Minor-League Baseball’s Weirdest Mascot Races, Featuring Mayors, Eyeballs, and Wasabi

The stadium scene.
July 2 2012 6:45 AM

Eyeballs, Bagels, and a Gigantic Hunk of Wasabi

Inside the hilarious, treacherous, smelly world of minor league mascot races.

(Continued from Page 1)

Eyeballs: Lakewood BlueClaws director of promotions Hal Hansen often participates in the eyeball race that takes place during the sixth inning of every home game at FirstEnergy Park. The good news: The Single-A Phillies affiliate based out of Lakewood, N.J.,  recently acquired new costumes that feature a small battery-powered blower that keeps the eyes inflated. “It is incredibly better technology than the eyeballs we originally purchased in 2001,” says Hansen. The bad news: The new costume set includes a brown eye. “Occasionally we’ll hear [vulgar heckling] from an older fan,” he says. “Usually those comments are on Thursdays when we have our $1 beers at our outfield tiki bar.”

The Lakewood BlueClaws' Eyeball Race, Lakewood, N.J.
The Lakewood BlueClaws' Eyeball Race, Lakewood, N.J.

Photo courtesy Lakewood BlueClaws.

Asparaguses: Yes, those are asparaguses racing around the field at Stockton Ports games. And yes, the racing veggies do have names: Blanche, Burney, and Lil’ Hank. This six-year-old race actually makes more sense than you’d think. Each spring, Stockton, Calif.,is home to the Asparagus Festival, so the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics came up with the race as a tribute to the community. And here’s the kicker: Fans run this race. “[It’s] just whoever walks in the front gate and is willing to participate,” says media relations employee Nicole Loscavio. “They do sign a waiver once they volunteer,” she explains.

The Stockton Ports' Asparagus Race, Stockton, Calif.
The Stockton Ports' Asparagus Race, Stockton, Calif.

Photo courtesy Stockton Ports.

Pork products: These are the facts: 1) The Lehigh Valley IronPigsPork Racers are Chris P. Bacon, Diggity, Barbie Q., and Hambone. 2) Hambone is the most sinister, evil-looking hunk of ham you will ever see. He is scary. 3) Nothing is known about Hambone, or, for that matter, Mr. Bacon, or that sandwich-looking thing with blonde hair. Do not attempt to learn anything about these racers—all interview requests will be denied. “The Pork Racers, like most mascots, do not talk,” I was informed by the Allentown Triple-A club’s media relations staff. “[The team does not] want the identities of those who [are] in the costumes revealed. Our Pork Racers have their own identities, and we do not want fans to associate a Pork Racer with a specific person.”

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs' Pork Racers, Allentown, Pa.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs' Pork Racers, Allentown, Pa.

Photograph courtesy Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Advertisement



TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.