Billy-Ball Daily: 2006-6-22

6/22/2006
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Anybody know how much penalty time is left?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Top of the 1st
INTRODUCING “BILLY-BALDY”
It’s round, it’s pink, it doesn’t have a hair on its head – it’s “Billy-Baldy”, the new official mascot of Billy-Ball!

Not gonna happen.

I don’t care how disgustingly cute this may sound to you – it’s simply not gonna happen. I hate mascots. Okay, maybe “hate” is too strong a word. “Hate” should be reserved for Ann Coulter and mimes, the former who talks too much and the latter who talk too little, both of whom should remain trapped in those boxes that only mimes can see.

But I digress. I can’t stand mascots and I can’t stand the celebration or glorification of these fuzzy creatures, whose fuzzy presence block the view and interfere with the game. I don’t mind play areas for kids at the park, and while I’m not a fan of “the wave” or those hideous beach balls that are sent from section to section, I can live with all of those. It’s those oversized, fuzzy mutes that tick me off.

I think, in part because I’m a marketing and promotions guy, and I’m bothered by these walking lint balls because it’s such a mindless form of promotional creativity.

“Gee, what can we do that is creative and get our team some publicity?”

“I’ve got it! Stop thinking! Let’s dress somebody up in a costume, give the costume a cutesy name, have our announcer anthropomorphize it and we’re set!”

“Wow! Now, you’re really thinking. Hey, the “Fear Factor” marathon is starting, let’s watch!”

Then, over time people tire of the mascot, “Get out the way! I missed a triple play because of your lard butt.” And the marketing folks have finished “Fear Factor” and have moved on to “Yes, Dear” and the very best of “The Nanny.”

“What should we do? The fans are getting tired of our mascot. They are taunting it and making sounds like running water which makes the guy inside have to run to the bathroom.”

“Don’t worry, I have the solution…and it’s going to be huge.”

This leads me to the helicopter that landed in the middle of LeLacheur Park, the home of the Lowell Spinners, Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, before the start of their season-opening game on June 20. In the helicopter was Dr. Richard Williams of Belvedere Veterinarian (I mention his name in the hope that any licensing board is interested) who rushed to the dugout.

Now there are two ways this can go from here; my way with Dr. Williams announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I regret to tell you that Allie-Gator was eaten by Canaligator, and we had to put Canaligator down before it threatened humans. Play ball!”

Or the way it unfortunately it went with Dr. Williams announcing the birth of a new mascot, Millie-Gator, baby of the Spinners newlywed adult mascots, Allie-Gator and Canaligator the Spinner mascots. Lowell Spinners General Manager Tim Bawmann said, “We celebrated their love once in May when they got married, and now we’re celebrating again with the birth of a new baby.”

Please use the official Spinners throw-up bags that you received upon entering.

Ann Coulter, please note that “the wedding” on May 6 came 45 days before the opening day birth, which is the typical gestation period for alligators. Heaven forbid this new birth was out of wedlock.

As if this “blessed event” wasn’t enough to raise my blood pressure comes this news:

The Mascot Hall of Fame is proud to announce the 2006 Ballot for Induction. Yes my friends, there is a Mascot Hall of Fame and an executive committee who choose nominees to join the Phillie Phanatic, the Phoenix Suns Gorilla, and Famous Chicken who were inducted in 2005. The 2006 Ballot candidates are:

Professional Candidates:
1. KC Wolf (Kansas City Chiefs)
2. Jazz Bear (Utah Jazz)
3. Clutch the Bear (Houston Rockets)
4. Mariner Moose (Seattle Mariners)
5. Slider (Cleveland Indians)
6. Wool E. Bull (Durham Bulls)

Collegiate Candidates:
1. Aubie (University of Auburn)
2. Sparty (Michigan State University)
3. YoUDee (University of Delaware)
4. Monte (University of Montana)
5. Bucky (University of Wisconsin)
6. Big Red (University of Western Kentucky)

“The Mascot Hall of Fame has been created to honor great mascot performers, performances, and character branding programs that have inspired tradition and positively affected their communities,” said David Raymond, president of the Mascot Hall of Fame executive committee and the original Phillie Phanatic (who clearly can’t get work after listing that first on his resume).

This committee includes such sports luminaries as Mike Veeck of the Goldklang Group; Dennis Lehman of the Cleveland Indians; Suzy Kolber, ESPN host and anchor; Jon Spoelstra, Author of Marketing Outrageously, along with other prominent figures in the world of sports who are smart enough to not allow their names to be used.

You can go online at www.mascothalloffame.com to cast your vote for your favorite professional and collegiate mascot. Voting is open thru July 15th and the induction will be on Tuesday August 15th, 2006 in a celebratory event at Love Park in Philadelphia 2006 and if it’s raining, at David Raymond’s house (please bring paper cups and napkins).

Gee, maybe someday Billy-Baldy will be nominated.

Not gonna happen.

Top of the 2nd
OZZIE CELEBRATORY & DEROGATORY
Ordinarily when the St. Louis Cardinals score 6 and 5 runs in successive games, they can chalk up two wins. However, they are playing the Chicago White Sox who are scoring runs as easily as football teams score touchdowns and field goals.

“We don’t feel like we’re doing too much different than when we were scoring three or four runs a game,” Paul Konerko said after last night’s 13-5 win that followed a 20-6 victory the night before. Konerko had one of four Chicago homers and four RBI last night and Jim Thome, Joe Crede and Juan Uribe also homered as the White Sox pounded Jason Marquis for 13 runs and 14 hits in five innings, ballooning his ERA from 4.55 to 5.53 in one game.

The White Sox scored 11 runs with 12 hits in the 3rd inning during Tuesday night’s victory that featured 24 hits. Last night, they scored four in the 1st and five in the 2nd and finished with 16 hits, four by Thome.

Manager Ozzie Guillen had to be celebrating his White Sox scoring at least eight runs in six games in a row, a franchise record. But he was also apologizing.

On Tuesday to reporters, Guillen referred to Chicago Sun-Times columnist and Around the Horn contributor Jay Mariotti as a derogatory name for a homosexual. Angry with a recent column by Mariotti critical of Guillen’s handling of recently demoted relief pitcher Sean Tracey and upset with Mariotti with columns of the past, Guillen said to reporters when referring to Mariotti before Tuesday’s game with the Cardinals, “What a piece of [expletive] he is, [expletive] fag.”

Columnist Greg Couch of the Sun-Times wrote a column Wednesday in response, calling for commissioner Bud Selig to suspend Guillen for his use of a “hurtful homophobic” term. Before writing the column, Couch asked Guillen for an explanation. Guillen defended his use of the term “fag” by saying this about homosexuals and the use of the word in question: “I don’t have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country.” Guillen said that in his native Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person’s sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is “not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing].”

Guillen also told Couch that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago. I’m surprised he didn’t mention that he watched “Will and Grace” and he loves Joan Jett’s new CD.

“This is completely inappropriate,” Rick Garcia, of the gay-rights group Equality Illinois, said of Guillen’s comment.”For him to say something like that in front of a group of reporters is stupid.”

Sensitivity training was one solution mentioned by Gary Barlow, a reporter for the Chicago Free Press, one of the largest gay newspapers in the Midwest. Barlow has been writing about homophobia in sports, and he has grown tired of gay bashing. “The more athletes, companies and people in general are educated about the gay community, then we won’t have these problems in our society,” Barlow said.

Time for Buddy-Boy to show his cojones.

Top of the 3rd
STREAKS
Jon Lester pitched great, David Ortiz slammed grand and the Red Sox stretched their winning streak to six games with a 9-3 victory over the Washington Nationals. Boston completed a three-game sweep after sweeping a three-game series in Atlanta. The Red Sox outscored the Nationals 26-9 and out-hit them 46-22 in the series. The BoSox have not committed an error in 10 straight games while making some spectacular plays. The Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise is 0-9 at Fenway.Washington lost for the eighth time in 10 games with the only wins coming in its last at-bat last Saturday and Sunday against the New York Yankees.

The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Atlanta Braves, 6-3. The loss was the Braves’ ninth straight, their longest losing streak since opening the 1988 season with 10 straight losses.
The Braves have lost 19 of 22 games, including a 2-17 mark in June. They trail first-place New York by 14