[UPDATED JUNE 14; UPDATES NOTED IN ITALICS]
Public outrage erupted last night after beloved New York Mets mascot, Mr. Met, let the frustrations of a stressful season boil over and flipped off a fan at Citi Field. Or at least the Mets organization believed the public was outraged, as they released a statement today apologizing for the inappropriate gesture. The Mets also have terminated the employment of the individual who was inside the Mr. Met costume at the time.
Were that many people actually enraged by the incident, though? I mean, the injury-riddled Mets are 23-29 in a season where they hoped to contend for a World Series title. I get it. Not to mention, the mascot doesn’t even have a middle finger …
— Sports Betting Dime (@BettingDime) June 1, 2017
But I’m not here to tell you what you should and should not be offended by. Instead, I want to explore the rest of the MLB’s mascots and point a finger (I’ll choose which one carefully) at which character is most likely to follow in Mr. Mets’ footsteps.
Swinging Friar, Padres: 7/1
Raymond, Rays: 8/1
Southpaw, White Sox: 10/1
Pirate Parrot, Pirates: 12/1
Phillie Phanatic, Phillies: 15/1
Swinging Friar not only has to deal with that horrific hair cut and the humidity down in San Diego, but his team also sucks, and they have for quite some time. Would you blame him for telling some loud-mouth to stick a certain part of his male anatomy in his sound-emitter?
Meanwhile, Raymond just looks miserable. Mix those low-hanging, bushy eyebrows with a face that’s incapable of smiling, and you’ve got a grumpy mascot.
And if Mr. Met has a boiling point, then we can only assume the next classiest mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, must have one, too.
Yasiel Puig took a page out of Mr. Met’s book in a game in Cleveland last night, flipping the double-deuce at some hecklers on his way back to the dugout. The often animated Cuban had been on his best behavior this year until the incident, which will almost certainly get him fined. He’s not the first big-leaguer to flip-off fans, and he won’t be the last.
We don’t tend to see repeat offenders with these types of incidents. They spur-of-the-moment reactions that guys learn from. So the most likely candidates to flip the next bird are first-timers.
Rougned Odor, Rangers: 24/1
Bryce Harper, Nationals: 26/1
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 30/1
Manny Machado, Orioles: 30/1
Fernando Rodney, Diamondbacks: 30/1
David Price, Red Sox: 35/1
The Nationals’ closer-du-jour, Nationals: 35/1
There are a lot of players in the MLB, and emotions can get the better of anyone. That means no one’s odds are particularly short. I figure the guys who are willing to throw hands are the most likely to do other unsavory things with their hands, too. The most outwardly emotional players also find themselves near the top of the list.
Odor is young, talented, volatile, emotional … and struggling at the plate. That’s a perfect recipe for cookin’ up a bird.
Price has generally been good-tempered throughout his career, but he’s been battling with the Red Sox media this year. He wasn’t great in his first year with Boston and has been so-so since his return from injury. He’ll probably remain pretty grumpy until he gets back to his Cy Young form, which may be never.
Whoever the Nats trot out as their next closer is sure to hear it from fans if (when?) he blows a save. Might as well go out in style.
Bryan Price, Reds: 7/1
John Gibbons, Blue Jays: 8/1
Clint Hurdle, Pirates: 12/1
These odds would be so much easier to set if Ozzie Guillen and Lou Piniella were still managing. There are still some mercurial personalities in MLB dugouts, though.
Gibbons is a good-natured guy, until he’s not. He led the league in ejections last year (eight) and has flashed his temper repeatedly in the past, getting into quite a few dust-ups with his own players, and even challenging Shea Hillenbrand to a fight back in the day.
Hurdle was hurled six times last year and his Pirates have a lot to be sour about, especially when they’re on the road, where they’re a woeful 12-20.
But Bryan Price is the favorite for obvious historical reasons.
Baxter the Bobcat, Diamondbacks: 6/1
Sluggerrr, Royals: 7/1
Barrelman, Brewers: 15/2
Orbit, Astros: 9/1
The Presidents, Nationals: 15/1
Try to tell me you’re not slightly frightened by this vicious cat. If Baxter came running at you, there’s no way you’re not seeking the nearest shelter. Add in the intense mood-swings, and you’ve got yourself a feline who’s smuggling catnip across the border. Search ’em, boys.
Like Baxter, the Royals mascot also looks like an aggressive lion; but Sluggerrr has proven he is capable of more than just intimidation. In 2010, Sluggerrr was sued for being a little irresponsible with the hotdog cannon after a rogue dog hit a man in the eye. It may be a new individual in the costume now, but another incident like that could result in the ornery cat leaving the stadium in cuffs.
Barrelman is at an immediate disadvantage in this category, having to wield a bat in his hands. One false swing of that weapon, and Barrelman could be facing assault charges.
While Trump is so concerned about punishing illegal immigrants, it’s amazing that he has overlooked the Astros’ mascot, Orbit. It’s literally an alien from another planet. Has anyone even asked to see its birth certificate? And since we’re on Trump, there’s no way the narcissist can continue watching past Presidents running around receiving applause. Fraud? Mischief?
DJ Kitty, Rays: 5/1
Ace, Blue Jays: 16/3
Mr. Redlegs, Reds: 11/2
Since DJ Kitty took over as the official secondary mascot in Tampa Bay (2013), the Rays have missed the playoffs in three of four seasons. And while we’re on trends, the Blue Jays have never won a World Series, and only been to the playoffs twice, since introducing Ace in 2002.
As for Mr. Redlegs, the Reds already have three other mascots: Mr. Red, Rosie Red, and Gapper. Redlegs serves no purpose.
That bird would peck the sh!t out of that green blob. Go inside on Manny Machado again, Boston, the Oriole Bird dares you.
A moose stands little chance against an elephant. C’mon, man.
After showing a little aggression last night, Mr. Met has closed the gap a bit between he and whatever Phillie the Phanatic is.
You’d probably get even money here if Sluggerrr gets to wield that hotdog cannon.
Even if thrown into a dreaded handicap match, Barrelman has a bat!
It’ll be tough to match the intensity that was seen after Hunter Strickland beaned Bryce Harper earlier this week (Jeff Samardzija reminded us he did play football at Notre Dame), but no one would be overly surprised to see fists start flying between any of the following rivals. You should also mark down August 11-13 on your calendar, when the Giants and Nationals meet again.
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles: 9/1
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Anyone: 10/1
New York Yankees vs. New York Mets: 19/1
The MLB attempted to squash the feud that has been brewing between the Red Sox and Orioles this season, but that doesn’t mean the two teams will oblige when they open up a four-game series today.
The Texas Rangers jump out as the obvious opponent for the Blue Jays, but with Jose Bautista continuing to flip that bat against everyone, in any situation, it’s only a matter of time before another pitcher takes aim at the Jays’ slugger.
The Subway series has always been a heated rivalry, and it’s clear by this article that tempers are running thin in the Mets’ clubhouse.
Photo Credit: Michael Pick (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].
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