30 Teams, 30 Posts (2016): The Tale of Dandy, the Short-Lived Yankees Mascot

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, I speak of Dandy, the short-lived Yankees mascot.

Every team in MLB has a mascot, with three exceptions: the Angels (although they do have the Rally Monkey), the Dodgers… and the Yankees.

But, believe it or not, the Yankees did indeed have a mascot at one point! His name was Dandy, and he looked like this:

dandyCreated by Bonnie Erickson (who also designed Miss Piggy) and her husband and creative partner Wayde Harrison (together, they created the Phillie Phanatic, Youppi!, and other famed mascots), Dandy came to be in an attempt for the Yankees to replicate Phanatic Phever. With the Erickson/Harrison pedigree, a friendly and huggable shape, and a epic mustache, Dandy seemed destined for success. Even George Steinbrenner seemed interested in him, haggling with Erickson and Harrison to make sure that the color of Dandy’s pinstripes were the right shade.

And Dandy may have gotten away with it too, if not for that meddling Chicken. Two weeks before Dandy was to debut in 1979, Lou Piniella took umbrage at the San Diego Chicken (on loan to the Mariners) putting a hex on Ron Guidry and threw his mitt at him. After this incident, Steinbrenner declared that mascots had no place in baseball.

Still, a deal was a deal, so Dandy went into action- in a greatly reduced capacity. His opening debut, which would have involved a pre-set routine and theme music, was scrapped, never to be seen. The Yankees did everything in their power to make him as unimportant as possible, even saying in their team guide that he was just there to amuse the kiddies and stay as far away from the action as possible. True to their word, he was confined up in the cheap-seats.

To make matters worse, for a time Dandy was banned from the stadium outright because his mustache called to mind Thurman Munson, who died in a tragic plane crash.

So, perhaps it isn’t surprising that the few years that Dandy existed were ones of obscurity. As early as the 1990s, people who worked for the Yankees claimed that there never even was a mascot. At one point, during a rare public appearance, Dandy was attacked by a group of drunk bankers, causing the guy inside of the costume- somebody named Rick Ford- to hold it for ransom.

Amazingly, though, it wasn’t the Yankees who cancelled Dandy. It was Erickson and Harrison, who hated how marginalized their creation was. They took him and went home when his lease was up, despite the fact the Yankees were interested in renewing it. To this day, they still own the rights and design, so if you are an eclectic millionaire looking to have a obscure mascot at your next birthday party… give them a call.

Sources:

“Mascots R Them” by Erin St. John Kelly

“Not so Fine and Dandy: The History of The Yankees Mascot” by Josh Eisenberg

“The Short, Sad History Of The Yankees 1980s Mascot, Dandy” by Jen Carlson

“Yankees’ Long-Forgotten Mascot” by Scott Cacciola

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“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): A treasury of Seattle Mariners commercials

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, I waste time on YouTube watching old Mariners ads.

It is one of those generally known facts that the Mariners have some of the best commercials in baseball. I’m not sure where and when this piece of wisdom first came into being, but it exists. So, let’s go back and look at some past Mariners ads, shall we?

2003: Bret Boone Bat Flip

It is unusual to think in this world where some people spent most of the last few seasons complaining about bat-flips that as early as 2003 there was an ad based upon the fact that Bret Boone had a bat flip.

2003: Ichiro Shift

What’s scary is that this isn’t so much a commercial so much as it is a documentary. I wonder how they got all the Athletics stuff, though. I mean, they even have the mascot there. That’s not exactly something you buy from a prop store. Maybe the conversation went like this:

“Hey, we need like 25 uniforms and the elephant suit.”

“Why?”

“We’re making a commercial that implies that even if every member of your roster was on the field, we’d still be able to get a hit off of you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that is absurd.”

“It’s Ichiro.”

“Okay, that makes sense. We’ll get them to you next Tuesday.”

2004: Ichiro Autograph

The fact we never got a sitcom about Ichiro living in a small anytown Seattle suburb is greatly disappointing. Also, the idea that Ichiro could throw a ball to Spokane from Seattle (a distance of about 230 miles) is only slightly less realistic than his previous commercial.

2005: Ichiro and Raul Ibanez sell the Batter’s Box in a Telethon

“Dude.”

“Dude.”

2006: Jamie Moyer Tribute

What’s great about this one is that Jamie Moyer played parts of five more seasons after 2006.

2006: The Missing Ks

I like the devotion to the gag here, but it’s a bit “meh” compared to some of the other ads.

2006: Epidemic

I feel like “Ichiro’ing” with lawn equipment would be dangerous. But, hey, who am I to argue?

2006: Big Richie

Wait, is that Nick Punto as a catcher at the end?  He never played catcher!

2008: Fullness and Sheen

Somewhere, Mr. Burns trembles.

2008: L-Screen

Worth it if only for the question of what happened to the original L-screen.

2010: Two First Names

A) I totally forgot somehow that Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez were on the same team. B) How did this conversation about two first names get started? I want to know.

2012: Impressions

Worth it if only for Ichiro quoting Indiana Jones.

2012: Nobody’s Perfect

I wonder if they had a giveaway of the ventriloquist doll?

2013: Wise ‘Ol Buffalo

Okay, that’s just weird.

2014: Chadwick

I applaud the Mariners for doing the history lesson.

2014: Crowned

It’s the Elvis that does it for me.

2015: Bat Control

This would be a better commercial if Robinson Cano didn’t have a (for him) down year in 2015.

2015: Where does it go?

I just saw an invisible arrow deflate the bouncy-castle of an Athletics’ fan. Man, why is it always the Athletics?

 

I can’t find any 2016 Mariners ads yet, but I’m sure they will continue to be… uhhm… unique. b

Breaking OOTP, Episode 4: The Seattle MARIOners vs. Pablo Sanchez and the Backyard Kids

BreakingOOTPlogo

In BREAKING OOTP, I push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s limits in various scenarios. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.

Last time, we made the Seattle Mariners be full of Mario and Donkey Kong characters. This week, though, we have a exhibition series between the MARIOners (minus any Mariners) and… the Backyard Baseball kids (shown here to be on the Dodgers, because reasons)! Yes, Mario vs. Pablo Sanchez. At stake: The title of GREATEST VIDEO GAME BASEBALL TEAM OF ALL TIME.

Or something like that. Go below the jump, and be sure to check the previous post to see how I created the Mario characters- I used an almost-identical process for the Backyard Kids:

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Breaking OOTP, Episode 3: The Seattle MARIOners

BreakingOOTPlogo

In BREAKING OOTP, I push Out Of The Park Baseball to its limits in various scenarios. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to its very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.

The Seattle Mariners are owned by Nintendo. This is well known. The Seattle Mariners are also coming off a very disappointing season. This is also well known.

But what if the Mariners had had Nintendo’s own playing for them?

MarinersMarioWONDER NO MORE!

(AND GO BELOW THE JUMP TO SEE THE ARTICLE, AND CLICK PICTURES TO MAKE THEM BIGGER)

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30 Teams, 30 Posts (2015): The Seattle Mariners could save the baseball fan experience

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. This is the fourth post of the series- look here for the rest. Today, I look at how the Mariners may be the team to introduce a new generation of the American baseball fan experience.

Not too long ago, I lamented the state of baseball fans over at Hall of Very Good (which is somewhat recycled in this post). To make a long story short: American baseball fans are horrible when it comes to cheering at ballgames. With a few exceptions, the only cheers that happen are those prompted by the scoreboard or during or after plays. It’s a far cry from the days when Boston fans taunted Honus Wagner with rewritten songs, Brooklyn fans had a small amateur band of musicians and Wild Bill Hagy led the “Roar from 34” in Baltimore, and it is far more sedate than the madhouse atmospheres in Japan or the Caribbean.

However, there is a place where I believe American baseball fandom could make a return to the raucous years of old: Seattle.

Why Seattle?

A few reasons:

1) It’s known to be very loud and supportive of it’s other sports teams.

Seattle is famous for how much it supports it’s teams. The “12th Man” of the Seahawks is famous for how loud it can get, at times even registering on the Richter scale. Their soccer team, the Sounders, were featured on Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel due to how they have been able to replicate the European soccer crowd environment. The loss of the Sonics is a open wound that more was the result of corporate greed than any lack of support. Therefore, the residents of the Pacific Northwest know how to get loud and organized in support of their teams and can be ridiculously devoted to them.

2) It has deep Japanese connections

The Mariners are one of the most popular MLB teams in Japan, a result of the many Japanese imports who have come to Seattle, as well as Seattle’s large Asian-American population. Nintendo, a Japanese company, owns the Mariners. Is it really that hard to imagine that perhaps the Mariners would have the inspiration and the means to form some Japan-style cheering sections, perhaps throw in some ouendan?

3) The King’s Court provides a template/Jumping Point

A king reigns in Seattle. He is King Felix of the House Fernandez, First of His Name. And when he’s on the mound, the Mariners have a section devoted entirely to them, and it looks like this:

Look at that and tell me that wouldn’t make an excellent jumping-off point for forming Japan or Europe-style fan sections with chants and waving flags and all of that! You can’t, because it’d make a perfect jumping-off point for forming a Japanese or European-style fan section!

4) The Mariners are going to return to the postseason sooner rather than later.

It feels like, during the postseason, the fans who had to survive long droughts are wilder. In 2012, Baltimore was raucous while the Bronx was a morgue. Pittsburgh waited years to return to the playoffs and turned PNC Park into a madhouse. Atlanta was in the postseason for so many years that they ended up having trouble selling tickets to NLDS games.

The Mariners haven’t made the postseason since 2001. Guess what type of crowd they’ll bring when they make the playoffs next? The answer: a lot closer to the Baltimore or Pittsburgh experience. It’ll be loud. Very loud. And it is then, perhaps, that it will happen: Seattle will bring a new evolution of the baseball fan experience. And then, the Baseball Gods willing, nothing will be the same again.

 

 

2014 SEASON PREVIEW (PART 4): Best Case/Worst Case for… the AL WEST (with Getty Images)

Today, we look at the AL West, and what could go right… and what could go wrong. Complete with Getty Images that may or may not have anything to do with the actual team.

Here we go:

Oakland Athletics

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Best-Case Scenario: Billy Beane‘s @#$% finally works in October, the Athletics win the World Series, and their long-term stadium situation is finally solved.

Worst-Case Scenario: Billy Beane’s @#$% doesn’t work very well during the Regular season this year, the Athletics finish third, and finish the season as a barnstorming team when their stadium in Oakland disappears in a sinkhole of bad plumbing and a dark spell cast by Al Davis in the late 1990s.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: See above, but remove the barnstorming, the sinkhole and Al Davis’ dark spell.

Texas Rangers

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Best-Case Scenario: It finally happens, and the Rangers win the World Series with the help of a resurgent Prince Fielder, the ever-underrated Shin-Soo Choo, a breakout year from Jurickson Profar and a Cy Young year from Yu Darvish.

Worst-Case Scenario: Ian Kinsler is a wizard, and his wish for the Rangers to go 0-162 comes true.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: It all falls apart: Fielder continues to decline, Choo has an off-year, Adrian Beltre shows his age, Darvish gets hurt, Profar muddles and the Rangers have their worst year in years. Ron Washington is fired despite his recent extension.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California, West Coast, United States of America, North America, Western Hemisphere, Planet Earth, Sol System, Milky Way

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Best-Case Scenario: Mike Trout wins Triple Crown, MVP, All-Star Game MVP, the Home Run Derby title, Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsman of the Year, the AP Male Athlete of the Year, an EGOT, the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom as he single-handedly straps the team on his back and brings them to the World Series. Or something like that. In reality, the Angels probably need Trout to keep on Trouting while having both Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton show their old selves and the pitching staff stepping up.

Worst-Case Scenario: Mike Trout gets hurt. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: To be honest, Trout getting hurt is arguably the worst-case scenario, as I find it highly unlikely that both the rest of the lineup can take up the slack AND the pitching takes a step forward.

Seattle Mariners

Best-Case Scenario: Felix Hernandez is still awesome, Hisashi Iwakuma gets better (health-wise), Taijuan Walker gets better physically and on the field, and Robinson Cano… just keeps doing what’s he’s doing.

Worst-Case Scenario: Robinson Cano gets hurt in a money-counting incident, misses rest of the season.

Worst-Case Scenario that could actually happen: Felix actually starts to show that he may be human, Iwakuma and Walker struggle with health problems all year, and Cano has problems playing in Safeco Field all year around.

Houston Astros

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Best-Case Scenario: Ha. Hahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Are you kidding me? Even their best-case scenario sees them, at the absolute very best, in fourth place. In some ways, their best case scenario may actually be for them to have one of the worst records in league, as it’ll let them get better draft picks.

Worst-Case Scenario: 1898 Cleveland Spiders.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: 1962 New York Mets.

Bizarre Baseball Culture: Mariners Mojo, in which a baseball team fights a Sasquatch Invasion

Robinson Cano is now a Mariner. I did NOT see that coming. And they paid a ridiculous 240 million dollars for him, which is absurd, especially given the long length of the deal and the fact Cano is already in his thirties.

However, that, along with the fact that the Mariners are apparently not going in hard to get David Price (amongst others), means there is perhaps no better time than now to be remembering how back in 2002 the Mariners saved humanity from a grand Sasquatch Invasion, which is easily one of the ten worst types of invasions to deal with. And they did it in TWO issues! Yeah, some teams would stop with just one issue, but the Mariners released TWO in 2002. That is true devotion to giving the fans what they…. want? And, what’s more, They were available outside of the stadium too, available at local McDonald’s! That way, you wouldn’t even have had to go to the park to get your hands on these comics!

Oh, and yes, it was done by Ultimate Sports Entertainment/Ultimate Sports Force, why do you ask?

Both comics were written by David B. Schwartz, who’s Twitter account calls him a “entertainment lawyer by day, comic book writer by night.” He’s recently been doing things for independent comic companies like Aspen, where he most recently wrote a title called Idolized, if my research is correct. Since he’s a lawyer, I’m going to be extra-careful not to say anything that might cause him to sue me. Thankfully, he does a pretty good job with these comics, given the circumstances that surround comics like this.

Doing the art for the first issue- and the covers of both issues- was Brian Kong. Kong has done a ton of stuff over the years, from comics to cards to recently illustrating a children’s book about how baseball teams got their names. In part two, the art was done by Dennis Calero, a prolific artist who co-created Cowboys and Aliens, which was later very-loosely adapted into a movie, as well as work with DC and Marvel. Like with Schwartz, they do okay given the circumstances.

Anyway….

Go below the jump and let’s get started on the stories themselves:

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