In between our usual hard-hitting analysis of why the Twins will suck for eternity, I thought we could try a little Mascot Matchup game. With each post, you'll get to pick between a few different team mascots, deciding who wins and loses The winners move on to elimination rounds.
The Angels don't have one, so I'm going with that damn Rally Monkey, who will get crushed early. Nor do the Dodgers, but Tommy Lasorda is large and goofy enough to serve. Which brings us to our first showdown.
The New Yawk Yanquis do not have an "official" mascot. Because, you know, they're the Yanquis. You want a mascot, kids? (Grabs crotch, does Bronx accent) Here's your friggin' mascot, right here. It's the Yanquis, folks. The team of Reggie and Gehrig and Mo Rivera. Also the team that repeatedly does s**t like this:
So, in our Great Debate, who's the Yanquis mascot? I have two suggestions.
1. George Steinbrenner
Not the real George, the control freak who famously regulated Yankee hair length and banned beards (despite a condition affecting many men that can make shaving irritate the skin). Or the one who hired a gambler to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield.
No, "The Boss." The Boss is a charming extrovert, whether in Larry David's portrayal on Seinfeld or in self-parodying television appearances:
2. The Babe
When I was growing up, every baseball-loving kid, from every background, wanted to be Babe Ruth. We all had other favorites from current teams, too. But you can't escape the shadow of The Babe. There has never been, and will never be, a baseball celebrity of his stature. He was brash, unapologetic about his known weaknesses, namely booze and sex. Leading a wickedly clever Moe Berg, during a goodwill tour of Japan, to teach one Japanese hostess a little phonetic English. Ruth was perving on her, and Berg wrote down, in Japanese, how she should pronounce the words "fuck you Babe Ruth."
He also could be a bit of an ass to fans. Ruth instructed his clubhouse assistant to throw out any fan mail, except "those with checks or from broads."
Despite his sometimes boorishness, Ruth could be charming enough when called for. He's quite likeable and even a bit spry in this 1932 short -- which, to my knowledge, is a very early use of high-speed ("slow motion") camerawork being used to analyze an athlete:
And, of course, there's the (probably apocryphal) legends. The called shot. The kid in the hospital. The late, great comic Jonathan Winters did a wryly funny version on both stories in this short.
So, folks, what's the Yankee mascot? The Boss, or the Babe? Both epitomize the Yanquis we know and tolerate. Rich, arrogant, and unforgettably part of baseball's wild history.