Where to See the 5 Best (and Weirdest) Mascots in BaseballBy Jay Gentile
Mascots run the gamut from boring, barely there characters to literally not there at all (we’re looking at you, Yankees and Dodgers). But a good mascot brings much to the baseball experience to make an enjoyable day at the ballpark even more enjoyable. And when they’re riding around in ATVs and shooting hot hogs at people from canons, all the better.
Here’s where you can see some of the best (and weirdest) mascots in baseball this spring.
Phillie Phanatic, Philadelphia Phillies
The mascot against which all other mascots are judged, this weird, green, furry creature with an extendable tongue coming out of his cylindrical beak is known for some of the craziest mascot antics you could ask for, from riding around the stadium in an ATV to shooting hot dogs into the crowd from a cannon.
He’s named after Philly’s notoriously “fanatical” fans, and he’s not afraid to show his love of the team by mercilessly mocking the opposition and gleefully dancing atop the roof of the Phillies dugout.
The Mascot Hall of Fame founding member has also been known to prank Phillies broadcasters and polish the heads of bald fans in attendance. While a fan he accidentally hit in the eye with a flying hot dog last year chose not to press charges, the Phanatic is — perhaps unsurprisingly — reportedly the most-sued mascot in sports.
Swinging Friar, San Diego Padres
This hilarious-looking pudgy and balding friar in sandals offers a nice respite from the typical lineup of interchangeable animal-themed mascots cluttering MLB ballparks across the country. And the friar is pretty funny, too, with an agreeable demeanor and plenty of energy to keep fans entertained.
The cartoonish character is not to be confused with the Padres’ unofficial mascot, the San Diego Chicken, who got his start in the ’70s when a guy in a chicken suit just showed up to a game one day and became beloved by fans.
While the chicken is widely credited with helping to popularize baseball’s modern mascot movement, these days the Friar — who rings a mission bell after home wins and wears camouflage on Sundays to honor the troops — keeps the vibe as fun and loose as a sunny afternoon at Petco Park.
Bernie Brewer, Milwaukee Brewers
I mean, the guy slides down a massive yellow slide in the outfield whenever the Brew Crew hit a home run. What else do you need to know? If that’s somehow not enough proof of his allegiance for you, he also boasts a ridiculous giant yellow mustache and was named after a famous fan from the ’70s.
Bonus points: He used to slide into a giant mug of beer, so you know he’s up for pretty much anything.
Retired by the team in 1984 but brought back to life by fan demand in 1993, Bernie fits right in with the club’s beer- and tailgate-loving fanbase. Nowadays you can check out the original beer mug Bernie used to slide into at Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery.
Lou Seal, San Francisco Giants
No, he’s not named after the seal that bit off Buster’s hand in “Arrested Development.“ But with a backward cap, oversized sunglasses and plenty of swagger, he might be just as weird. As funny as it is just looking at a seal walking around the picturesque bayside stadium, Lou’s crazy antics and stage presence are what really make him a star.
Whether he’s stealing home plate (literally), catching foul balls in his mouth, doing headstands for the crowd, or placing banana peels in the paths of the opposing team, his deep connection with Giants fans cannot be denied.
His full name is Luigi Francisco Seal, and he was profiled in the short-lived Hulu mascot documentary series “Behind the Mask,” which, for mascot fans, is required viewing.
Mariner Moose, Seattle Mariners
While decked out in a simple moose costume, Mariner Moose has been adept at keeping fans attention over the years with offbeat tricks, including rollerblading, letting Mariners bullpen pitchers dump coolers of water on him, and smashing pies in the faces of the opposition.
He made national news when he broke his ankle crashing into the outfield wall while skating on Astroturf at the old stadium during a 1995 Mariners playoff game, but he kept the skates laced on until 1999, when the club moved to its current natural-grass stadium.
These days, you’ll find him hyping up the crowd while cruising around the warning track in his ATV (which he has been known to drive aggressively, accidentally colliding with an opposing player in 2007). But fans still love him anyway.