As a long-suffering Cubs fan (I blame my dad for introducing me to the team, while I’m sure he blames my grandpa for doing the same thing to him), I was thrilled when the team announced that it had signed Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka. Just kidding — they wouldn’t dare to do anything that would give fans even a glimmer of hope going in to the 2014 season. Instead, the team introduced its new mascot, Clark.
The reception has been . . . interesting. The team’s press release, of course, expresses unbridled excitement about the addition: “Clark is a young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans. He’ll be a welcoming presence for families at Wrigley Field and an excellent ambassador for the team in the community.” The internet, of course, treated Clark like its new favorite whipping boy. “Why isn’t he wearing any pants?,” some typed out from their parent’s basement. His “eyes have the coveted combo of fear & sadness every sports mascot should have,” spouted others as they took a break from searching for mail-order brides. And I’m not even going to link to the very-NSFW Clark photoshop contest put on by Deadspin.
I usually enjoy drinking from the internet’s fire hose of cynicism and jaded negativity, but not this time. For people in their 20s and 30s the combination of beer, sunshine, and the Cubs can be enough to make the bleacher seats at Wrigley Field one of the best places on earth. But for fans younger than that (and their parents), maybe a giant bear in a backwards hat is the thing that brings them to the park. So, although he reminds me a little too much of Poochie, I’ll recognize that I’m not his target audience and save my criticism for something else (like the Packers’ consistently terrible defense).