There are some teams that have great mascots and some teams that have some not so great mascots. And some teams—well, they don’t have any mascot. This offseason, I’m going to be taking a look at some of those teams that don’t have mascots or have mascots that don’t have the kind of staying power of the Phanatic, Orbit (a personal favorite of mine), and Mr. Met.
I took a survey of the PitcherList Discord community and asked people for their favorite mascots, why these mascots are their favorite, and what makes a good mascot. There was lots of enthusiasm for the popular ones (i.e. the Phanatic, Bernie Brewer, and so on). You can find the criteria in the first iteration of this series.
With these criteria in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to design a mascot for the Dodgers, who currently have no official mascot. Even if you don’t think the Dodgers (or the Yankees, who will be a later iteration of this series) need a mascot, we’re going to pick one anyways for the sake of this exercise.
Just like their fellow “Los Angeles” team, the Dodgers have never had an official mascot. The closest they’ve come in recent years is a “unique performance character,” whatever that means. The Dodgers unveiled the “unique performance character” in 2014 and were reluctant to admit that it was a mascot. Besides, it looks ridiculous, so we’re going to create one that Dodgers fans can hopefully be proud of.
The Dodgers actually play in Los Angeles, unlike the Angels, so their mascot should probably represent “the spirit and character” of Los Angeles. What are the Dodgers (and LA) known for? Traffic, cars, surfing, burgers, Hollywood… There is a lot of material to draw from. Plus, the Dodgers have a very rich history after having been a franchise in some form since the 1800’s. The problem with simply making the mascot a “Trolley Dodger,” or something related to the trolleys that inspired the Dodgers, is that San Francisco also has distinctive cable cars that run throughout the city. Unbeknownst to many, the Dodgers also have a pretty big rivalry with the San Francisco Giants. Furthermore, “dodging trolleys” was a lot more difficult and not nearly as cool as one might think. There were more than a few injuries and even deaths thanks to the Brooklyn trolley system.
Instead of modeling the mascot after the extremely dangerous transportation system, the Dodgers’ mascot should draw upon Los Angeles’ myriad amounts of movie stars and celebrities. Let’s model the mascot after a movie star.
Alliteration and Names
So, we have a life-like or human mascot as our base for this new mascot. Let’s give this movie star a name. A lot of people in the survey suggested that the name have some alliteration to it because many other great mascots have utilized alliteration to their advantage (e.g. the Phillie Phanatic and Bernie the Brewer). The final name should be something like “__ the Movie Star.” We could go with “Magic,” which nods to the team’s ownership group while also connecting to the “movie magic” that takes place in Hollywood. Or we could go with “Malley,” which references original Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley, who was responsible for moving the team to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in the first place. Malley isn’t a traditional first name for a person, but Hollywood movie stars and celebrities name their children strange things all the time, so it’s par for the course in Los Angeles. We can’t continue to ignore the rich Dodgers’ history, so let’s stick with “Malley the Movie Star” for the mascot name.
Now, we need a backstory for Malley. I propose that Malley was born in Union Station, which is the hub for much of LA’s transportation. While growing up in Union Station, Malley developed an appreciation for trains and yearned to conduct his own train someday. Since he also lived in Los Angeles, Malley was guaranteed to see a movie star here and there, as well as plenty of movie advertisements. Malley was inspired by their flashy clothes and lifestyle, so he also wanted to be a movie star. One day, he took a trip to one of Hollywood’s most famous trolleys: Angel’s Flight Railway. Inspired by its use in many different movies, Malley decided he wanted to work in an industry that combined his two loves: trains and film.
Malley settled on the Dodgers, who have countless celebrity fans at each and every game, as well as a deep connection with trains. He watched his first baseball game and fell in love with the sport. He knew he had to get in and be a part of the Dodgers. So, Malley found a job taking fans from Union Station to Dodger Stadium on gamedays, and eventually got his foot in the door with the Dodgers working in the mail room, as many Hollywood executives once did. Now, Malley spends his days rooting for the Dodgers while also trying to bring celebrities to Dodger Stadium. He is the official “Dodgers Celebrity Liaison,” in addition to being the official Dodgers’ mascot.
Fun for Kids
We already know that Malley has the potential to be fun for kids, because the “unique performance character” has had some success with youth outreach. The Dodgers use the character on the cover of the Junior Dodgers Kids Club and used it on several of the “at-home activity” worksheets for kids during the pandemic.
Outside of that, Malley should be utilized in giveaways (as the Angels’ Rally Monkey is) and pre/post-game activities. Kids should be able to take a ride in Malley’s open-air limousine after games and walk on Malley’s red carpet at a designated area of Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers could also host a “Make Movies with Malley” event, where young Dodgers fans are invited to star in a mini movie alongside their favorite mascot.
They Bring a lot of Energy
Nearly all of the most popular mascots have some sort of signature move or signature event during the game. The Phanatic has his ATV, Bernie Brewer has his slide, and so on. So, we need a signature event for Malley.
I think during the seventh-inning stretch, Malley should take a limo ride around the stadium. What better way to nod to the Hollywood lifestyle than with a limo ride? To add to the effect, people will be encouraged to take out their phones and use their flashlights to simulate the “paparazzi” effect for the mascot.
Outside of that seventh-inning event, Malley can go against the grain of other mascots and bring the energy by simply being cool. The West Coast (especially in LA) is very laid-back and ‘chill,’ so instead of trying to bring the crowd’s energy up by running and jumping around, Malley can simply be ‘cool’ and get people excited that way. In the real world, people are excited to just see a celebrity, let alone talk to them in person. Malley should follow in that mold.
They’re Goofy and Silly
Even though Malley is ‘cool’ and has the lifestyle of a Hollywood mega-star, he still needs to spend some time connecting with his fans and be the friendly, neighborhood Dodgers mascot he was hired to be. During games, Malley could take trips to the top of Dodger Stadium to take a look at the stars from a telescope in a tribute to the Griffith Observatory. The Dodgers could also decide to put him in funny “movie shorts” to be displayed on the DodgerVision boards.
Additionally, I think it would be pretty funny if Malley weren’t able to walk anywhere unless there was a red carpet for him to walk on. You could have Dodgers Entertainment Staff members roll out and pick-up red carpet as Malley walks around the stadium and at community events.
The Dodgers already have most of Malley’s look made up, as their “unique performance character” is already human (see below). However, I think adding sunglasses and taking the hat off would do wonders for his look. It would make him look suave and more Hollywood-esque.
It’s a little rough around the edges, I know, but the addition of the sunglasses—and maybe even a tuxedo—would really upgrade his look!
If you have any ideas, criteria to evaluate mascots by, or thoughts on Malley the Movie Star, please leave them in the comments below.
Featured Image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)