10 Minor League Baseball Mascots Where I Have No Goddamn Clue What They Mean
While its Major League parents continue to struggle to maintain their place on the big league sports landscape, trailing at least perceptually behind the NBA and way behind the NFL, minor league baseball continues to be a solid, growing (albeit slowly in some places, but growing nonetheless) business.
There are a variety of reasons why minor league baseball is thriving, and in my feature article in this week's print edition of the Houston Press I examine several of those reasons in discussions with current executives of minor league and former Astros executive Tal Smith, an advisor to the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, a team that, coincidentally, clinched an Atlantic League postseason berth yesterday, its first ever.
One very underrated aspect of the minor league marketing "experience" is in its logos and merchandise.
There was a time a couple decades ago, when virtually the only way to get your hands on minor league gear was to actually go to the ballpark, that sporting a Toledo Mud Hens jersey or a Tidewater Tides lid was unique, a sign of some serious hardcore fandom or some equally hardcore resourcefulness.
With the advent of the Internet, however, it became easier. You just had to merely browse a team's website, handpick your gear, order some merchandise online, and have it shipped to your home. But even though the uniqueness of having a Durham Bulls T-shirt was dead and gone, people still couldn't get their hands on minor league gear fast enough.
As it turns out, funny, creative, oftentimes cartoonish mascots equate to a nice profit center.
However, even having just written roughly 3,500 words on the industry of minor league baseball, I realized I have no goddamn clue what some of these mascots even mean. And quite frankly, if you're going to wear a team's gear, you should at least know what noun it is you're repping, so in an effort to assist you, the minor league merch buyer, here are a handful of minor league mascots on whom I was clueless until I looked up what they meant: