By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) — Plenty of non-earth-shattering things set me off. Things that, in proper perspective, justify viewing me as a person touched in the head.
Bumper stickers make me very angry. A baby in a nice restaurant makes me want to remove custody of its parents to save it a life of more stupid. When a fast food company invents a word like “melty” or “crunchtastic,” I’ve been known to spit hot fire for the sake of all that is sacred in our lexicon. When a fast food company puts cheese on my burger after I explicitly said in the order—twice—to pretty please not put any friggin’ cheese on my burger, I’ve been known to make said burger go airborne. When a fast food company gives you a super-convenient new way to eat “on the go” without you realizing they’re catering to the part of society demanding to get fatter in their cars… Okay, I have issues with the fast food industry.
What I don’t have an issue with, though, is Clark, the new Chicago Cubs mascot. Not that I was hankering for some poor person to have to sweat themselves to death inside a costume at Wrigley Field or be an anthropomorphic mute at kids’ hospitals. Clark is… whatever. He’s new and harmless, it seems to me. He’s also not really unexpected.
But not having a heated reaction to him would seem to put me in the minority, because people are inclined to hate the new and harmless. Clark was introduced Monday to the internet with a typical spectrum of response that ranged from “This is the worst thing ever” to “Kill the creature with fire.”
“With his arrival, Wrigley will now be known to Midwesterners less as a green cathedral than as a house of nightmares through which a freakish, perverted bear will chase you, forever,” wrote Tim Marchman at Deadspin.
“Look how sad those eyes are. You can already tell he’s a huge Cubs fan. No word on his catchphrase yet, but it’s probably going to be something like: ‘Well, at least we didn’t get no-hit. [long, ragged sigh],’” wrote Bill Hanstock at SB Nation.
So it appears that everybody hates Clark. And I don’t get the severe pushback for a thing that is essentially geared toward kids. What’s so wrong with him? Okay, he has no pants, but isn’t that the dream of most people at Wrigley Field to begin with? He’s a kid bear with the backward cap look that maybe went out with Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but that’s fine. And maybe his eyes suggest he may have been snorting the baseline, but find me any mascot that isn’t creepy when you really concentrate on it. Imagine yourself alone in a room with any mascot, sitting across a table from one another in silence. How long until you rip the costume to pieces screaming “Die, die, die”?
Know what Clark is not? One of the many really awful mascots out there. How lucky is Southpaw to have been born before the era of social media. If the White Sox trotted that thing out today, the reaction would be far worse. “It’s not even an animal!” “It’s like the Phillie Phanatic mated with a lightning bug!” “How am I supposed to explain this abomination to God to my kids?” And how we forget this city lived through Ribbie and Roobarb.
Clark is better than the sad sack of crap “Billy Cub,” a tradition outside the ballpark dating all the way back to 2007, who doesn’t understand why a team would take issue with him trying to profit off its image and who told that team that rather than they buy him out in five figures they need to hire him (to which the team replied with its lawyers).
This is not any number of team mascots that will steal your soul upon the very sight of them. Have you seen the one for the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants of the NBADL? Well I have, and now I’ve lost the ability to father children.
“Hi, I’m Super Frog from TCU. May I crawl in your brain and lay some eggs, please?”
Or would you prefer the Cubs have consulted one of the demented minds of pretty much any Olympics to come up with the nightmare fuel we are subject to every two years?
And at the very least, Clark is not… my fingers are trembling… he is not… Pierre the Pelican.
What Clark is is a sort of cute, kind of creepy costumed person that will take pictures with kids and drunks, visit sick children (that bastard!), and do pretty much everything a mascot for a pro sports team does, overall bothering nobody and bringing a can’t hurt, could help presence to the organization who won’t be the kind that shoots t-shirts at you between innings and drives a cart around pregame. His cartoon image gets slapped on some merchandise that will likely sell just fine. And of course we are ignoring that kids will probably enjoy him just fine because kids enjoy mascots so long as they aren’t emitting wavelengths of Satan.
So he’s a mascot. And you’re angry for some reason.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at email@example.com. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.