Monday, June 6, 2011


Yesterday The Wife, The Kid & I ventured once again to Chase Field, this time to see the Diamondbacks take on the Washington Nationals.

Not such a great game this time. A series of hit batters & ejections—including Nationals starter Jason Marquis, for hitting D-bax slugger Justin Upton, the fourth time in the series that Upton had been drilled—was about the only excitement the game itself provided until the 8th, when the unusually lackluster D-bax, who had languished scoreless up to that point, finally started a fine rally, tied the game…& promptly squandered a couple of juicy chances to win it. A grand slam in the 11th by Mike Morse of the Nationals left the score 9-4.

It was D-bax mascot D. Baxter the Bobcat’s “birthday” yesterday, however, & The Kid seemed amused by the many other costumed mascots who stopped by to party, including Big Red from the Cardinals, Sparky, the leering incubus of ASU, Louie T. Lumberjack from NAU, Scorch, the Phoenix Mercury’s perplexing purple kangaroo-like creature, Thunder the Antelope from Grand Canyon University, Globie from the Harlem Globetrotters, & the venerable Suns Gorilla, among others...

Especially from the distance of our second-tier seats, seeing these huge anthropomorphic figures circulating among the crowd gave me a weird, Tolkien-esque sense of being in a world where giants & pagan deities walked among humankind.

RIP to James Arness, passed on at 88, immortal as Matt Dillon in the TV version of Gunsmoke, but also fondly remembered by monster-movie buffs as the hero in 1954’s peerless Them! & in the title role of 1951’s The Thing From Another World.


  1. A summer evening, a cool breeze, the sound of a bat hitting a ball, a cheering crowd... and that freakish were-cat sitting on my chest ripping open my torso like an overstuffed garbage bag. It twists my ribs like tinker-toys and screeches in delight as nobody in the bleachers even takes notice.

    Maybe it's just me, but the Diamondback mascot looks like the dream creature from "Sexy Beast."

    For some reason, I can picture it popping out of a Walmart fitting room, facial fur red and twisted, spraying blood as it cries out, "Well, whaddya know? IT FITS!!"

  2. "the leering incubus of ASU"-LOL! That was funny...oh, my spleen. jw

    By the by...If my Mascot lore serves me I believe the Sun's Gorilla was the first costumed mascot ever in Pro-Basketball perhaps in pro-sports...(although the San Diego Chicken may hold that honor...but was the chicken actually officially affiliated with a team?)

  3. I love the "Sexy Beast" dream creature...whatever team he was mascot of would be scary...

    The thing about Baxter is that whoever performs him is impressively athletic & nimble, but whoever it is also does this odd shaking of the head--maybe intended to give animation to the stiff mask--which gives poor Baxter an regrettably palsied look.

    Re: The Suns Gorilla--yes, I've also heard that he was originally a "Gorilla-gram" guy who delivered to somebody at a game, & entertained the crowd so effectively that he was offered the gig. It would explain why he's a gorilla rather than some Arizona desert creature, or "Gritty the Dust Devil" or whatever.