For week three of the Guide To Recognizing series of unsolicited MiLB team mascot information we jump back across the continental United States to the Northwest League of Professional Baseball, a Short-Season A classification minor league. The league is a descendant of the old Western International League, with memorable teams such as the Victoria Athletics, the Lewiston Black Chinese Indians and the Oregon Trail Dysentery Havers. You don't want to know about their mascot, trust me.
If you've read the rundown of the Pioneer and Appalachian Leagues, you won't need my disclaimer about how I'm a normal person who just happens to think mascots are stupid and fun. But in the interest of filling up these introductory paragraphs, here goes: I am a lecherous creep, but I try to keep that separated from my love of baseball. Think of it like refusing to cheer for a WWE Diva. I love pro wrestling and I love strippers, but I don't want to have to look at them at the same time, you know?
Please move right along and click through to read about what people in Washington are doing when you aren't looking.
I find it extremely important to begin any discussion of the Northwest League with the Everett AquaSox and their mascot duo Frank and Webbly. Quick, guess which one is Frank. Did you guess the gangster frog?
I clicked the "about" link on the Everett AquaSox homepage in hopes of finding out what the hell an "AquaSock" was, but minor league baseball pages are the worst, and I mean sure, now I know where I can send all my Everett player fan mail, but I'm left ignorant and assuming the team is named after those little shoes I got made fun of for wearing at Cape Cod. I have very sensitive feet and little to no knowledge of what lurks at the bottom of a f**king terminal moraine, and frankly I don't appreciate this team drawing attention to my stupid shoes.
And speaking of franks, what's with the Mad Magazine-ass looking mouth on Frank? Uncomfortable smiles like that belong on Big Johnson t-shirts, not on food.
Okay, so I don't really know what this extra mascot's deal is, nor do I know any living child who can suspend disbelief enough to enjoy a puppet walking around in a Team Rocket-quality invisible suit, but I'm pretty sure if I stare at it much longer I'm going to start learning about Christianity.
I love that Pop Fly is an option for your Everett AquaSox-related appearance. Your kid wouldn't enjoy a six-foot tall frog? Okay, how about a radical wiener? No? Oh, I know, how about Bert from Sesame Street's boring older brother who loves minor league baseball and wanders around in a house with legs that absolutely does not have a man inside it?
The mascot for Eugene, Oregeon, is not named "Eugene." I'm not even sure what to do with that. I feel sort of empty inside. Maybe they have a chef mascot named "Emerald?" No, they have a bright green bear with blue pubes named Sluggo. Sluggo loves Emeralds baseball, but he also loves crushing Mr. Bill and being Nancy from the comic strip "Nancy's" gay best friend.
His bio doesn't help. It starts with Sluggo being born and glosses over everything until he finds an abandoned pair of binoculars in the forest and starts using them to spy on the Eugene Emeralds. He wants to play baseball, but feels excluded because none of them are bright green. So he decides to become their mascot instead, and he repeats this story "anytime he meets new people at the ballpark." Oh, so I guess when he high fived me and covered his mouth with both hands I was supposed to know all that shit about the binoculars and the forest.
Oh well, nothing says "retarded" quite like "Eugene."
Ah, now here's something relatively straightforward. The team name is the "Yakima Bears," so the mascot is an enormously fat lesbian cowboy with a tiny bat. Boomer, pictured here with a bear (right), has been entertaining white people and a decreasing number of Native Americans in South Central Washington for maybe twenty years.
Bears fans can find Boomer entertaining the fans at Yakima County Stadium and providing some of the worst analysis you could imagine on CBS Sports' The NFL Today. I mean, I get that a baseball-themed plush bear might not be the best person to ask about football, but I expect better quotes than “the question is do they have a conscience? I don't know what part of the brain controls that part” from even the most underdeveloped caniforms.
Anyway, "The Yakima Bears have a bear mascot" isn't really ripe with jokes, so we're going to move on to the next team, who I'm sure will have something crazy.
So we move on to the Vancouver Canadians, who have a ... uh, they have a bear. They have a bear named "Bob Brown Bear," because this team was named by a five-year old girl in kindergarten who had to come up with a f**king story about bears on the fly. I like that he isn't just "Bob Bear," but Bob Brown Bear, like the owner of the Vancouver Canadians was like "our mascot is a bear, what should his name be," and his wife goes, "how about Bob Bear," and he's like "yeah but then how are they gonna know what color he is."
Also, the name "Canadians" is shaking me. As a hockey fan, I'm conditioned to spell it "Canadiens" without even considering whether the team plays in Normal Canada or weird French Canadian Canada. But this brings up further questions, like whether or not there's a team somewhere in British Columbia named the "Maple Leaves," and everything I've come to learn about the Canadian grasp of language has been a lie.
Also (also), how awful is that logo? Like the owner of the Vancouver Canadians was like "here's our logo, it's a C," and his wife is all, "for what," and he explains "because Canada starts with C." And then she suggests that he spruce it up a little bit, and he's like "how about I put a bunch of bears in the logo," and she suggests a baseball, and he'll do that as long as he can hang an apostrophe S on the side.
so the owner of the vancouver canadians was like,
According to the Canadians page, the racers are Ms. BC Roll, Mr. Kappa Maki and "the sinister" Chef Wasabi. Wasabi spends his time "cheating [and] tricking the other contestants," and I hope that means he throws salt in their eyes. That would be devastating for a good piece of sushi.
I'm shocked that sushi can run at all, I figured it'd just flop around like a dead fish.
"Dammit Frank, the children and old ladies aren't getting these boxes out of here fast enough. Bring in the bird in the cargo shorts with a hand truck."
Humphrey's bio: "Humphrey the Hawk has been the team’s high flying mascot since his birth many years ago in the Boise foothills. In addition to spending his summers at Memorial Stadium, Humphrey can be found throughout the Treasure Valley year-round. Humphrey loves to join players at the library, the hospital, community events, schools, or wherever kids of all ages can be found."
1. The Northwest League is really big on creating lore about how they went out into the woods or the fields or whatever and scooped up a field mouse, and now he's this big f**koff thing that can't stop cheering for baseball.
2. The Treasure Valley sounds like an awesome place to live, but I'm gonna guess it's like Monster Island.
3. I'm guessing "kids of all ages" means from 0 until about 11 or 12? Seems awfully specific when "kids" would've worked.
4. They left out the fun fact about how he once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
"The Great Potato Race continues to be the most popular promotion at Memorial Stadium. The promotion grabs the attention of the entire stadium as the Gem, Spud and Fry race around the bases!"
what the hell is a gem
edit: According to Wikipedia, the common tater tot is known as a "potato gem" or "potato pom-pom," but that doesn't explain to me why Idahoans are appropriating sub-Coriolis lingo. Is Idaho secretly into Australia? Am I going to get to Boise and run into a bunch of chazzwozzas and get kicked in the ass with a big shoe?
If you live in Australia and call tater tots "potato pom-poms," you should probably stop speaking.
The Volcanoes became a permanente fixture in Keizer back in 1997. Executives brought NWL baseball back to Oregon by convincing Chazz Palminteri that they'd put the team in harmless, palsied Salem instead of the notoriously deadly drug-running suburb of Keizer. Chazz eventually figured out what was going on and accidentally shattered his coffee cup, but it was too late: the Volcanoes were a team with a progressive douche parent first name and a lavender dinosaur with a baseball face as their mascot. Was Salem truly Keizer all along? Did former Cleveland Indians pitcher Masa Kobayashi even exist? We may never know.
Anyway, I'm not "that guy," but Crater comes pretty close to scary the literal crap out of me. Look at him, he's terrifying. The seams on his baseball head jut out and form shark tooth spikes. His eyes are red, his tongue is hanging out of the side of his mouth, he has weird, slender lady monster hands and he carries around lead pipe with a dismembered bear claw (or dinosaur foot) bearing his his likeness on the palm. What the hell does he use that thing for? Other than murder, I mean. He wants you to know who he is when he's clawing you to death with a thing he found.
Unfortunately, Crater stopped being the mascot for the Volcanoes when I jumped on him and killed him in Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Don't feel bad, I jumped to the same conclusions. I said "the hell is that" and stared at the picture for about twenty seconds before moving on. The best I could come up with was "Foofur stabbed in the face with a traffic cone." And the Foofur reference is on point, but that thing passing as his nose started looking less and less like a traffic cone, and I ended up with "Foofur fell asleep with his face pressed against a coral tumbler your girlfriend bought at Kohl's." But that can't be their mascot, can it?
It turns out that Otto is ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. He is the "world's only Spokaneasaurus" and was recently voted "best mascot in the world," presumably by Washington state's cryptozoology crowd. If you search him online it's nothing but HEY READER OTTO IS YOUR FAVORITE MASCOT HE IS BIG AND BLUE AND HAS STYLE AND IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ANOTHER SPOKANEASAURUS YOU ARE UP A SHITTED CREEK BECAUSE OTTO IS THE ONLY ONE. Using what I know about paleontology, I can observe that Otto evolved from one of the older, bird-like mascots in the region. Ha, just kidding, God made Otto exactly like that and put him on the Earth to help me enjoy baseball and possibly for food.
Otto has been around since 1993, but you know before that the Spokane Indians were the Spokane Gut Eaters and their mascot was a promiscuous gambling Indian.
Somewhere over in England, James Dyson just got to this page, got really close to his monitor, squinted his eyes and started angrily clicking his mouse until his team of sentient robot butlers swarmed the den and exchanged nanotech until they could find a way to eradicate this thing using nothing but sweltering air and brightly-colored plastic.
I think Dusty says everything you need to know about Northwest League baseball. Someone out there named a team after a swirling upswing of dirt, but then needed an anthropomorphic block of shredded wheat to symbolize them. And his name is "Dusty." Were there any other names? If I lived in the three cities, could I have voted on that? I would've called him "Dirt McGirt." And I would've kept him away from any 5K run that resulted in him showing up on some local Pasco teen beauty queen's Facebook page weeboing out like that. I never thought I'd say this about a Dirt Devil, but man, you suck.
That takes care of the Northwest League, and I hope the two fans of sports living in the U.S. Northwest have enjoyed my thoughts. Come back next Monday when I attempt to cover all 140 teams in the New York-Penn League.