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Some Thoughts About Infield Design

Got a note a while back from reader Robert Brashear, who pointed out something interesting about Yankee Stadium. The infield dirt used to have a pair of triangular cutouts near the first and third base coaching boxes (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

This year, however, the cutouts haven’t been there:

Bob’s observation reminded me of something regarding New York’s other MLB team. During Shea Stadium’s last several years, the infield had cutouts in the “upper-left” and “upper-right” corners, so to speak, for the first and third base umpires to stand in:

But those cutouts have never been included at the Mets’ new stadium:

Of course, there are lots of other infield anomalies lurking out there: Chase field in Arizona has the dirt path from the mound to the plate; Comerica Park in Detroit has that same path plus a plate-shaped cutout around the plate area; and so on. Also, some fields have curved cutouts around the bases and others have square, and there are other small distinguishing details.

What other infield anomalies are lurking out there? Is there a visual compendium or database of MLB infield designs? If so, I’m not aware of it. That would be a good project for someone who’s so inclined, hint-hint.

•  •  •  •  •

Mike’s Question of the Week
By Mike Chamernik

Between Bernie Brewer, Barrelman, the real and fake Hank the Dog, and the five racing sausages (and mini-sausages!), the Brewers have like 14 mascots. As a Brewers fan, I love them all.

Mascots are a mixed bag, for sure. They’re dopey, they distract from the game, they can, uh, hurt people. They embody a gimmick. But, they still have a certain charm. They’re meant to make an already enjoyable sporting event even more fun, and they often succeed, either by performing impressive athletic feats or making people laugh.

The Cavs’ mascot, Moondog, made an appearance at a wedding a few years back and it really looked like the most enjoyable time ever. The most bizarre mascot moment of my lifetime was in 2002, when Randall Simon hit an aforementioned racing sausage with a bat. Simon was even arrested for doing that. Robin Lopez has been terrorizing mascots around the NBA for the last few years, but he’s hardly the first player to interact with them. Charles Barkley feuded with mascots, too.

What do you say ”” yea or nay to mascots? If you like them, what are your favorite mascots, and why? What are some of your favorite mascot moments?

• • • • •

The Ticker
Compiled by Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Basketball Hall of Famer and Brooklynite Chris Mullin threw out the first pitch at last night’s Mets game. He wore St. John’s cap and a No. 20 Mets jersey. Mullin is the head coach of the Johnnies and wore No. 20 when he played at the school (from Alan Kreit). … Gregory Koch asks a good question: “Before Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud paired up, has there ever been a battery where both pitcher and catcher had a last name beginning with a lowercase d?” I’m going to make a conservative guess and say no. … New logos coming for the Charleston RiverDogs. Here’s the team’s alternate hat — the “HC” stands for “Holy City” (from @willchitty4). … Here’s a look at how minor league baseball’s wackiest team nicknames and logos came to be (from Kevin Mueller). … Astros OF Carlos Gomez received some hot new spikes (from Chris Overholt). ”¦ Orioles 1B Chris Davis had a tear in his pants last night (from Andrew Cosentino).

NFL News: With Robert Griffin III’s status with the Redskins uncertain, his jerseys are on clearance throughout the DC area (from Phil). … Not uniform-related, but Deadspin dug up the very interesting backstory behind a surprise military reunion at a Rams game last weekend. “Shocking? Not in the slightest I’m sure,” says Drew.

College & High School Football News: Lots of people sent this in: James Madison will wear a helmet memorial decal for the Virginia TV news team that was murdered. … Virginia Tech is going all maroon with orange helmets against Ohio State on Monday. Also, VT will wear white-topped helmets next Saturday (from Andrew Cosentino). … Kansas will wear all-blue on Saturday (from Phil). … Syracuse will wear blue-over-orange this weekend against Rhode Island and all-orange in Week 2 against Wake Forest (from Phil). … New uniforms for Elon (from Dan Wyar). … New uniforms for sports teams at Canada’s Concordia University, including the football team. The school has a new logo too, and it’s pretty good. More info here. … A Florida State fan created a Google Chrome extension that changes the current Seminoles logo back to the old one in his web browser (from Brinke). … We’ve seen lots of high school players wearing those padded anti-concussion guardian caps in practices, but an Ohio high school player recently wore one during a game. … Elena Elms sends in a collection of North Carolina game program covers. … Scott Kneeskern attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. The last time he was there he snapped a few photos of what is in the school’s trophy case. ”¦ Colorado will reportedly be wearing this uniform combo for today’s season opener (from Matthew Robins).

Hockey News: The Islanders will unveil a black-and-white third jersey later this month. The look will have the same color scheme as the Brooklyn Nets, the Isles’ new co-tenants (from Phil). … Blue Jackets C Brandon Dubinsky is looking for a game-worn jersey of his that might have been purchased by or given to a fan at some point (from Alan Kreit). … The Sharks announced their promotional and 25th anniversary events schedule, including the dates when they’ll wear their yet-to-be-unveiled heritage jerseys (from Phil).

Basketball News: The Clippers are considering adding a team mascot. … Looks like Gonzaga has new home uniforms (from John Richey). … Dakota Wesleyan will wear late-1970s throwbacks this season (from Beau Eriksson). ”¦ Here’s a new one: St. John Vianney High School in Missouri unveiled its new basketball uniforms by having the principal model them (from Patrick, who preferred that his last name not be used). ”¦ New court design apparently in store for the Bulls.

Soccer News: Toronto Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista saw a fan wearing a Messi jersey and offered to swap jerseys with him. The fan agreed (from @Stumpy7780). ”¦ New third kit for Italy. ”¦ FC Barcelona will wear insignias on their shirt as five-time winners of the Champions League (from Griffin Smith).

Grab Bag: New logo for Verizon (from Tim Dunn). … As synonymous as rugby’s All Blacks are with New Zealand’s culture, the national team’s silver fern will not be on the nation’s new flag (from Phil). … New cross country uniforms for Westview Hills Middle School in Willowbrook, Ill. “I’m sure one look at the stripes and you’ll guess who makes them,” says Steve Johnston. … Students want the University of North Dakota, which recently dropped the Fighting Sioux nickname, to reconsider an idea that they the school would go nicknameless. Teams would be known only as “North Dakota” (from Matt Larsen). … “I’ve been doing some VHS to DVD transfers of old golf tapes and was watching the ’86 Masters highlights,” says Scott Throndson. “On Saturday/Sunday Seve Ballesteros wore a visor with two Nike patches on it. It struck me as odd, and I realized what must have happened was that he wore a Masters logo visor the first two days, and then Nike covered it up with 2 small patches.” … Speaking of golfers’ visors, John Senden lost the “m” on his the other day. ”¦ There’s a change.org petition to change the handicapped parking sign logo (from Jeffrey Sak).

123 comments to Some Thoughts About Infield Design

  • jwl3 | September 3, 2015 at 8:10 am |

    I love mascots. They give the kids something to get into.

  • Chris | September 3, 2015 at 8:14 am |

    YS has not had those cutouts at first & third all year so far.

    • DJ | September 3, 2015 at 9:21 am |

      Perhaps because of the regular re-sodding due to New York City FC playing their home games there? Why it would necessitate the change escapes me.

  • Marc-Louis Paprzyca | September 3, 2015 at 8:20 am |

    I love Mascots especially being in Chicago with the greatest mascot of all time, Benny the Bull.

    Though, my favorite mascot moment was when I got the Brewers Hot Dog and Polish to come to our wedding. My wife is from Wisconsin and worked for the Brewers in college and even got to run the Sausage Race a few times. I thought it would be fun to have a silly surprise for everyone at our wedding. It was a hit.

  • Dumb Guy | September 3, 2015 at 8:28 am |

    Mascots are fine, generally speaking, as long as they add to the game experience and don’t try to BE the experience.

    • mike 2 | September 3, 2015 at 11:08 am |

      Liven up the dull moments of the game, pitching changes, delays, go hang out in the concourse and entertain kids.

      Tie game or late innings: sit the fuck down.

  • Dumb Guy | September 3, 2015 at 8:29 am |

    btw, I’m still calling it Mt. McKinley.

    • Tom | September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am |

      “I’m still calling it Denali.” – local Athabaskans in 1917.

    • Phil Hecken | September 3, 2015 at 9:22 am |

      Posted this late Monday, so it’s likely no one saw…

      Denali

    • DJ | September 3, 2015 at 9:26 am |

      Does this mean Alaskans can rename places and things in Ohio to their personal satisfaction?

      I didn’t always call it Denali, but I probably should have done so.

    • arrScott | September 3, 2015 at 9:32 am |

      The geological equivalent of “I’m still calling it Enron Field.”

      More importantly, where do we stand on the whole Kennedy/Canaveral kerfuffle?

      • Phil Hecken | September 3, 2015 at 9:44 am |

        I’m still calling it Idlewild

    • Ray Barrington | September 3, 2015 at 9:41 am |

      I’m still calling it the Sears Tower.

      • Rob S | September 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm |

        Most of Chicago still does. In fact, does anybody even know, off the top of their head, what the Willis Group is? (I know I had to look them up.) If anything, the naming rights ought to go to United, who moved their headquarters into the tower a few years ago. “United Tower” would probably be more accepted than the name of some English insurance brokerage firm.

    • Mainspark | September 3, 2015 at 9:51 am |

      I’m still calling the District’s professional football team, “the Redskins.”

    • Mangler | September 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm |

      It’s no surprise that some residents are in denali about the decision to rename Mount McKinley.

  • Adam R. W. | September 3, 2015 at 8:30 am |

    Not sure if it’s been covered here or not, but NASCAR and Darlington Raceway are having a throwback weekend this week, featuring several throwback inspired paint schemes (some more authentic than others), throwback ticket and concession pricing, a throwback styled broadcast, along with other rumored things (tv commercials being one).

    It’s interesting because of the nature of racecars being so tied to their sponsors, the throwbacks are a difficult task. To really replicate an old scheme, you’d need to use the old logos for companies which may not be sponsors anymore, at the expense of your current backers.

    Overall, they’ve done a good job, with some cars going with retro company logos:
    http://www.jayski.com/schemes/2015/sprintcup/dar/4budweiser-yellow-gold.jpg

    Some going with current sponsors but an old paint shceme:
    http://www.jayski.com/schemes/2015/sprintcup/dar/6AdvoCare-darlington-valvoline-throwback.jpg

    And some doing a darn good job of doing both:
    http://www.jayski.com/schemes/2015/sprintcup/dar/42mello-yello-dar-cgr.jpg

    You can see all of the throwback/throwback-inspired/fauzback designs here:
    http://www.jayski.com/news/schemes/story/_/page/2015-NASCAR-Darlington-Throwback-Paint-Schemes

  • Dumb Guy | September 3, 2015 at 8:31 am |

    Do umpires ‘like’ standing in dirt?

    What are the little triangles for anyway?

    • El Duderino | September 3, 2015 at 8:52 am |

      I believe the triangles are there for traction. If you have a near certain double of their is a resonable chance to go home theses triangles augments your ability to go for it.

      • El Duderino | September 3, 2015 at 8:54 am |

        replace “of” with “or”

        • DJ | September 3, 2015 at 9:22 am |

          And “their” with “there.”

        • Casey L. | September 5, 2015 at 1:34 am |

          And “theses” with these.

    • SumusResNovarum | September 3, 2015 at 11:47 am |

      Yes… for whatever reason not having to change surfaces when rotating to position makes doing so that much quicker. Probably more mental than anything, but I despise standing in the grass on a short infield and having to continually run onto the dirt to cover a play.

    • Caleb | September 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm |

      I always thought it was a way to avoid dead grass. If baserunners are going to stand in the same spot in foul territory all the time, why not make it dirt?

  • Dumb Guy | September 3, 2015 at 8:34 am |

    re: handicap signs…..

    “Reversed”? I don’t understand what that is supposed to mean.

    • arrScott | September 3, 2015 at 9:39 am |

      It’s “Reserved.” That part of the sign change, I like. But the new icon? Good lord. A bad idea, even more poorly drawn. Do we really improve the self-esteem of people who need to park closer to building doors by depicting them as Bond-villain henchmen being fed butt-first into a sawmill?

      If the idea is to “focus on the person, not the wheelchair,” then just get rid of the freakin’ wheelchair. After all, the vast majority of people with disabilities don’t use wheelchairs! And the vast majority of people who do use wheelchairs are not engaged in paralympic wheelchair racing.

      • Dumb Guy | September 3, 2015 at 10:18 am |

        LOL on me! (i am a dumb@$$!)

        LOL on you too!

      • mike 2 | September 3, 2015 at 11:33 am |

        There are a few very good sites out there that discuss the proposed change (better than the change.org petition).

        http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/icon-for-access/

  • Keith | September 3, 2015 at 8:40 am |

    Colorado’s white over grey looks to me like sweatpants and an undershirt. First thing I thought was Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Brutananadilewski

    • Bud | September 3, 2015 at 10:10 am |

      Agreed, white with gray has always looked bad to me. It’s like a baseball team wearing their white jerseys and road pants, or vice versa.

      Like what Oregon wore for the national championship this past season. Or what Ohio State or the NY Giants look like on the road all the time.

  • Matt | September 3, 2015 at 8:41 am |

    I love all the little quirks in stadiums & arenas. It’s the one thing I always notice when watching sports on TV besides the uniforms. I always pick up on the weird things about each stadium. I almost wish there was a second companion site – Stadium Watch. There would probably be as much material on stadiums and arenas as there is on uniforms every day.

  • LoseRem | September 3, 2015 at 8:54 am |

    Red Sox gave Tommy Heinsohn and JoJo White shirts with their names and Celtics numbers on them for first pitch ceremonies last night

    https://twitter.com/RedSox/status/639167023193411584

  • Ed | September 3, 2015 at 9:00 am |

    re: Mascots

    I had season tickets for a while to the Washington Mystics. Their initial mascot was borrowed from the Wizards (?G-Wiz?), and at one game, they held a birthday party for him. They brought in mascots from several other NBA teams to celebrate.

    Well, one of the visiting mascots decided that s/he was going to have fun, and rather than file out of the arena floor with all the others, s/he escaped into the crowd, and started doing things like taking the gatorade cups from behind the benches and serving them to the crowd, giving away team towels and other things.

    Arena security started following him around, and s/he comically played up running away, constantly looking over his/her shoulder, and then started doing his/her thing again in another part of the arena.

    S/he was captured at one point, and escorted off the floor, but made a jailbreak 10 minutes later.

    The Mystics were doing their usual job of underachieving, so it was much more enjoyable to watch the mascot’s antics.

    ed

  • BurghFan | September 3, 2015 at 9:02 am |

    I think the last time I was entertained by a mascot was Dave Raymond as the Phillie Phanatic in 1980. Since then, the nicest thing I’ve been able to say is “I guess it was OK since I didn’t notice it,” which defines a worthless part of the sporting experience.

  • Brian | September 3, 2015 at 9:09 am |

    I’m a big mascot fan. Of my hometown teams, Mr. Met and Sparky the Dragon are very enjoyable. Outside NY, I can’t get over Cocky the Gamecock!

  • Shane | September 3, 2015 at 9:11 am |

    A begrudging yes to mascots. I went to an Albany Devils game during game 6 of the 2013 World Series. On the way out, Devil Dawg points at my Sox hat, wraps me up in a hug, and the guy tells me Shane Victorino had just knocked in a run.

  • El Danno | September 3, 2015 at 9:34 am |

    Infield quirks – the Rams-era Big A used to have pathways both to the plate and to 1st and 3rd base. Don’t recall seeing that anywhere else.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b4/28/95/b428956b52aa37a0abcb64ec223d1977.jpg

    Renovation removed this anomaly.

  • Chris Holder | September 3, 2015 at 9:42 am |

    I think mascots are a fun addition to sports. Especially since, in so many aspects, we seem to have gotten away from the fact that “it’s just a game”.

    I can’t say I really have a favorite, but my hometown Chattanooga Lookouts have Looie and Blooie, whom I’ve always enjoyed. I’m pretty sure Blooie has to be a Little Person. That seems to be a rarity in the mascot world.

    • arrScott | September 3, 2015 at 10:17 am |

      The “it’s just a game” aspect is my favorite thing about mascots, too. The older I’ve grown, the more I’ve liked mascots. Almost everything that’s changed about live sporting events since I was a kid has sucked the fun and whimsy out of the experience. So what seems to me like a modern mascot renaissance feels like the one thing that’s making games more Jack Kirby, less Frank Miller.

  • Ray Barrington | September 3, 2015 at 9:43 am |

    My favorite was always at Met Stadium, which had a composite path from the dugouts to the plate area, which was circled with more of the path lettered with TWINS.

  • Birds4Brains | September 3, 2015 at 9:49 am |

    Why the equipment manager for the Toronto Blue Jays has it easier than any other in the MLB:

    Because there is no dirt on the infield. Makes washing unis a whole less involved.

    • Birds4Brains | September 3, 2015 at 9:50 am |

      Base paths, that is.

      • mike 2 | September 3, 2015 at 11:07 am |

        You should watch Donaldson play.

  • Birds4Brains | September 3, 2015 at 9:52 am |
  • jsjavier | September 3, 2015 at 9:59 am |

    The 1999 MLB ASG in Boston prominently had the Fenway infield cutout as part of its logo…(gah, can’t paste the image on here)

  • Bud | September 3, 2015 at 10:06 am |

    I like the dirt paths from the on-deck circle to the batter’s boxes PNC put in a few years ago

    http://www.brooklineconnection.com/history/Facts/images/PNCPark4.JPG

    • Dave Mac | September 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm |

      The Brewers had those for a while too. I think they have actually since been removed.

  • sam | September 3, 2015 at 10:10 am |

    The K used to have this weird crop circle looking thing surrounding home plate: It’s gone after the 2009 renovations.

  • Mike Chamernik | September 3, 2015 at 10:18 am |

    I was seven or eight when Barkley was roughing up mascots. The fights were obviously staged, but as a kid who grew up watching Dennis Rodman headbutt a ref and kick a cameraman, I thought the Chuckster was really beating these mascots up. I was like, how is this not a bigger story???

    • Gavin Whitehead | September 3, 2015 at 10:29 am |

      Hey Mike,
      Love the mascot piece. Growing up in Toronto in the 80’s the Blue Jays always had BJ Birdie (on a side note, I’m getting real sick of Blue Jay fan shirts and signs about loving BJ’s. That joke is getting old.) who eventually got retired for the cooler, hipper Ace. Even though that retirement happened when I was much older, it still stung.

      I wanted to share with you news about a new Netflix movie called Mascots. Created by Christopher Guest (Best in Show, This is Spinal Tap…the man basically created the Mockumenatry) it should be out next year. It was announced Tuesday and I can only imagine how great it will be! Here’s a bit more about it: http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/christopher-guest-netflix-movie-mascots-1201567417/

  • Matt | September 3, 2015 at 10:30 am |

    US Cellular Field has what are known as “fungo circles: Opening Day 2015.

    Not sure what other parks have these. A quick google search shows some used to have them but they have since been removed.

    • Caleb | September 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm |

      I believe Fenway is the only other stadium that still has them. 1960s Yankee Stadium used to have 6. With all the tarps they use during BP, they don’t need these circles anymore.

      I was told that pitchers used to warm up here, so they would stand on the farthest ones while the catcher was on the ones closest to the backstop. http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/al/pictures/yankpast940.jpg

      • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2015 at 2:47 pm |

        That is correct. At many ballparks, the starting pitcher would warm up either in front of the dugout or off to the side of the plate, in the fungo-hitting area, instead of in the bullpen. Shea Stadium originally had a flat dirt circle (not a mound) for this, right next to the fungo circle. The pitcher’s circle had a rubber, and there was a plate down by the backstop. Actually, there were *two* circles and two plates — one on each side, for each team.

        By the time I started following the Mets, in 1971, the pitchers were warming up in the bullpen, but the circles and the plates remained, and I didn’t understand what they were for. Very perplexing! At some point they did away with the circles/plates altogether.

  • Fran Simmonds | September 3, 2015 at 10:33 am |

    The picture used for this year at Yankee Stadium must be from a previous year as it shows Robinson Cano batting as a Yankee.

    • JM | September 3, 2015 at 10:44 am |

      Correct. That photo from “this year” is at least 3 seasons old.

      • John Z. | September 3, 2015 at 4:14 pm |

        Look at the top of the dugout in the second pictue… it has the Inaugural Season logo on the right side I believe, as well as having the walls where the retired numbers and World Series winning seasons are listed behind the bleachers still painted white, so that picture with Cano is actually from 2009. The top picture has those walls painted blue and has the 27 World Series logo painted on the dugout, so that one is from 2010.

        • John Z. | September 3, 2015 at 4:15 pm |

          *picture…

        • John Z. | September 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm |

          And finally (sorry for spamming here everybody) these pictures were taken Opening Day this season against the Blue Jays, where you can pretty clearly see the cutouts on the ground. Not to mention clicking on the image with Cano batting actually lists his stats batting in 2009 after the 6th inning.

  • Dan T. | September 3, 2015 at 10:53 am |

    Observation: if you are murdered either on live TV or as part of a large group, you will be honored by a sports team. If you’re one of the 14,000 or so Americans who are murdered individually, you will not.

    • The Jeff | September 3, 2015 at 12:04 pm |

      …which is all the more reason teams should stop memorializing anyone not directly involved with the team.

      • yosef777 | September 3, 2015 at 6:45 pm |

        “From your mouth to God’s ears..”

    • hmich176 | September 3, 2015 at 10:30 pm |

      That’s because the event has a much greater impact on society.

      • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2015 at 10:43 pm |

        Debatable point. Lots of murders you never hear about have a huge impact, at least cumulatively.

        Visibility does not equal import, at least not in and of itself.

  • Rydell | September 3, 2015 at 11:00 am |

    Great idea Paul, infield design has always interested me.

  • mike 2 | September 3, 2015 at 11:00 am |

    The best site I know for comparing ballparks is Clem’s baseball.

    http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/Overlay_comparison.php

    It looks like it might be a couple of years out of date but its got most of the quirks I know about – the weird rounded areas at Fenway, etc. It also shows how the shape of the dirt in front of the bases (within the field of play) differs from park to park.

    Aside from the shape of the field, there are a ton of overlays showing how the shape has changed through the years, how the field fits within the stadiums, etc. Prepare to spend a few hours.

  • Dan T. | September 3, 2015 at 11:03 am |

    Baseball field question: I seem to recall having seen MLB parks where the dirt section of the first and third base lines extended all the way to the outfield wall, instead of there only being a white chalk line. However, I can find no photographic evidence of this…am I imagining things?

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2015 at 11:14 am |
      • Dan T. | September 3, 2015 at 11:13 pm |

        Cool, thanks. Glad it wasn’t just in my head. I wonder why teams went away from it?

        • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm |

          It’s higher-maintenance. Ever edge where grass and dirt meet is an edge that has to be kept straight, you have keep the grass from encroaching on the dirt, etc. Easier to make it all grass and paint the line over it.

  • Lindy | September 3, 2015 at 11:04 am |

    Here’s another image of the Bulls new court design via reddit.

    http://imgur.com/Ya8RejI

  • Perry | September 3, 2015 at 11:06 am |

    Don’t know if any mascot will ever top the San Diego Chicken. (Although — was he really a mascot? Does a mascot have to have some conceptual relation to the team? The Chicken appeared at a ton of Padres game but I’m not sure he was their mascot, per se. He kind of transcended any one team.)

    Locally here in Denver, I’m quite fond of Rocky, the Nuggets’ mascot. They’ve had some very talented guys inside that suit.

    A lot of people despise the Rockies’ Dinger, for some reason. I’m as traditionalist as they come when it comes to sports, especially baseball, but I have no problem with mascots cavorting around, and Dinger is a-ok with me.

    • mild bill | September 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm |

      Never cared for The San Diego Chicken. He often went right up to the mound while a pitcher, usually from the visiting team, was warming up. I am actually surprised he never got his ass kicked, especially since no one in the late 70’s would have blamed the assailant.

      • scott | September 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm |

        The Famous Chicken and Reggie are the only talking mascots I know about, which alone makes them far more interesting than the mute mascots everyone else employs.

  • Perry | September 3, 2015 at 11:08 am |

    This is unquestionably the greatest mascot moment of all time.

    http://imgur.com/gallery/VeNBg

  • mike 2 | September 3, 2015 at 11:11 am |

    My favourite mascot ‘moment’ is still the involvement of the Pirate Parrot in the Pittsburgh cocaine trials of the late 1970s.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Parrot

    You know you’ve hit rock bottom when you’re buying cocaine from a giant green parrot.

    • arrScott | September 3, 2015 at 11:57 am |

      “Made enough money to buy McCutchen but I pissed it away so fast …”

      • Bromotrifluoromethane | September 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm |

        Never meant to last!!!!

        As a Pirates fan I forgot all about the Parrot and the coke. Hah! Imagine if something like that happened today.

  • Matt Shepardson | September 3, 2015 at 11:23 am |

    Mascots? Never. Never, never, ever.

    They’re right up there with baseball cheerleaders. (There are a very few, including the original San Diego Chicken, who for some reason don’t bother me. But mainly, I find them. To be a bunch of oversized clowns. Which also should never exist.)

    • Matt Shepardson | September 3, 2015 at 11:25 am |

      I apologize for the autocorrect typos. I’m still getting used to typing on an iPad.

  • pilight | September 3, 2015 at 11:42 am |

    I generally like mascots if they’re actually something related to the team. It’s tough with non-representational names favored by newer leagues/teams. For example, the New York Liberty mascot is a dog (Maddie).

    My best mascot story comes from the 2001 WNBA All Star game in Orlando. It was well over 100 degrees and very humid. A few of us diehards showed up early and were waiting for the doors to open. While we were waiting, Prowl (mascot of the Minnesota Lynx) came out and entertained us. He could not have been comfortable in that heavy, furry costume in the hot Florida summer but he showed no signs of distress as he went through his acrobatics.

    • Phil Hecken | September 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm |

      “He could not have been comfortable in that heavy, furry costume in the hot Florida summer…”

      ~~~

      1. How do you know it was a “he” in the costume.

      2. Are you sure it was a mascot at all?

  • Jerry | September 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm |

    Toronto, Skydome cutouts for the bases, left over from the cookie cutter stadium days. http://johnchidleyhill.com/?p=537

  • Larry | September 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm |

    I went to a game in Seattle with seats right behind the Angels dugout, wearing my Angels jersey. Toward the end of a decisive Mariners’ victory, the Moose spotted me and had a great deal of fun at my expense. I have to admit, he was pretty funny.

    I have a friend who is a mascot and works really hard at it–goes to camps and workshops and works out like crazy. Being able to do anything remotely athletic in those heavy, stinky costumes is very impressive.

  • hugh.c.mcbride | September 3, 2015 at 1:11 pm |

    QOTD: In the “classic” division I’ve always had a soft spot for mascots with enormous baseball heads (Mr. Met, Mr. Red/Redlegs).

    Among the newcomers, the conversation begins & ends with the Pirate Pierogies.

  • The Jeff | September 3, 2015 at 1:22 pm |

    As synonymous as rugby’s All Blacks are with New Zealand’s culture, the national team’s silver fern will not be on the nation’s new flag

    So, why do they keep calling it a silver fern when it’s rather obviously white?

  • MikeT | September 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm |

    As a former collegiate mascot myself, I obviously love mascots. There is such a wide diversity of mascots now that it seems there is something for everyone. Although, I think they are most effective as a single entity, rather than a collection of different mascots for different purposes. I think having a consistent, single (or duo) mascot is the most effective way to promote the team and engage fans.

  • Seth | September 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm |

    QOTW: Gotta go with the Chicken. I remember as a 3 year old in 1978 meeting him at a parade in a San Diego suburb. (Mom, my brother and I were visiting my aunt & uncle.) I was given a KGB*101 Chicken shirt and wore that thing everywhere.
    (Funny thing was before we got back into the Chicago area we lived, they got blasted with like 18 inches of snow. So my Dad had the fun task of shoveling before we came home.)

    • Mangler | September 3, 2015 at 7:35 pm |

      The San Diego Chicken was a guest of honor at the furry convention in Pittsburgh back in July. Looking ahead, I hope he’ll make a return trip in 2017.

  • Mike V. | September 3, 2015 at 1:37 pm |

    PNC park has those little extra notches past 1st and 3rd too for the umps. I highly enjoy that detail. Just feels right, deep down in the cockles of my OCD heart to have a specific area to place an ump.

    On the other hand, I always found those little paths from home plate to the mound very annoying. Just seems superfluous. Always annoyed me.

    Also, I always loved how Detroit has the home plate shape around the home plate area…plate-ception!!!!!!!!

    • scott | September 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm |

      Padres used to have the homeplate dirt area shaped like homeplate during some of the Jack Murphy/ Qualcomm years. Not sure they do that at Petco.

  • Ben | September 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm |

    Miller Park added the dirt paths from the dugouts to the batters box a few years ago as well. They were not there when Miller Park opened in 2001.

    IMO they mess up the infield design, looks cleaner with out them.

    I remember before Miller Park opened people asked if there would be the path from home plate to the pitchers mound like Arizona or Detroit. I guessed the Brewers discussed that, but did not do it because it could add to wierd hops if the baseball hit it, along with added work for the groundskeepers.

  • Dave Mac | September 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm |

    During the early-to-mid-90s (and probably before that), Milwaukee County Stadium had dirt filled spots for the base coaches to stand. Did other teams do this?

    I know the Brewers also had those slots near the batter box.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=milwaukee+county+stadium&espv=2&biw=1853&bih=937&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAmoVChMIt7i4jb3bxwIVxzI-Ch2zIQ0A#imgrc=nutFCtY6PWcxvM%3A

    • Dave Mac | September 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm |

      As an added note, I actually remember one season (I’d say probably 97 or 98) the stadium put grass over the base coach dirt during mid-season (not during the offseason). So you could see the grass looked different, much like when a football team put grass over the infield dirt of a baseball stadium.

    • El Danno | September 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm |

      Cleveland Stadium had the coach boxes in its later seasons

      https://cbscleveland.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/52018747.jpg?w=620&h=349&crop=1

  • Caleb | September 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm |

    Yes for mascots. I met Fredbird last year when I worked with the St. Charles Chill, he’s a really cool dude. At the time, there were only two Fredbirds and I told him how they both do a great job.

    I’ve also met a Smokey from Tennessee, he’s great too.

  • Chris Cruz | September 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm |

    Re mascots:

    As a father, I really appreciate mascots. They really helped my daughter get into baseball. She has a book called “Trolley Dodgers, Pinstriped Yankees, and Wearing Red Sox: How MLB Teams Got Their Names, which introduced her to all the MLB mascots, and which I recommend for any parent/grandparent/uncle/aunt. She’s old enough now that she’s happy to go to games without a mascot/giveaway/tons of junk food, but we still try to get a picture with the team mascot(s) if we can. Some teams even have a “home” (Baxter’s Den in Arizona and Moose Den in Seattle) where you can find the mascot and get photos/autographs.

    As for a favorite mascot, I really like the Racing Sausages, Presidents, A’s and D’backs big-head legends races. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lAwqla2Qatk/Ux_olR1DQkI/AAAAAAAADKY/2k7crsJLdXY/s1600/IMG_9017.jpg

  • Rob S | September 3, 2015 at 3:41 pm |

    I think that it’s a good thing that Al the Octopus is simply a large prop that hangs in the rafters of Joe Louis Arena, and not an actual costumed mascot character.

    I’ve never paid much attention to Paws (Tigers) or Hooper (Pistons), and I’ve never even seen Roary (Lions) in person. I can’t recall if I’ve ever seen Sparty in person, as the only times I’ve attended any sort of game involving Michigan State have been hockey games – one when they were visiting Michigan at Yost Ice Arena, and the other at the Great Lakes Invitational at the Joe.

  • Karim | September 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm |

    Mike, random question: Why does the photo that accompanies your question of the week seem to alternate every week?

  • Adam | September 3, 2015 at 5:50 pm |

    Dubinsky got the jersey he wanted. Someone in the game worn forum on Facebook traded with him his jersey from the wolfpack

  • Stephen W | September 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm |

    Fenway has that rounded infield shape around first and third.

    http://www.jdbaseball.com/pictures/boston-red-sox/grass-patter-in-fenway.jpg

    I always assumed that they made it that shape so that the groundskeepers could make smooth turns with their equipment on both the grass and the dirt infield. Does anyone know if this is indeed the case?

  • Bromotrifluoromethane | September 3, 2015 at 6:39 pm |

    QOTD – I can take or leave mascots. It depends on how overused they are. I watch on tv or go to the games to *gasp* watch the game (imagine that) so I don’t care about the stupid between plays/innings games, advertisements, or mascots running around. If there are any I’m usually OK with it as long as it’s a small number, no need for 14,000 different ones running around though.

    The infield thing bugs me. I hate the plate shape in Detroit and I hate even more the dirt cutouts going from the plate to the mound in Detroit and Arizona. I’m glad that didn’t catch on and spread anywhere else.

    As a fan of one of their ACC rivals I have to admit I’m loving the updates the Tar Heels have done with their football uniforms. I’ve wanted to see them add the argyle for a long time. It looks great. Major improvement over what they’ve worn the last few seasons. But even without seeing it I’m going on record and saying Michigan already needs to burn those white pants. This better be a 1 year trend. I hate all white on the road and Michigan has such great colors. Use them!!!! This will look horrendous!!

    • Bromotrifluoromethane | September 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm |

      Now that I’ve actually seen them I’ll make it officially official. I HATE the Michigan white pants as I knew I would. Such a terrible look.

      • DJ | September 3, 2015 at 9:54 pm |

        Eh. It’s Harbaugh going back to the look that Michigan wore when he was a kid (and presumably became a die-hard Michigan fan). The jersey is nice.

        He’s wearing a throwback cap, I think. Rather like what Bo wore.

        • Bromotrifluoromethane | September 3, 2015 at 10:41 pm |

          The jersey is nice compared to what they’ve been wearing on the road recently but those white pants are dreadful. Burn them immediately!!!

  • Mangler | September 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm |

    Mascots are the reason why minor league sports are minor. But I understand that low-level teams can’t rely on what their players actually do on the field, so they try to sell the game-day experience as a more affordable option for families.

    The idea of mascots just goes against common sense. Imagine people having to put on a smelly, sweaty costume that’s not their own, and becoming a possible target of abuse by spectators!

    In spite of this, I’ve [gotten over myself and] enjoyed the interactions I’ve had with sports mascots. I went to the NBA House in Brooklyn where I took part in a full-court obstacle course game. I had a tough time making a basket to finish the course, so Slamson (Sacramento Kings mascot) made a hoop for me with his arms, and I was able to finish. (Then I got the ball and made a basket in the actual hoop!) As I left the court, someone pointed out that I was being followed. I turned around and saw Slamson, so I got to hug him in appreciation for what he did. I hope this won’t be the high point of the year for me.

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm |

      Mascots are the reason why minor league sports are minor. But I understand that low-level teams can’t rely on what their players actually do on the field, so they try to sell the game-day experience as a more affordable option for families.

      Minor league baseball is not about selling a baseball experience. It is 100% about selling cheap family entertainment, the end. Talk to anyone in the biz and they’ll tell you exactly that.

  • François Vallerand | September 3, 2015 at 8:46 pm |

    Nothing beats Nordiques’ Badaboom!

  • Will S | September 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm |

    QOTD:

    This far along in the evening and no mention from any fans of the Edmonton Oilers of Harvey the Hound getting his tongue ripped out?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JeF271w2WE

  • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2015 at 9:51 pm |

    Way back in the day, Chicago’s West Side Park had an interesting design with a HUGE home plate area, and some rather bulbous first & third base areas:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/WestSidePark_1908-08-30-with-caption.JPG

    Someone mentioned Metroplitan Stadium earlier. I loved the TWINS printed behind home plate.
    http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/past/images/met10951.jpg

    Mascots: if they don”t block my view of the game and if they’re happy without being creepy, I’m all for them. I’d rather have mascots than ear-splitting music and scoreboards ordering me to make “NOISE!!!”.

  • daveclt | September 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm |

    Some mascots “yea”, and some “nay”. The job is to entertain the crowd (both young and old), while not being the center of attention. Be cute, an instigator, self-depricating, and a cheerleader all at the same time. It’s a difficult job. I always thought the Pirate Parrot and the Philly Phanatic did the best jobs.

    Also, I really thought the idea of a Pirate Parrot was cool, because parrots are/were mascots of real pirates. The AAA Charlotte Knights also kinda do this, with Homer the Dragon as a mascot. More teams should try it.

    While the San Diego Chicken was the most popular mascot, I always felt bad for San Diego fans, because the Chicken was more of a national mascot, and didn’t really seem to represent or care about San Diego teams.

  • Howard | September 4, 2015 at 7:28 am |

    Related to the infield design thing: on-deck circles. Some have them, some don’t. Some have team logos, some don’t. Fenway Park has none, so the on-deck hitter can roam around. They used to have rubberized green circles, but were removed when Jason Varitek tripped over one and broke his elbow in 2001.

  • James G | September 4, 2015 at 7:38 am |

    If it hasn’t been mentioned, 4 flag designs have been selected to be voted on in New Zealand. They are all hideous. Look more like
    Corporate logo flags. Three have a variation of the silver fern though not NZ rugby’s version. Two are variations from the same person. One looks like toilet water flushing. All are awful. Judge for yourself.
    http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/trending/new-zealand-flag-candidates-1.3210998

  • Scott | September 4, 2015 at 7:56 am |

    The Phanatic has already been briefly mentioned – who doesn’t love the Phanatic?

    Anyway – my wife and I are both VT grads. For a surprise at our wedding reception, the Hokie Bird made an appearance. That was really fun.