Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Friday, June 8, 2012

On Mascots

Yesterday after the Phillies-Dodgers game, Dodger Executive Stan Kasten fielded questions on twitter.  There were way too many questions for him to address and really there weren’t any breaking stories from of his answers.  However; I noticed a continuos question that some fans kept asking him that made me cringe.  One that he thankfully never got around to.  It was:
“Hey Stan, Can we get a mascot?”
“Mr. Kasten, what will it take to get the Dodgers a mascot?”
Let me just say this.  If the Dodgers ever do get a mascot, they’ll be kowtowing to the lame traditions of many second division franchises.  Teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Or the Expos:

the Mets:

the Diamondbacks:

the Rockies:

the Marlins:

or the hated Giants:
This organization needs a mascot about as much as they need a replacement for Clayton Kershaw.  As much as fans from other teams bash Dodger fans for what they perceive as a lack of passion, at least we can say that we don’t need a gigantic puppet to run around the park doing pelvic thrusts in order to entertain the fan base and keep us entertained.  Mascots are an annoyance and simply get in the way of the action on the field.  They do lame promotions like shoot t-shirts in the stands with air blasters or they find a fan of the opposing team that they can harass for all to see on the jumbo-tron screen.
Think of the classic baseball franchises in existence.  The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals.  None of them have needed mascots for amusement.  Well, I thought so anyway, until I actually checked it out.

It looks like the Cards and Sox actually have mascots too.

And the Yankees had one at one time too (79-81), though it was a colossal failure.  This was a bad mascot, probably as ugly as the Giants old Crazy Crab from the mid 80s.  He was a furry pear shaped dude in pinstripes that went by the name of "Dandy."  He didn't last three years in the organization and George Steinbrenner had him removed, saying there is no place for mascots in baseball after Lou Piniella brawled with the San Diego Chicken one night at a 1979 game in the Seattle Kingdome.  By then the Chicken was a free agent and he appeared at a number of Stadiums around the country (including Dodger Stadium).  Dandy was banished by Steinbrenner to the upper deck of Yankee Stadium during his tenure with the team from the Bronx.

A friend of mine that I work with claims that during his college years at the University of Maryland, he worked as the Baltimore Orioles Mascot in a Bird Suit.  He said it was a blast and that he struck up a friendship with a number of Orioles bullpen pitchers, since that was his home "nest" at old Memorial Stadium.  He stated that the suit was "as hot as hell" and that surprisingly, the whole get up made it easy for him to "pick up chicks."  (No pun intended).

The Brooklyn Dodgers lone mascot over the years was Emmett Kelly, the famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus clown during the 1950s.  He wasn't a permanent figure at games but reports are that he was fully contracted during the 1956 season and much of the teams promotions that year were centered around Kelly.    

Carl Erskine films Emmett Kelly in front of the Dodger Dugout at Ebbets Field.
Dodger Manager Walt Alston and Pirates Bobby Bragan talk ground rules before 1957 game at Ebbets Field.  Kelly mocks listening in..

No puffy costume.  No fur, no gigantic head, no pear shaped body.  It was an actual person.  A real artist and comedian as an entertainer.  A true Brooklyn Bum as their mascot.  When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, his contract wasn't re-newed.  But he did make an appearance or two at Dodger Stadium, shown in this L.A. Times photo in 1962, where he is eating a meal off of home plate.

Emmett Kelly, 1962 at Dodger Stadium (photo by Art Rogers, L.A. TImes)

Emmett Kelly performing at a L.A. Angels PCL game in  1957, Los Angeles' Wrigley Field (Art Rogers, L.A. Times)
If the Dodgers ever opt to use a mascot.  I'm okay with the "bum."  The clown was a natural fit, but I'd prefer it be for only "throw back" uniform days.   Additionally the Dodgers also would need to break out a Sym-phony band too,to play during the game too, for that complete old nostalgic feel.


  1. And here I thought Melissa Milano was the Dodgers mascot. Shows you what I know.

  2. before i read this post i was thinking that the only mascot the dodgers should ever even think about having is just a real honest-to-goodness bum.

    but i don't think they should even go that route.

  3. Hmmm, Bum vs. Alyssa Milano. Yeah, I'll go with Alyssa