Monday, June 08, 2009

MLB Mascots Need to Have TALENT!?

Many people wear uniforms to work, but as a MLB team mascot, you wear fur. I’m sure the temperatures inside your assumed personality are higher than outside where you’d actually face the world, so specific personality traits are needed to support this biosphere. Of the many, one or two: be decisive and be tolerant.

If you work and wear a uniform, it is easy to describe and you are kept apart by your distinctive dress.

The ability to make decisions without needless explaining has been the trademark of presidents and team captains the world over, and yet this fairly in-demand skill also applies to MLB team mascots. In baseball, unlike in other sports, each batter's object is to kill the mascot. [Generally speaking, this is accomplished by striking a wound yarn-like sphere with a Louisville-manufactured and lacquered piece of stretched pinewood by forcing said pinewood to ply a trajectory starting at the shoulder facing upward at a near 25-degree angle away from the face and moving through the chest, straight out from the body and pointing the thickest section away from the body by fully extending the arms and breaking the wrists to allow the pinewood to end up near the other shoulder or on the ground, this latter position again forming an angle of 35 degrees from the waistline. The entire movement describes a large lemon-sliced semi-circle.] In order to avoid death by a bean, a mascot must be possessed with decisiveness to avoid the ball, distances him or her with speed. Stepping to the right or left, forward or backward; to end up where the ball isn’t. And while this might seem easy, the actual task of avoiding a projectile moving at 100+ MPH is rather difficult and requires not the least bit of dexterity and decision-making. This steadfastness of spirit also comes into play with mascot behavioral limbs: a good mascot will incite and induce the crowd, actually anticipating actions and predicting what the crowd needs, not what it wants with a dancing pirate or bear wearing a jersey or swinging a tomohawk. A good mascot’s split second decision brings a crowd to ovation-like reverence for nothing more than a typical base hit. But it’s the essence of the mascot that occupies the field and that gets the crowd cheerful and carefree in an otherwise hostile atmosphere of play.

Tolerance is the social grace of cockroaches, they say. But the ideal mascot must perform like cockroach during a grace period. There will be many instances of fanatics shouting lewd and unsportsmanlike commentary for which they’ve paid fair market ticket prices about your family, hoping to get under your furry little rung, but ideally, mascot tolerance should hold. The fledgling exuberance of small fans could have carried you through an entire doubleheader, but it’s the stainless demeanor of a weathered caddy that works a miracle with angry facial demonstrations and converts them to overt resignations in a pall of your team’s vast superiority. Able mascots deflect personal assault with ease and are highly-prized assets in a world of both virtual, masked and aerial attacks – comprised of elements taken from both physical and psy-ops camps — levied against the several personalities behind our petty symbologies, and thus demand is reflected in salary negotiations, recent advances in our friends' free agency, and research forays into mascot PTSD vis-à-vis recent Gulf War subway series.

Therefore, the ideal mascot is far from milquetoast or accommodating without cause: The ideal mascot allows enough fan freedom to convince teams’ constituencies of sovereignty granted by a sincere and impartial governing body whose true identity remains only speculated.

No comments: