken's the only mascot NOT employed by Major League Baseball, he earns much more money than the rest of them, and he usually refuses to associate with other mascots - he doesn't attend the occasional mascot gatherings (like at the All Star game a few years ago). I guess he's an artist...
posted by adameft at 2:22 PM on March 15, 2003

I never knew the full story behind the Chicken; adameft's comment got me wondering. (Short answer: he started as a radio promotion, pushed to go to Padres games, and when they got tired of the promotion and fired him, he went freelance.) Seems to have a big head up there, inside the big head, too.

Mascot Net, run by the NCAA's "J J Jumper" character, is a resource site for mascots and those who work with them, covering amusement park mascot characters as well as sports game jobs (they have some big differences). Then there's the world of those obsessed with mascots {no, not in a furry way}.
posted by dhartung at 5:08 PM on March 15, 2003

Sure Rocky may be highly paid but it doesn't stop him from taking his work home with him
posted by m@ at 6:54 PM on March 15, 2003

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