Phillie Phanatic Tossing a Woman Into a Pool and 9 Other Major Mascot Blunders
They’re there to entertain the crowd, especially young fans, but occasionally a team mascot will get caught up in the moment and wind up the opposite of a crowd pleaser. And it’s not just fans who have gotten fed up with the mischief — some players have fought back against mascots who got on their nerves during ballgames. Here’s a look at 10 famous incidents that had people calling for mascots’ jobs, and necks:
This fan favorite may have made an enemy. The mascot allegedly threw a woman and her poolside chair into a hotel pool resulting in a lawsuit filed on Monday. The incident reportedly took place in July 2010. “During his comic routine, the Phillie Phanatic approached plaintiff, picked up her chair and threw plaintiff and her chair into the pool,” the lawsuit states. The woman says she now suffers from permanent injuries, and the Phillies are at fault, she argues. This isn’t the Phanatic’s first bout with the law — it was previously sued for hugging a fan too hard.
In January, the lady inside of the ThunderBug costume got canned after she went viral. During a game against the Bruins, the mascot shot Silly String at the wrong fan, caused a stir. It turns out that she had also been released by the Tampa Bay Rays after the 2008 season, when she worked games as the mascot for that organization. An online petition to get her the Lightning gig back failed, and the team refused to reveal why they let her go.
Moondog was on the receiving end of a real eye injury during a pre-game play fight in April with Indiana Pacers forward David West. “He jumped at me so I thought we were playing around and then the next thing I know he went down,” West said. “It was definitely an accident.” Moondog is known to pick on the best players on opposing teams before games, as a way to get in on the competitive spirit. This time, it went a bit too far and landed him in the hospital.
Oski the bear was suspended for two weeks in 1990 after he threw a cake into the crowd at a basketball game. Pieces of the cake hit the family of opponent Oregon State University’s starting point guard, Gary Payton. ”I think most of the fans didn’t think he was really going to throw it,” said one fan in attendance. Years later, the bear was in the headlines again when it fought with the Stanford Tree during a game.
The Cincinnati Bearcats’ mascot was detained by police in 2010 after tossing snowballs at fans following a Pitt touchdown. He was reportedly told to stop pelting people with the white packs, but he refused to stop. He also pushed a security guard, according to reports. That incident came on the heels of another mascot-fueled fiasco when Ohio State’s furry friend tackled Ohio’s during a game.
TITAN LOST CONTROL
Ex-quarterback Adrian McPherson sued the Tennessee Titans in 2006 after the team’s mascot accidentally ran a golf cart over him during an exhibition game. T-Rac didn’t see McPherson while he threw souvenirs to fans, and McPherson was forced to miss the rest of the game. Ultimately, the Saints cut him. There are rules in place keeping mascots from players.
Hall of fame brawl
NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, on hand to watch his son, Danny, play for the visiting Magic, took exception when Burnie shot water at him and his section. Schayes wound up socking Burnie with a right hook. The 69-year-old ex-pro was promptly ejected from his seat, but security allowed him to stay to watch the remainder of the game from the top of the stairs. Schayes isn’t the only one to hit an annoying mascot — hockey star Theo Fleury reportedly broke the rib of the Sharks’ mascot in an arena hallway in 2002.
Edmonton Oilers’ Coach Craig MacTavish ripped out the tongue of Calgary Flames’ mascot Harvey during a 2003 game after he began to taunt the coach. Eventually, security ushered the mascot away from the Oilers’ bench. “[Harvey] was in a place he shouldn’t have been,” Flames spokesman Peter Hanlon said. Guess all those years playing in the league and having to endure ridicule from opposing players left MacTavish with an axe to grind.
All Fired Up
University of Miami mascot Sebastian the Ibis was detained by Tallahassee police in 1989 after he came out of the tunnel holding a fire extinguisher. His plan was toblast the flaming spear of rival Florida State’s Chief Osceola. But he never made it that far. As soon as he made it onto the field, Sebastian was throw against a wall as police emptied his extinguisher. It’s one of the most infamous moments in mascot history.
Moose on the loose
When a man stopped for a quick photo with Mariner Moose during a 2010 game, he says he got more than he bargained for. He argues that the mascot shoved him, causing serious injury. “The moose has no recollection of him bumping anyone let alone shoving anyone,”a team representative said. “Part of the problem is with [the Moose] is it’s a big head and he can’t see very well in it. There are times he will move his head and whack [people] with his antlers.” Maybe that’s the best explanation for why the Moose famously crashed into an outfield wall, breaking his ankle, during a 1995 postseason game.