Mr. Met Cannot Be Our Favorite Mascot
During an Islanders-Flyers game, Islanders play-by-play man Howie Rose (also the radio voice of the New York Mets), unofficially opened the baseball season with a little trash-talking towards the Phillies.
No, this wasn’t the standard our-fences-are-longer-than-your-fences chatter, nor was it some old guy comparison between Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton. This, my friends, was serious. Howie Rose called the vaunted Phillie Phantic “an overrated, washed up hack.”
Now, I’m all for trash talking as you know if you’re my friend on Facebook or Twitter, but this sound bite was curious to me. When I watched the clip (trust me, you won’t get me to watch an actual hockey game until someday my best friend is a Russian man named Igor), Howie called Mr. Met (who was attending the hockey game, I can only assume, to remind people that the Islanders weren’t necessarily New York’s worst franchise) “America’s favorite mascot” as voted in “a national poll.”
I’m a Met fan, and I hate Mr. Met. I couldn’t imagine one single poll in which the big headed doofus (Mr. Met I mean, not Fred Wilpon) would be named anyone’s favorite anything. In fact, I love the Phillie Phanatic. He’s the only mascot in sports history who has made me actually laugh out loud at a game.
Come to think of it, Mr. Met has never laughed out loud in his life. Because he’s a mute. He doesn’t juggle, he doesn’t taunt, he doesn’t kiss babies, he doesn’t make trick shots, he doesn’t slide on the tarp during a lengthy rain delay.
He. Literally. Does. Nothing.
When the Mets moved to Citi Field, I prayed for two things. In an attempt to transition into an “adult” franchise that didn’t have multicolored levels of seating as if The Wiggles designed their stadium, I hoped the Mets would part ways with that stupid Home Run Apple, and that they give Mr. Met the pink slip. Not only does the dude have the biggest head in Flushing since Daryl Strawberry, he literally does nothing. Sort of like Ed Kranepool.
In fact, the best thing I can say about Mr. Met is that he’s a survivor. People love him because he has longevity on his side, like Ed Kranepool. Yes, he sucks, but he sucks for US!
What I didn’t know but recently found out was that Mr. Met was the first mascot in American professional sports. As if replacing two treasonous franchises who bolted for California of all places wouldn’t endear National League fans in New York, the Mets felt they needed to replace a more cartoonish character than the ones who actually played. But they forgot one thing.
Cartoons are funny.
So, long story longer, I looked into this national poll. It turned out to be some branding agency’s publicity tool called “The Dave Brown Index.” The DBI is a consistent measurement of the perception of celebrities and their influenced on brands.
As the story on Forbes.com says: “Measurements used by the DBI for sports mascots: awareness, likeability and breakthrough, the last of which refers to the degree consumers take notice of the mascot when he appears at the stadium and on television, plus the degree to which people are able to match a mascot to his team.”
Okay, several things here:
- Matching Mr. Met with his team is a pretty easy task. Even a Yankee fan is smart enough to do that;
- Likeability: Since Mr. Met, say it together now, literally does nothing, he does nothing unlikeable. He keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t yap about how hot David Wright looks in his uniform pants, like that 15-year-old girl three seats away;
- Awareness: Yes we are aware because he has the biggest head in baseball history, eclipsing those of even Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.
So this Dave Brown Index thing (it’s an index, not a poll, there’s a difference, but I’m splitting hairs. Another thing Mr. Met does not possess – hair) is kind of a joke. It’s really less a popularity contest as it is a measure of “would you buy a car from this person.” In the first year of the DBI, Tom Hanks ranked #1, beating out #2 Oprah Winfrey, from whom people would rather be gifted a car, I guess.
But then I began to think that it makes sense. How did Mr. Met outpace other famous mascots?
- The Phillie Phanatic makes fun of opposing players. So a Cardinal fan might have his panties in a bunch because the green creature once made rabbit ears behind Scott Rolen;
- The Nationals’ President race is something everyone likes, but let’s face it, 80 percent of us can’t even identify these leaders by name without a pocket full of paper money. And of course, nobody has pockets of money anymore;
- The Brewers’ Sausage race guys are cool, but much like the presidents we can’t name more than two types of sausage: breakfast and fat sausages that you grill
- Nobody knows who the Red Sox mascot is
- Derek Jeter does not actually qualify as a mascot. He’s only SS eligible.