As a part of the remodeling of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs are exploring ways to increase fan interaction at the park. Currently, the idea of introducing a team mascot is under serious consideration. Seeing as certain marketing ideas coming from the hierarchies of Cubs management have not always been well thought-out [see "Go Cubs Go," Jim Belushi and Eddie Vedder], I figured it would be a good idea to try and help before I find myself complaining about the end result.
Hence, I brainstormed on this idea, and am now ready to present five of my better suggestions for the new Cubs mascot:
1) Farmer "Insert Meaningless Name Here"-
Seeing as the new focus of the Cubs is to build a winning team via a strong farm system, why not introduce Farmer "So-and-so" as the new mascot? This would represent that commitment to building from the ground up. Likewise, he can be educational, by incorporating vegetables and animals into his routine and provide valuable nutritional information. Such demonstrations coulde even be sponsored. Perhaps Monsanto would be interested- they'd usually seem quite interested in any form of self-promotion. Said sponsorship would solve the naming problem as well: Farmer Mon Santo. What blue-bleeding Cub fan does not enjoy a publicity stunt with a half-hearted attempt to sneak in a poor homage to Ron?
2) Money Ball-
Sure, it may be obvious, but I do not want to end up with a six-foot oblong space muppet patrolling the Friendly Confines. Instead, picture a giant smiling baseball made out of money, with legs and a Cubs cap. He can hurl wadded-up balls of concession stand gift certificates to the crowd, or... roll... around... While Billy Beane may have commercialized the new era of drafting, scouting and signing players, Theo Epstein has actually won two Championships with a similar model. Steal trendy name, and get your crappy mascot out of it.
3) Stat Nerd-
What? You don't see the potential of Money Ball? Fine. Along the same lines as my previous two suggestions, embracing the new direction of the club would seem to be a valuable theme to keep in mind while selecting the Cubs mascot. So, stereotype the new era characterization of the baseball stat nerd. The new methods of player and team analyzation and building will forever be remembered with the baseball stat nerd. He could have a pocket protector, thick-rimmed black glasses and a slicked back 1950s style hair-do, oh, and a calculator. He can stroll through the crowd announcing up-to-the-second WAR ratings of Anthony Rizzo and Starling Castro. He can even wear a cape, to dramatize the image. With his powers of analytic deduction, the Stat Nerd is sure to lead the Cubs into a new era of glory!
The now annual bunting tournament has only grown in its popularity since its induction last year, and... who am I kidding? No one really gives a crap about a spring training bunting tournament, albeit a welcome distraction signaling that real baseball is near. Anyways, what the hell: put a guy in a Louisville Slugger costume, trot him out on top of the dugouts and call him Bunty. Done deal.
5) And lastly, ummmm... I don't know, how about a cub? It could even be blue- like the team color. The name will be something clever like Ernie or Harry. This may seem far too obvious, but I, for one, do not trust such potentially-embarrassing decisions to Cubs management. In this case, what seems to be the most obvious choice, may very well be the least annoying in the long run.
If a mascot is to be thrust upon us, keep it simple and safe: go with the obvious, and keep it toned-down. The one other option would be for the Cubs to just tap the current unofficial mascot, Ronnie Woo Woo, and make him an official part of "the Wrigley Experience."
We, as Cubs fans, have made it this long without a team mascot, and nothing to dictate one has changed. The Cubs can incorporate other family-friendly attractions to Wrigley Field without going this far. Assuming the Cubs do decide a mascot is necessary, I only hope management finds a way to go with the least annoying, better of the available evils, option.
At worst, this mascot could be a loud and fantastically annoying failure. At best it could be an almost-ignorable irritation.