Erin Blank, the owner of Keystone Mascots and a former Detroit Tigers and Washington Capitals mascot, added, “We wouldn’t be doing what we do today if it wasn’t for him.”
Giannoulas’s business model was always to go where a laugh was appreciated. For years, he pursued them relentlessly, spending up to 260 days on the road.
These days, thanks to the unpredictability of travel and a desire to enjoy life in San Diego, Giannoulas stays still — or what, for him, passes for still. He hit 11 ballparks in July and August.
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He looks uncertainly to the future, unsure about appointing a successor or retiring the character that has been his alone for decades. But he does know one thing.
“It’s not the end,” he said before the tour, “but I can see it from here.”
“There were some instances where you saw Youppi! on the pocket schedule or the media guide as opposed to some of the players.”
With that in mind, the Canadiens bought the rights to Youppi! from MLB, creating a permanent link between the NHL’s most storied franchise and its bygone MLB neighbor. After 96 seasons without a mascot, the Habs handed Youppi! a hockey sweater and introduced him as an official team representative at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2005.
A month later, Youppi! performed on skates for the first time as part of a pregame ceremony, and former Expos stars Gary Carter and Andre Dawson raised a banner honoring the departed baseball team at Bell Centre. The banner identifies the four players whose jerseys were retired by the club—Carter, Dawson, Tim Raines and Rusty Staub. Fans who attended the game received a glossy program tracing the history of the Expos.
My suggestion is that the Nats race the Presidents before the game, then instruct the journalists to report that FDR sprinted to a convincing victory. Hey, it worked like a charm in the old days…
The WHHA [White House Historical Association] is currently celebrating each president in chronological succession with their annual White House ornaments. Last year, that meant Calvin Coolidge, who also appeared as the Racing President for the 2015 season. This year, that meant Herbert Hoover, or “Herbie.”
Aside from the actual mascot’s general creepiness, Hoover seemed at odds with the Rushmore Four and his other predecessors. Nevertheless, as unpopular and poor a President as he may have been, his selection follows in line with the WHHA’s process. All of which leads us to 2017.
Those well-versed in Presidential history already know where this is going. After Hoover drove the country into the Great Depression, America elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt the 32nd President of the United States. FDR was actually elected four straight terms (back before term limits) and was incredibly popular, known for his New Deal, and for his fireside chats, delivered to the nation via radio.
He was also in a wheelchair for most of his adult life. ...
There would be “absolutely nothing wrong with featuring a Racing President in a wheelchair,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director of the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, the leading provider and promoter of adaptive sports and accessible recreation for children and adults with physical disabilities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
“If anything it can bring awareness to the fact that people with disabilities can be athletic in the same ways that able body individuals are,” he added.
Smith’s point might alleviate concerns over perceived insensitivity. A disabled Racing President winning races and competing on an even playing field with his peers could help facilitate a larger discussion and help normalize the stigma of disability in America. The CDC estimates that one in five Americans — 53 million — have a disability of some kind, while 2.2 million people in the U.S. depend on a wheelchair for basic mobility.
We live in a politically correct world these days, with people sensitive about anything and everything. We can never be in other people’s shoes to understand why something might upset them, but there’s little doubt, it seems easy for everyone to find something that gets their goat.
Perhaps that was a disclaimer that what I’m about to write might upset some, but it doesn’t worry me enough not to write it. Twenty-five years ago when the Atlanta Braves became the team everyone loved, it was easy for Native Americans to complain about things with the nickname that upset them.
That’s a shame. But it’s time to make the Braves special again as they move into Sun Trust Park next season. It’s time to bring back some of the things we grew up with that made the team special.
It’s time to bring back the teepee. And while we’re at it, let’s bring back Chief Noc-A-Homa and Princess Win-A-Lotta.