How a bobcat became D-backs' mascot

January 10th, 2022

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks nickname refers to a heavy-bodied snake with a triangle-shaped head, indigenous to Arizona, and the D-backs have used a snakehead as a secondary logo -- the block A is the primary one -- since their inaugural 1998 season.

Their mascot, though, is a bobcat.

Wait, what?

The D-backs did not have a mascot in their first two-plus years of playing. There were issues with trying to come up with a snake mascot, because well, snakes don't have legs and you can't very well have a mascot moving around the ballpark with no legs.

It turns out if former D-backs infielder Jay Bell hadn't forgotten his wife Laura's birthday once, there's little chance the team would have decided on a bobcat as the mascot.

Before he joined the D-backs on the day of the 1997 Expansion Draft, Bell had forgotten Laura's birthday during their third year of marriage.

"I wasn’t making any money at the time and I forgot about her birthday," Bell said. "And on the way to pick her up that night I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I forgot her birthday!’ Now we had been at the mall the night before and stopped by the pet store and she liked the cats. And I had to do something. So I stopped at the mall on the way to pick her up and bought a cat for $20 and that was the start of us having cats around the house."

Because they had cats around the house, Bell's son, Brantley, became a cat lover.

Brantley was almost six in the summer of 2000 when he went to his dad with an idea. Since the ballpark the D-backs played in at the time was called Bank One Ballpark (BOB for short) why didn't they have a mascot that was a BOBcat?

Bell took his son's idea to team president, Rich Dozer, who liked the idea and on June 23, 2000, D. Baxter the Bobcat was born.

Brantley is now 27 and he played for the Reds' Triple-A Louisville affiliate in 2021.

"He remembers it," Bell said of coming up with the name. "We still talk about it from time to time. It’s still kind of a neat thing."