To some, mascots may seem utterly useless or distracting from the actual game. To others like me, however, that is exactly what makes them so important to the American sporting experience. Whatever your stance on mascots may be, I think we can all agree on one thing — sports mascots are absolutely wild. Without further ado, here are the best of the best.
I couldn’t let Gritty’s birthday pass without paying homage to the icon himself. Gritty exploded onto the mascot scene in 2018 and hasn’t looked back. No one knows exactly what he is, but everyone knows his name. From regularly going viral on the internet for his creative content to becoming a staple of socialist meme accounts, Gritty has a cultural impact unrivaled by any other sports mascot in modern times. If you haven’t realized it yet, I stan.
2. Mr. Met
Perhaps I’m a biased Mets fan, but Mr. Met is the epitome of a class act mascot. While the Mets have struggled a bit in recent years, Major League Baseball’s oldest mascot has been holding it down since 1964.
They just don’t make ‘em like Mr. Met anymore. *sigh*
3. Phillie Phanatic
What even is this thing? A dinosaur? A muppet? Who knows! The Phillie Phanatic is certainly up there as one of the strangest mascots and has long been a fan favorite in the City of Brotherly Love. Unfortunately, the Phanatic might no longer have a home in Philly after a lawsuit was filed over who owns the rights to the mascot. If this doesn’t epitomize the U.S.’s weird mascot culture, I don’t know what does.
4. Benny the Bull
Benny the Bull is insane. Only an insane creature would have the courage — if you can even call it that — to bully Robin Lopez, given the NBA player’s notorious anti-mascot track record. I wish I had half the guts Benny has. Bottom line, Benny knows exactly what I want and what I want is to see Robin Lopez lose his sh-t. For a historic franchise that has struggled to capture anyone’s attention in recent seasons, Benny sure knows how to keep Chicago in the headlines.
5. SuperMascot Rocky
I honestly have no idea why Rocky is a “SuperMascot,” but the Denver Nuggets’ lion is one of the best in the biz. While Benny the Bull may have hand-picked Lopez as his nemesis, Rocky will literally fight anyone and everyone — children included. I’m not saying I endorse mascots being outrageously violent but I swear, nothing cracks me up more than mascots shoving kids over. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Honorable Mention: The NYU Bobcat
If you’ve made it this far in this column, I thank you and provide you a little treat in the form of an NYU legend. Our adorable Bobcat can be seen dabbing on people at NYU sporting events, Strawberry Fest and even the New York City Halloween Parade. I also hear that if you get a cool photo with the Bobcat, you will be blessed with good luck for eternity.
The Sports Girl is a weekly sports column that will feature a girl’s take on sports. Yes, a girl. Yes, sports.
A version of this article appears in the Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, print edition. Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected]