Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

If you have a baseball team, it should have a live mascot

This doesn't seem like a particularly difficult case to make. Why have sporting events without a variety of real animals -- preferably roaming the sidelines clad in some sort of jersey and/or hat -- when you can just as easily have sporting events with a variety of real animals?

And yet, here we are, in the year of our lord 2019, with the overwhelming majority of teams in every sport still denying us life's simple pleasures. It's time for that to change. It's time for every team that can have a live mascot to give us a live mascot.

Let's begin with the obvious: Animals make everything better! Some amount of downtime is built into every sport. Got a few seconds between plays? Waiting for the pitcher to retake the mound? Rather than aimlessly mozy around the stadium, every cameraman now has some golden b-roll built in: a few seconds of a bulldog or a buffalo just hanging out, living their best lives. Staring a long offseason in the face? Here's a novelty Twitter account for you to refresh once every hour for the next three months. Got a team anthem? I guarantee you that it would be better if a collie sang it:

I want that. I want baseball to feel even more larger than life than it already does, like something out of Narnia. Athletes and coaches need things like "time off" and "basic privacy" -- but to your furry friend, every season is the regular season, because they're a dog. More to the point, though, live animals embrace something that every sport could use, and something endemic to baseball in particular: sheer anarchy.

But don't take my word for it. Cast your minds back to April of last year, when the Mariners, looking for a dash of patriotism in their pregame festivities, decide to bring a bald eagle to the ballpark. A few minutes later, a meme was born:

Sure, you may have spent more than a century honing your game into its best, most compelling version. You may have dedicated countless hours and hundreds of pages to devising a rulebook, crossing every "T" and dotting every "I". Billions of dollars, not to mention the legacies of those involved, ride on the outcome. But your live mascot doesn't care about any of that. It's an animal, and it wants to poke around a bit.

Possums have already wreaked havoc on the Oakland Coliseum. What if a Miguel Cabrera home-run ball wound up over the center-field fence at Comerica Park, where the batter's eye doubled as a tiger habitat? Imagine what would happen if Stomper were supplemented by a real, live elephant, just sort of chilling out there in foul territory. (Don't worry: I am certainly not anti-plush mascot. Live mascots are great, but they can't pull pranks.) And if you're concerned about what this would mean for each animal's welfare, don't be -- Bevo, the mascot of the Texas Longhorns, lives a swell life on a 250-acre ranch outside Austin, hanging out with his friends until someone asks him to take in some football.

So dare to dream. Just, uh, try to keep an eye on them.