February 24, 2009

Your mascot is a nut! Your mascot is a meaningless puppet!

Andy Van Sistine wants to know what's wrong with you schools.
Does it say something about a university when they invent a mascot, give it a name and then trail off when someone asks what the hell that thing is?

Speaking of meaningless puppets, the Western Kentucky red blob thing still boggles my mind. He is like a short, red version of Grimace, the McDonalds character on Happy Meal boxes....

Big Red’s sad blue cousin from Xavier is no better. Affectionately referred to as “The Blue Blob,” I cannot figure out why the Musketeers choose to have this guy roaming around their sports arenas as opposed to a swashbuckling swordsman. He looks like an oversized Cookie Monster who got a bucket of hydrochloric acid dumped on his head. What it is and what relevance it has to Musketeers or the greater Cincinnati community, I would sure love to know....
I have no answers to these questions. I don't follow sports. But I'm going to theorize that somewhere along the line, a lot of people watched way too much Muppets and smoked too much pot. And isn't this the original culprit?

52 comments:

SGT Ted said...

This is the result of too many identity political groups sueing schools or mau-mauing them as "racists" because they had a mascot that was based on an American Indian Warrior, which is only offsensive to cranks with no sense of history. So, what choice did they have? Until some NAAMP (Nat'l Assoc for the Advancement of Muppet People) lawyer sues them, this is what schools are stuck with. After that, \schools will be stuck with naming their mascot after inert gasses, single cell organisms or minerals.

I know you were trying to be tongue in cheek, but lawyers aided and abetted this, by helping cranks file their lawsuits. Maybe lawyers need some standards to be held to.

AllenS said...

From the International Mascot News Bulletin:

The Green Bay Packers mascot has a penis that is 12" in diameter. Ironically, the New York Giants mascot has a penis that is 1" long.

Darcy said...

NAAMP! LOL.

Merry said...

The painfully stupid mascot of my alma mater, UNC Charlotte, is a 49er. As in a guy panning for gold. What, no 1849 gold rush in Charlotte, you say? Well, that's not where it got the name: the school is located on highway 49.

-Peder said...

SGT Ted, I think you only have it half right. Surely the PC thing is a biggie but maybe just as important is that modern marketing seems to think that mascots should only be enjoyable to people under the age of 8. That means that they all have to be hyper cuddly. Just look at all of the stupid modern mascots at MLB parks.
I bet the reason that the Musketeers don't have a romantic swashbuckler is because he wouldn't look enough like Barney.

Pogo said...

Children cry, ladies swoon, men tremble at the appearance of the mascot for the Blooming Prairie "Awesome Blossoms"

There is no mascot for the Mt. Clemens Battling Bathers in Michigan; more's the pity. But they gots lotsa pretty girls going there.

The Centralia Orphan Annies logo has no eyes. Freaky.

The Yuma City Criminals are mean looking. But fear the Elon Fighting Christians. They'll turn your other cheek.

Of all the garden vegetables, I fear Artie the Artichoke, mascot for the Scottsdale Community College "Fighting Artichokes" the most.

Basketball playing homeless people are particularly frightening. Check out the Laurel Hill School Hoboes.

I am uncertain exactly what the Gray's Harbor College of Washington Chokers are choking. The rope gives me a clue. Phew!

Here's a pic of University of California-Santa Cruz Sammy the Banana Slug mentioned in the article. A yellow turd with feelers.

Williams College can claim as their mascot Ephelia The Purple Cow. Yay team.

Here's an actual mascot: the Fort Wayne The Mad Ants. I for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

Rhode Island School of Design has had a hockey team called the Nads and basketball team called the Balls. Their mascot is Scrotie. Great pic. No hairs on it, though, so, too bad.

Evergreen State College has the inexplicable Geoduck. Uh, yeah.
Their fight song:
Go, Geoducks, go!
Through the mud and the sand let's go!
Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about.
Let it all hang out!

Darcy said...

Of all the garden vegetables, I fear Artie the Artichoke, mascot for the Scottsdale Community College "Fighting Artichokes" the most.

Uhh...Go 'Chokes!?? :)

AllenS said...

NYU's sports teams are called the Violets.

Coincidence? I think not.

Pogo said...

When I was in college, our intramural basketball team was named the "Visitors". They wouldn't let us call ourselves "Erectile Dysfunction" or the "Menstrual Cramps", so, you know, third choice.

TMink said...

In the Christian world view, we were made in the image of God. In this post-Christian world, we are accidents in the image of primordial goo.

The mascot is that goo. All hail the goo.

Trey

traditionalguy said...

Group identification symbols make good sense to me. Why any group sees itself as a silly thing instead of as an aggressive war-like and intelligent animal or tribe is interesting sociology. Yhe anti war movement and the Women's group thinkers agreed on just one thing: all male warrior culture must be Exterminated to make the world safe for women, children, and little boys. Now which group got left out in the new Rules for Mascot symbols???

TMink said...

Pogo, my college rec basketball was called the Dwarfs.

Trey

Meade said...

"They wouldn't let us call ourselves..."

You should have played baseball, Pogo. You could've called yourselves the "Master Batters"

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Merry -- the Highway 49 thing is lame, but there actually was a gold rush in western Carolina. Enough gold was coming out of the mountains that Congress in 1835 authorised construction of a mint in Charlotte for purposes of coining gold. Mints were also established in Dahlonega (Georgia), and New Orleans.

Southern Appalachian gold has a special greenish hue, and the 'C' mint-marked gold coins are some of America's most rare. The mint was closed at the onset of the Civil War -- hey, I'm a Yankee; that's what we call it -- but the building still stands as an art museum and displays one of the world's few complete collections of Charlotte-minted gold.

The gold deposits in the Southern Appalachians led many people in those parts to believe they'd have all the gold they needed to finance their secession and an independent nation.

In the events the deposits were played out by early 1862.

Great White Father George said...

ADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin schools may have to drop their American Indian logos or face hundreds of dollars in fines under a bill a Democratic lawmaker has proposed.

Schools have been moving away from American Indian logos and nicknames for years. More than three dozen still use them, however, according to a fiscal estimate attached to the bill.

The bill calls for the state Department of Public Instruction to investigate complaints about race-based names, nicknames, logos or mascots. School boards would have a chance to argue the logos or mascots don't discriminate or amount to harassment or stereotyping.

If the state superintendent finds the complaint has merit, he or she would order the school board to drop the offending moniker within a year or face $100 to $1,000 in fines each day it continues to use the logo.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

My favorite mascot story, however, arises from my years in Quebec. The Montreal Expos (now Washington) had a critter of some sort called 'Youpi.' He was one of these fat, furry, blobby things and preferred to dance on the dugout roofs.

On one particularly controversial call at the plate by a rather fat umpire ... inspired 'Youpi' to dance on the dugout roof and flop his big belly back and forth between his hands. Whereupon he pointed at the ump and repeated the whole thing.

The catcalls turned to uproarious laughter, at which point 'Blue' turned with a forceful sweep of his arm and ejected 'Youpi.'

I didn't know a mascot could get heaved from a game, but this one did, and as he left he mooned the ump.

Great White Father George said...

And, Bart, us Southerners are polite. All our wars are civil.

Meade said...

Great White Father George said...
"ADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin schools may have to drop their American Indian logos or face hundreds of dollars in fines under a bill a Democratic lawmaker has proposed"

Stupid tighty Democratic lawmaker whities

traditionalguy said...

The Atlanta Braves (that's a Baseball team all you Thinkers and Professors) just keep on bravely being the Braves. One wonders what protests will come out of the heroic NYU students if we ever get back to a world series in NYC again. And what is a Met anyway?

Greg Toombs said...

The San Diego Chicken.

http://www.askmen.com/top_10/fitness/28c_fitness_list.html

"In existence since 1974, the San Diego Chicken ... is the granddaddy of professional sports mascots. Enshrined in Cooperstown, the giant yellow chicken was named by the Sporting News as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful People In Sports For The 20th Century...

The San Diego Chicken is best known for being the first. A true pioneer, the chicken was ... first to be included on a baseball card."

h. said...

Go Hilltoppers!

Western students have been Hilltopppers from the beginning because the original part of the school was built at the top of the Hill in Bowling Green.

Other than a friendly, red-toned Cookie Monster I don't know how you can make a 3-d cartoon of a "hilltopper". Western students traditionally have great legs from climbing up and down the thing.

My kids love Big Red.

Tibore said...

Ha ha! IU Bloomington's teams have no mascot. So no dopey college student running around doing stupid crap during the game!

Well, what I meant by that is: No dopey college student in costume, yadda yadda...

ricpic said...

The big kahuna around here is Cornell, a bastion of Stalinist thought. Appropriately, the mascot of the Cornell "Big Red" football team is the Big Red Bear.

ironrailsironweights said...

Big Red has gotten the university mired in a copyright infringement lawsuit with an Italian TV network, which has a very similar mascot.

Peter

ironrailsironweights said...

And what is a Met anyway?

Short for "Metropolitans."

Peter

h. said...

But what else does Deborah have to do? I thought it was pretty clear-cut that our muppet came first and the Italian version appeared after Big Red hit it big on ESPN. Can't believe that is still going on.

LordSomber said...

I'm sorry but the most atrocious, meaningless mascot has to be the "Izzy" or the "Whatzit" from the '96 Atlanta Olympics.

http://www.imcmascots.com/mascot-pages/olympics-mascots-izzy.htm

Alex said...

Pogo-
In all fairness to Ephs everwhere, the Purple Cow has been the mascot of Williams College for about a century- it's not a marketing ploy. It's drunken fratboys with mountain fever.

Alex said...

The dearth of real mascots is due to the fact that they have been so relentlessly hunted, overfished, and trapped in avian snares.

Of course, housing developments have encroached on their natural habitats as well. The Purple-Furred Dragon, for example, can no longer be found outside of captivity.

Perhaps this wave of foreclosures will finally give "Man" his comeuppance and allow these beautiful creatures of whatever color a chance to repopulate our land.

Balfegor said...

My alma mater's mascot is a wart. Hah! Of course, we didn't use it for sport, because we didn't have sports teams. We're a nerd school.

Bob R said...

Phillie Phanatic -> Sports Mascots
Led Zeppelin -> Three-chord Rock Bands
Ann Althouse -> Bloggers

Doing something well that many people with no talent can easily do poorly is a terrible responsibility.

Ratherlike said...

The Hardest Working Mascot In Sports

Oklahoma would be wise to keep him, even if it makes no regional sense to do so.

Pogo said...

Alex,
I disparage none.
I actually enjoy the weird mascots and team names.

Except the 'awesome blossoms'. Stupid name for a high school boys' football team.

RebeccaH said...

Wright State University of Dayton, Ohio, once had a cartoonish Viking as a mascot (for the Rowdy Raiders). When Harold Flack (who happened to be African-American) took over as university president, all of a sudden the Viking was unacceptable, and the mascot became a wolf, which "artistic" rendering made it look like a junkyard dog, and didn't register "raiders" in anybody's mind. But, boy, they got rid of that Nordic.

comatus said...

The Toledo Mud Hens have a mascot named "Muddy the Mudhen." There is a female counterpart, "Mrs. Muddy." Folks just ignore the gender disparity, since a male mud-fowl is a Mud Cock. Welcome to Toledo.

FWIW, Toledo won the championship before baseball was segregated, and Cadillac was decent enough to name a car "mascot" after our star, Fleetwood Walker, the first black man to play major league baseball.

DirtCrashr said...

In 1975 well before the Phillies Muppet the Stanford Band - arguably a much enhanced pot-and-LSD-induced bunch of neer-do-wells - performed a series of halftime shows that, besides intentionally embarrassing prominent Alumni, suggested several new mascot candidates (since The Stanford Indian was OUT by political correctness) that *it* (The Band) considered particularly appropriate for Stanford such as: The Steaming Manhole, the French Fry, and the Tree.
The Tree won and remains the unofficial non-mascot who occasionally receives a good and well-deserved serious beating from other teams who it has offended.

Jack is Back said...

Back in the 70's (could be the early 80's) there was a professional hockey league started to compete with the NHL - The World Hockey League (I believe). Some how the city of Macon, Georgia got a franchise team. You guessed it - they named them the Macon Whoopees and had a whoopee cushion as the mascot.

Christopher Johnson said...

When Webster University, here in Webster Groves, Missouri, started an intercollegiate athletic program, they named their teams the Gorloks and made their mascot some kind of mythical creature from space or something. The name actually came from the intersection of Gore and Lockwood Avenues, considered the center of town. There's even a Gorelock Building at that intersection.

Seven Machos said...

I don't know. Western Kentucky is the Hilltoppers. What the hell is that? Xavier is the Musketeers, and it's probably a bunch of leftist Jesuits who don't want a real Musketeer because that would be all colonial and oppressive.

These blobs are terrible but they sure as hell beat this silliness.

Dave said...

I've always enjoyed high school mascots. Besides the Centralia Ophans, Illinois has the Fisher Bunnies ("Fighting Bunnies" teams and "Marching Bunnies" band), the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes, the Cobden Appleknockers, the Hoopeston Cornjerkers, the New Berlin Pretzels, The DeKalb Barbs (after barbed wire, which was invented there), and formerly the Pekin Chinks, who changed their name to the more PC Dragons.

Pogo said...

Go Nads!!!

Seriously, how could a college team name get any better?

Pogo said...

....'cause then your mascot is really a nut.

Jack is Back said...

I need to amend my earlier post. There were two different teams in Macon at different times. The one in the 90's was named the Macon Whoopee and its mascot(s) were a bird (stork) and a bee. You know "the birds and the bees" - making whoopee!

Anthony said...

There's a story than when Stanford decided to stop being the Indians, they held a campus vote, and "Stanford Robber Barons" won, handily. The administration was Not Amused, and ordered the vote re-run, without Robber Barons on the ballot. It still won, by write-in. The administration selected "Cardinals", which was the top non-write-in vote-getter.

Fast-forward a few months to the Cal-Stanford football game that year. Cal's Rally Committee had prepared a very large bear having its way with a rather enraged red bird, with the caption "Cardinal Knowledge". Stanford has since then been the "Stanford Cardinal". Singular.

(Because bears are monogamous?)

DirtCrashr said...

Yya to the Robber Barons! And the Tree is really, "El Palo Alto," or the Tall Stick noted first by the Spanish Portola expedition in 1769.
So hey, how about the U.C. Santa Cruz Banana Slugs! A sticky puppet at best - and a hermaphrodite.

Anthony said...

The original article asks how did the athletic board at UCSC come up with Banana Slugs.

They didn't. That was another whole-student-body things. It does accurately illustrate their football prowess, though.

HeatherRadish said...

Xavier had a costumed Musketeer (with a sword instead of a musket, LOL) at basketball games as late as 1997, when I saw them in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Sarah said...

We're the Buckeyes, and our mascot is a dude with a giant buckeye nut on his head.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutus_Buckeye

What kills me is that we apparently went close to 100 years without a mascot. But we still beat Michigan many times, so who cares.

(Students at Ohio State have been known as Buckeyes for a very long time, just like people from the state. WOOT for Presidential campaign silliness.)

Michael said...

Without question, the greatest mascot of all is the Wushock, the anthropomorphic angry shock of wheat from Wichita U. (now Wichita State, but the old name explains Wu-Shock):

http://www.geocities.com/hubiestutzman/family/wushock_trans.gif

That's the older, angrier one, though the present day one is still pretty cool.

Merry said...

@Bart Hall - the history of the Western Carolina gold rush - though not, as I noted, an 1849 gold rush - might be relevant if it wasn't for the fact that founder Bonnie Cone tried to claim that the mascot "49er" comes from the "spirit of the California gold rush miners."

If we had been just the Miners, I could see it, but the "49ers" is associated with a particular gold rush in a particular place that is not Charlotte. Therefore it remains a stupid mascot name.

Seven Machos said...

The best mascot is the Geoduck.

Minicapt said...

Pogo
"The chokersetters attached steel cables (or chokers) to downed logs so they could be dragged into the landing by the yarder."
- http://www.answers.com/topic/lumberjack

Cheers