Mascot Hot Seat: 7 team mascots who should (maybe, possibly) be worried about their jobs
The Brooklyn Nets recently fired their mascot The Brooklyn Knight, ending a run with the team that just barely exceeded Jason Kidd in terms of length. But there are other mascots currently somersaulting around arenas who should (probably, maybe) also be concerned about their job security. With this in mind, here's Extra Mustard's Mascot Hot Seat:
Clark the Cub (Chicago Cubs)
The Cubs introduced Clark as a way of appealing to younger fans who are likely unaware of the club's historic futility. But upon introduction, there was immediate and visceral online backlash from fans (as well as a few dubious photoshops). Clark seems harmless enough, but in all likelihood he's probably one slip-up away from becoming the Pepsi Crystal of mascots.
Seat temperature: July in Chicago with no A/C
Steely McBeam (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Sounds like a name on a really bad fake ID, but it's actually the Steelers oft-forgotten and hardly beloved mascot. Yup, it's just a guy who carries around steel beam. Steelers fans love their Terrible Towels, but aren't as keen on their terrible mascot.
Seat temperature: Molten steel.
Burnie (Miami Heat)
A bizarre premise for a mascot to begin with, Burnie is still feeling the hurt from a $1 million lawsuit he was handed in 1994 for causing a fan emotional distress during an exhibition game in Puerto Rico. (It was settled out of court for $50,000). But the bigger crime is likely his low name recognition despite the fact that his team has won three championships in the past decade.
Seat temperature: Miami Heat
Phillie Phanatic (Phillies)
Perhaps the most beloved mascot in sports, the Phanatic also holds the distinction of being the most sued. The latest lawsuit came from Grace Crass, who claims that the Phanatic injured her legs while climbing through the stands during a Reading Phillies game, one of Philadelphia's minor league affiliates. Crass' lawyer, John Speicher, doesn't seem too optimistic about getting any condolences from the mascot, telling the Philadelphia Daily News, "I'm expecting him to come to a deposition, stick his stomach and tongue out at me and not say anything."
Seat temperature: East coast snowstorm. The Phanatic will outlive us all.
The Tree (Stanford University)
Stanford's bizarre (unofficial) mascot came to being after winning a student vote in the '70s that pitted it against a steaming manhole and a giant french fry. I, too, am furious that the world was denied a Stanford mascot that was just a steaming mascot, but the tree has more than sufficed. Every student who takes on mascot duties is required to create their own costume, which consistently results in a disorienting creature that terrifies adults and children alike. With Stanford's athletic program in the midst of a renaissance — the football team has competed in four straight BCS bowls and the men's basketball team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season — it's possible that the school has outgrown this whimsical (and at times intoxicated) figure.
On the other hand, opposing fans asking "What is that thing?" has become one of the most hallowed traditions in college sports.
Seat temperature: Comfortable.
King Cake Baby (New Orleans Pelicans)
Seat temperature: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
The Royals have yet to make the playoffs since Sluggerrr was introduced in 1996, and while they've gone through 8 managers since then, the jolly lion has somehow avoided the axe. On top of that, Sluggerrr is currently embroiled in a lawsuit as a result of a 2009 incident in which a fan claims a hot dog the lion threw into the stands struck him in the eye. If he was able to throw strikes with that type of consistency, Sluggerrr would probably be of more use to the Royals as a fifth starter.
Seat temperature: Sub-Saharan