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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mascot Monkey Business

On 'Sprockets', vee dance!

On Tuesday the Connecticut Defenders, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the SF Giants, introduced their new mascot, an as-yet-unnamed eagle of some sort. The new mascot is due to be named through yet another "Name The Mascot" contest, and who isn't already tired of those?

Unfortunately, as these things go sometimes, the Defenders' new mascot looks pretty much like Sammy Spirit, the former mascot of the defunct Waterbury Spirit:

The price war starts here

After the Waterbury Spirit closed up shop in 2000, the Sammy Spirit mascot costume was shipped to the New Britain Rock Cats, where it serves as a secondary mascot ("Thunder", or some such crap) to their main mascot, Rocky. (Apparently this isn't anything unusual, as the Defenders own the mascot costume of Rally the Raven, which the Navigators picked up after the New Haven Ravens moved to New Hampshire, though they've hardly ever used it.) It just so happens that the owner of the New Britain Rock Cats, Bill Dowling, wasn't too happy when the Norwich Navigators changed their name to the Connecticut Defenders about a month ago and began calling themselves "Connecticut's hometown team", especially considering that the Rock Cats' attendance in 2005 was about double what the Navigators drew last year.

From a story that ran recently in the Norwich Bulletin:

Rock Cats owner and general manager Bill Dowling told the New Britain Herald he thought the Norwich Navigators changing their name to the Connecticut Defenders was "utterly disrespectful to the Rock Cats, the City of Norwich and to the (Eastern) league."

". . . For a lot of different reasons I'm upset over it, and while I don't think it's going to have any meaningful impact on our fan base or their fan base, I think it's important for our fans to know that we're proud to be Connecticut's number one team. We feel we've earned that right and by merely calling yourself 'Connecticut' doesn't give you any additional support."


I wonder what Bill Dowling is going to think when he finds out that the Defenders and the Rock Cats are both gonna have the same dumb-looking mascot running around in each of their stadiums.

5 Comments:

Blogger greg8370 said...

Actually the Navigators/Defenders are now up to three mascots as they've said Gator will still be around. Like your blog.

greg

11/29/05, 12:01 AM

 
Blogger Brushback said...

Why stop at three-- why not have four mascots?

What I mean is, the Navigators had "Tator the Gator", so now I say the Defenders get a costume made of a Latino-looking guy strumming a guitar and wearing a sombrero, and call it "Freddie de Fender".

Just a thought.

11/29/05, 2:03 PM

 
Anonymous J said...

I was the "Sammy Spirit" for the 99 Waterbury Spirit, I feel bad for anyone who steps into that suit as second hand. They usually had two people share the duties of mascot but they were never able to secure a second. I sweat off 20 pounds that summer and I only weighed about 150.....there was a small fan in the head that broke down about a week or two into the season...but did very little anyway....Poor poor soul who is wearing that suit, as a back up or as a primary!!!!

2/27/06, 8:28 PM

 
Blogger Brushback said...

Wow, you were a minor league mascot-- that's gotta have some good stories to it...

I figured there had to be more than one person donning the Sammy costume each year, since everytime Sammy would sign an autograph for some kids, the signature would look a lot different from the one before.

I still think that getting an autograph from a mascot is kinda weird in an ironic self-referential way, actually.

2/27/06, 9:54 PM

 
Anonymous Independent Baseball said...

As the former bullpen catcher for the Spirit in 1997 and 1998 I was glad to see an article on old "Sammy"!! Of course, the players called him "Flip" -- if you need an explanation feel free to reply back!

And, yes, I remember the poor soul(s) who had to act as Sammy for the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The 20-pound weight loss is not much of an exaggeration!

6/20/09, 10:30 PM

 

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