Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Giants Didn't Make Playoffs, But At Least Can Revel In This Meaningless Streak

Do you want this fuzzball touching your kids? I think not.

Do you know why class teams like the Dodgers (along with three other MLB teams) don't bother with having a stupid mascot running around the stadium, trying in vain to fire up the crowd? Because MLB mascots like the Giants' Lou Seal are unnecessary roles befitting hallucinating, overworked, family-bond-rebuffing, paranoid people who like being the targets of abuse:

SAN FRANCISCO—The World Champion San Francisco Giants won't be returning to the playoffs this year, but the team is on top in at least one category: Its "Lou Seal" is the reigning champ in consecutive home games attended by a mascot.

Joel Zimei has attended 1,051 straight home games as Lou Seal, a beloved figure at AT&T Park who rides around the field on a little scooter, performs atop the dugout and pops up everywhere from the outfield bleachers to corporate suites to trade high fives with Giants fans.

The streak hasn't been easy to keep. Once he had to drive half the night from Reno after his flight from Denver to San Francisco was canceled and the closest he could get was Nevada. He made it to the game. "I was totally delirious," says the 38-year-old Mr. Zimei. Another time, his uncle's funeral was scheduled during a home game. Mr. Zimei planned to go back east for the services but stayed here after an understudy told him: "I don't want to be you."

Hallucinating, overworked, and family-bond-rebuffing. Oh, and the understudy doesn't even covet the job. What the hell does that say about the role?

Major League Baseball doesn't keep stats on mascot attendance. But Mr. Zimei's fellow mascots—26 of the 30 teams have one—compared notes at their annual get-together at the All Star game in 2010 and determined Lou Seal had attended more home games in a row than any of the others. "One is one season behind me, so he's breathing down my neck," says Mr. Zimei, who wouldn't identify his rival.

Paranoid. Zimei is literally scared of another mascot. Wow.

There are also the inevitable obnoxious fans. "I actually once got punched by an off-duty New York police officer," Bromley Lowe says of when he played the "Oriole Bird" for the Baltimore Orioles. Mr. Lowe says he quit the gig in 2004 after a decade to run his own children's show. "There was a burnout factor involved," says Mr. Lowe, 40.

Mascots can give as good as they get. At a 2007 game against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, Lou Seal attacked a Dodgers fan with Silly String after the fan waved a Lou Seal doll she had dressed in Dodgers blue. "She was taunting me," Mr. Zimei says. A fellow Dodgers fan shoved the orange-suited mascot across two rows of seats, drawing boos from the Giants fans, who cheered after security booted the man as Lou Seal waved goodbye.

Tickets to a Giants game: as low as $1, using dynamic pricing. Shoving Lou Seal across two rows: priceless.

Not that I'm advocating violence or anything. It just seems like an MLB mascot just isn't what a quality MLB team would need to have to employ.

photo: Tom Harvey / WSJ


Josh S. said...

Mr. Zimei planned to go back east for the services but stayed here after an understudy told him: "No way, dude. That costume smells like garlic fry farts and sadness after you've worn it."

Nostradamus said...

Mascots of any variety are horrifying once closely considered.

Pistol Pete Reiser said...

Lou Seal = Crazy Crab 2.0.

I've seen that asshole instigate way too many fights and walk. He creates a hostile environment, and really needs to stop. The team should be enough to satisfy the fans' attentions, but, really, the average Gnats fan is so easily distracted it's no wonder the mascot exists. Weak.

MR.F said...

Why don't you just start a Giants Mascot blog so you could post Giants Mascot news on that blog?

Dave said...

At the one Jint/Dodger game I went to this year, I was in the front row right in back of the plate.

The fucking seal came by, stopped, and dramatically pointed at his fake World Series ring. I yawned and said, "Oh, one of those? We have six."

The little cunt just walked away.