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Mascot Matchup: Monkey, Man, Poultry

It's time for a SoCal showdown.

When mascots become zombies.
When mascots become zombies.
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

I'm making this up as I go ...

The Rally Monkey -- The Angels Angels Of Anaheim

Twins fans will remember this annoyance from 2002, the last time Minnesota advanced past the first round. The Monkey, who holds a "Rally Time" sign and jumps around to the song, "Jump Around," became a favorite with Angels fans in 2000 and received national exposure in the 2002 title run. Dolls of it are sold at the stadium, and it's been featured in several pop-culture parody videos. Of course, ESPN had their own version:

The monkey is quite well trained and does not appear nervous (unlike smiling chimps you see in films; a chimpanzee bares its teeth to show apprehension, not amusement). Still, it annoyed me in 2002. Sour grapes, I suppose, or bad dates.

  • Advantages: Reasonably cute, kids seem to like it
  • Disadvantages: Cute, kids like it, has no connection to Anaheim. Does not fling poo
Tommy Lasorda -- L.A. Dodgers

We can't have Vin Scully as a mascot because he's not goofy enough. So that leaves us Lasorda. He's chubby, he falls over amusingly, and he famously hawked a 1980s fad diet:

Slim-Fast was, and still is, a meal-replacement plan. You get one meal a day, then snacks to tide you over. The snacks used to be shakes, now they include fiber bars. WebMD says it can work, reason enough to distrust the thing. You could also substitute fresh fruits/vegetables for the snacks, and save a ton of money. Anyhoo, it's pretty much the reason Lasorda became well-known to people outside L.A.

  • Advantages: Friendly, Dodger icon, doesn't frighten children
  • Disadvantages: Dodger icon, doesn't frighten children, pimps shitty diet fad
San Diego Chicken -- San Diego Padres

The official Padres mascot is the Swingin' Friar, which we will not use. One, because not all priests in historical San Diego were good guys. Second, because a Swingin' Friar sounds like some kind of key party costume. And, finally, we all know what the real Padres mascot is: the Chicken.

In what must be some kind of sports record, the Chicken has been portrayed by the same man, Ted Giannoulas, since its creation in 1974. Originally used mostly for promotional appearances unrelated to the Padres, eventually Giannoulas started wearing the suit to Padres games and performing antics in the stands. He became so popular that when the radio station who hired Giannoulas tried replacing him with another performer in 1979, Padres fans booed the scab.

Giannoulas still appears at Padres games (once holding a dance-off with Barney the dinosaur), minor league games (where he's been stripped nekkid), and children's parties at age 63. He plans on going until he's physically unable. He even clowned around at the Dome in 1982, and apparently is not prejudiced against other species:

  • Advantages: Hardest worker in the mascot biz.
  • Disadvantages: Not actual chicken, only edible in lifeboat/Andes plane crash/Donner Pass

Choose wisely!