What's annoying about mascots is that they're adored for doing obnoxious things that would otherwise get an un-costumed person beat up. Their small language capacities and gargantuan heads perpetuate the age-old stereotype that they're mentally retarded, which, despicably, is the reason why folks find them so entertaining. Yet some mascots, in addition to being obnoxious, are entirely irrelevant to the city or team they represent.
#1 — Southpaw of the Chicago White Sox
Looking like a tennis ball that got dropped in Ninja Turtle slime, Southpaw is neither white nor sock-like. Part of the abundant lineage of mascots without confirmed species or gender, his whatchamacallit status serves as a necessary distraction from Ozzie Guillen's persistent oral dysentery. Regardless, his lack of team-identifiable features makes him no more as suitable a fit for the Sox as the Cubs.
The Mascot Should've Been: A recent Skitltes ad suggests that a giant anthropomorphic tube sock could actually be entertaining, so why not go with that?
#2 — T-Rac of the Tennessee Titans
Defying all expectations, Tennesseans have not yet eaten T-Rac, the lovable pants-wearing raccoon, nor have they shot BBs at him out of fear he will invade their trash piles. Instead they've embraced him, allowing him to scavenge among their children and perpetrate mischievous antics a-plenty. These antics include running over Saints backup Adrian McPherson with a golf cart, which T-Rac did in 2006 — likely in revenge for all his roadkill brethren.
The Mascot Should've Been: The Greek god Cronus, with a huge furry sickle and ancient-looking shoulder pads. While Tennessee certainly has plenty of raccoons, they would've been better off going with one of the twelve storied Greek deities as a mascot, as indicated in the team's nom de guerre. Then they could use the savings in rabies shots on extending Chris Johnson's contract.
#3 — Slider of the Cleveland Indians
As though Cleveland sports fans haven't had enough humiliation. Slider looks pretty much like the Phillie Phanatic if he got into a slap fight with a gay pride parade float. Pink and furry, with yellow blisters in the genital region, Slider's the one mascot who should use his t-shirt launcher to shoot Valtrex samples into the stands. Likely chosen so as not to offend Native Americans, Slider not only has no relevant affiliation with the team, but also no species, for that matter (though he has been classified as part of the Fabulous-Diva genus).
The Mascot Should've Been: Chief Wahoo. Represented in the team's logo, Chief Wahoo might lack ethnic sensitivity, but he offends only one people instead of all straight men and all gay men not named Richard Simmons.
#4 — Go the Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns
The only professional sports mascot whose name can be an adjective, verb, and noun, Go is of mild interest to both linguists and fans of primates who slam-dunk through flaming hula hoops. But with a creepy mask and proportions more human than simian, Go looks like something from a straight-to-DVD horror flick. Though a member of the Mascots Hall of Fame (which exists, apparently), his not-so-kid-friendly appearance and lack of correlation with our nearest star makes him an ill fit for the Purple Palace.
The Mascot Should've Been: A 7-foot-tall tottering sun in a Barkley jersey, constantly trailed by eight midgets in planet costumes. They wear black armbands in memory of Pluto.
#5 — Sparky The Dragon of the New York Islanders
What's ridiculous about Sparky is that he was originally the mascot for the New York Dragons, who shared an arena with the Islanders, and sort of just stuck around after the Dragons went bust. His irrelevance is inarguable and effortless.
The Mascot Should've Been: Lady Liberty with a playoff beard? Some cartoonishly inflated Jimmy Buffett lookalike? A freakin' rock in the middle of a tub of water? Almost anything would've made more sense than that dragon, who's a bit too enthusiastic for someone who was orphaned by an arena football team.
#6 — Dinger of the Colorado Rockies
Though notable for its immense deposits of Coors Light, the Rocky Mountains are not necessarily known for harboring triceratops fossils. Yet the Rockies, feeling super gimmicky, chose to hatch Dinger during their 1994 season. Looking like a cross between Barney and Jeff Garlin, Dinger is everything a mascot shouldn't be: wussy, purple, and from the Cretaceous Period. Then again, Dinger was introduced when the country was still obsessing over Jurassic Park, so perhaps his irrelevance seemed somewhat relevant at the time.
The Mascot Should've Been: A spastic, adorable version of The Thing from Fantastic Four. Give him a goofy smile, a jovial brow, and a sack full of rally towels, and he'll be ready to pose with all the women and children who don't care about the game and crave diversion.
#7 — The Canadian hockey team mascots
Reflect for a moment on the mascot names of the Maple Leafs, the Canucks, the Flames, the Senators, and the Canadiens, respectively: Carlton the Bear, Fin the Whale, Harvey the Hound, Spartacat, and Youppi. Canadians are undoubtedly bizarre, as their use of the term Kraft Dinner instead of macaroni and cheese can attest, but one would expect at least one out of their five hockey teams to make a little sense.
The Mascot Should've Been: A slug made of maple syrup, Ellen Page with beaver teeth, an enormous Zippo, Senator Palpatine, and a big cell phone with the word Franco stamped on it. These terrible ideas took three seconds a piece to come up with and still trump the actual mascots.