Growing up with the Phanatic, it never really occurred to me just how low effort the average mascot is. The Phanatic is original and is a legend, that is without question. There’s other good ones too and I’m willing to keep it real when it comes to teams I don’t like. For example, I’m willing to admit that Mr. Met is a good mascot even though I hate the Mets.
What makes a “good” mascot you might ask? It’s subjective of course, but there’s a criteria you can follow. If it gets laughs, in a good way and taunts players, that’s a plus. If it has some cool gimmick that it does – like the Brewers mascot going down the slide after a home run – that’s another good mascot quality to have.
Overall though, the most important factor in a mascot is does it freak you the fuck out or not; because I’ll be honest man, the majority of these things are pretty scary. I’m not talking about in an intentionally creepy way either. When I say scary, I mean you look at it and say “who the fuck green lit this thing” scary.
Just take a peak at the Kings’ mascot and ask yourself if this is really something we need.
Doesn’t that cowardly lion knock-off just freak you out? It gives me bad acid trip vibes and looks legitimately threatening. This creature is absolutely nothing like the Phanatic or Mr. Met. It’s just this unnecessary, demonic beast that looks like it means harm. Sadly, there are more like the Kings’ mascot than original, well received ones.
Also don’t get the idea that college mascots are in any way better. Some college mascots are excellent and have a great history, but the majority are just lower effort versions of the monstrosity above. I mean honestly, do we really need the Notre Dame leprechaun? It just looks like some coked up white dude on St. Patty’s day who swears he’s Irish but doesn’t even know what Dublin is. We can do without him as well.
For some reason, teams seem to have this idea that a mascot is an absolute necessity. Even minor league teams have mascots and most of them are just straight nightmare fuel. So widespread is this belief in a mascot that Division III colleges – where nobody even watches the sports teams – feel the need to be in on the action. When I was at Bloomsburg, they had this mascot where a guy who looks like he absolutely hates his life uncomfortably dances for the crowd; a crowd that was honestly smaller than my high school games. We don’t need it folks, we really don’t.
With all the technology that is readily available today, high school students could come up with an in-game gimmick more creative than the majority of mascots. It’s long overdue to re-evaluate mascots and find a new slant. What say you?