When you think of American culture, the top things that spring to mind are Hollywood movie stars, classic cars, fast food diners, and the stars and stripes, but few things are as popular as sports. Whether it’s baseball, basketball or American football, everyone has a team they support, and it seems that nearly every team in the big leagues has their very own mascot, too! They come in all shapes, sizes and colours, and feature creatures great and small – with some monsters thrown in for good measure. The life of a sports mascot goes much further than simply waving and cheering on their team. They sing, they dance, play jokes and even raise money for charity, earning a place in the hearts of Americans across the nation. Here, we take a look at some of America’s favourite sports mascots.
Benny the Bull
Benny is one busy bull, making over 250 public appearances every year, and boasting the most photo opportunity requests of any other mascot. He has represented the Chicago Bulls basketball team since 1969, and is truly a bull of many talents. Not only does he perform flips, dance routines and impressive slam-dunks, he also appears at schools to promote literacy and the importance of a good education!
First seen back in 1962, Mr. Met is the long-time mascot of the New York Mets baseball team. Mr. Met has proved enduringly popular with sports fans, and was even inducted into the Mascots Hall of Fame in 2007. Known for his giant baseball head, one of his most crowd-pleasing antics during games is firing his t-shirt bazooka into the crowd.
The mascot of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys American football team is none other than Stetson-wearing cowboy, Rowdy, who has represented the team since 1996. As well as appearing alongside the famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to show support for his team, Rowdy also raises money and awareness for a number of charities and causes, including cancer, The Salvation Army, schools and retirement homes.
The Oriole Bird
Another famous face from the world of baseball is the Baltimore Orioles’ mascot, known simply as The Oriole Bird. In 1979, he hatched out of a giant egg at the team’s Memorial Stadium, and has represented them ever since. As well as keeping the crowds entertained, he is also the Baltimore Orioles’ goodwill ambassador, making plenty of guest appearances in the area.
Representing American football team the New England Patriots, Pat Patriot is the larger than life mascot, styled as a soldier of the American Revolution. He wears the current team kit, topped off with a giant tricorne hat. Popular at games and events, he supports the team and their cheerleaders, waving, signing autographs and posing for photos.
Since 1978, Phillie Phanatic has been entertaining the crowds and cheering on the team at the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball games. Covered in green fur, with a long retractable tongue, according to his bio, he hails from the Galápagos Islands, but what he actually is, is anyone’s guess! This doesn’t seem to bother his fans, however, who he’s been amusing with hijinks and tomfoolery for almost 40 years – he’s nearly as old as we are!
Wally the Green Monster
Relatively new to the mascot scene is baseball team Boston Red Sox’s mascot, Wally the Green Monster. But what he lacks in terms of length of service, he makes up for in spades on the entertainment front. He is particularly popular with kids, becoming an instant favourite, and often appears alongside Lefty and Righty, the Red Sox’s other token mascots.
Another American football character of the NFL, here we have the San Francisco 49ers’ mascot Sourdough Sam. His first association with the team was actually as a logo, in use between 1946 and 1962, before he became a fully-fledged mascot. Sourdough Sam is styled to resemble a gold miner from the 1849 California gold rush, which is also the inspiration for the team’s name.
Homer the Brave
The mascot of baseball team the Atlanta Braves, has been charming audiences, young and old, for years now, and has built himself quite the reputation. Aside from cheering on his team, warming up the crowds, and delighting the kids with his antics, Homer the Brave can also be seen jamming with a rock band before the start of games.
San Diego Chicken
Last but not least, is everyone’s favourite fowl, the San Diego Chicken. He first made an appearance at the San Diego Padres baseball games back in 1974, but has since separated from the team to go freelance. He has featured in adverts, movies, and TV shows, and has even recorded a song, covering Rod Stewart’s ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ – a bird of many talents!