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Odd team names can take a toll

12/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

The creature looked at its reflection in the ice.

“What am I? Where am I?” it said.

“You’re on the Island of Misfit Mascots,” said a large silver swine. “My name’s FeFe, and I’m one of the mascots of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. And you, sir — well, you are a strange bird.”

“Yes, a strange bird, definitely some kind of waterfowl,” agreed Big Lug, the dinosaur mascot of the Lansing Lugnuts. “Look at his head. I think his hair extensions were done by Bob’s Discount Tires.”

It was true. Where his hair feathers should have been were steel-belted radials.

“I think this is a clue,” said the mascot of the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes. “On his belly it says ‘Akron RubberDucks.’”

Ah, now he remembered! He remembered that day in October, when the owner of the city’s minor league team held a press conference to announce the ball club would now be known as the RubberDucks. The reaction of the schoolchildren attending the event was very positive, but the public’s reaction was mixed. Many fans preferred the old name and mascot, though they didn’t react to the change with torches and pitchforks.

At least not initially.

“Pardon me,” said the mascot of the El Paso Chihuahuas. “Do you know those people coming over the hillside?”

They were the new mascot’s most fervent critics.

“Hey, look! It’s the rubber duck! You’re the one!”

“Let’s squeeze him and see if he squeaks!”

“Duck flambé!”

“Please give me a chance!” begged the mascot. “You haven’t even seen me in action yet. I don’t even have a proper name!”

But the crowd would have none of it. “Duck season! Duck season!” they chanted.

The mascot was cornered. But when things looked the worst, he noticed a helicopter flying toward him.

“Here, grab this rope, I’ll pull you up.”

It was Orbit, his ball club’s old mascot.

“Why are you helping me?” asked the duck. “I’m kind of taking your spot on the team.”

“Well, management has promised me a continued place in the organization,” said Orbit. “And besides, I remember what it was like starting out. When I was unveiled, the team name was the Akron Blast, and I was called ‘Kaboom.’ You can imagine how well that went over.”

“I can’t thank you enough, Orbit. I’m sure we’ll be great friends.”

“No doubt,” said Orbit. “A cat and a duck together — what could go wrong?”

They flew off to safety. In the distance was another land mass, the Island of Controversial Team Symbols. There appeared to be Indian smoke signals rising from it.

“Don’t go there,” said Orbit.

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