I’ve been asked to do service journalism. I’m here to let you know which MLS mascots you’d rather not come across in a dark alleyway. Not because they’re going to hurt you or anything. They’re probably going to do something delightful and entertaining. We’re talking about professionals here. But because I, like many of you, am frightened by their general appearance.
To be very clear, all mascots are terrifying. A lion with thumbs and the ability to walk on two legs? Apex predator. A sentient train with a soccer ball face? Apex predator. A human-sized snake with arms? Cool guy. Also, an apex predator. Any oversized animal or anthropomorphic inanimate object that appears to have a grasp of human entertainment values and languages while saying no words itself is plotting, planning and waiting. For what? Probably to play the most dangerous game. Or to like, I don’t know, overcharge to show up at your nephew’s birthday party. Either way, a menace.
But since I technically can’t assume too much more about their motives without being sued for what someone told me is called “libel”, we need to operate the rest of the way believing that the mascots are operating in good faith. Here to do nothing more than entertain us.
That being said, they still frighten me. And since we’re deep into an international break, starving in a desert of content, the powers that be have let me rank the mascots in MLS I’m personally most frightened by.
I’ve done extensive research here. For a couple of weeks now, I’ve had a Google Doc open entitled “MLS Mascot Pics (not weird)” and I’ve been assessing the minute details of every known MLS mascot. Though the differences separating them are marginal at best, I believe I’ve come up with a definitive top five.
HOWEVER. I want to be very, very, very clear here. Nothing. Nothing. Haunted me like this grainy found footage of an unofficial mascot supporting the New York Red Bulls.
There’s also this guy associated with RBNY’s sister club.
I don’t think it’s all that scary. I just wanted to let you know because it probably just hit on your partner right now. Like literally right now. Probably convincingly too. I’d go check if I were you. You may want to hurry. Ah geez, they might already be gone, bud, sorry.
Very important notes
- Me and Phang from Philadelphia are cool so they’re not on the list.
- Cosmo from the Galaxy seems relatively chill.
- Trainy McTrainface in Atlanta hasn’t been seen in months so I’m not sure how much of a threat they pose.
- Austin had an honorary dog mascot named RayRay for a game but he got adopted and generally seemed like a good dog.
- Toronto FC used to (maybe still does?) have a mascot that was an actual hawk named (I’m not making this up) “Bitchy the Harris Hawk.” I do not know what happened to this bird.
- LAFC for sure have a few falcons, including “Olly,” who holds the LAFC falcon speed record at 210 MPH. Olly rules.
- Timber Joey does carry a chainsaw but, after extensive research, I’ve determined he only uses it for good.
- NYCFC doesn’t have an official mascot but they did at one point in time have a guy who wore a pigeon mask and did a lot of community service.
- Speaking of community service, SKC’s Blue the Dog used to look like he had a sadness in his eyes that kind of made it look like he was forced into mascotdom to pay off a community service debt after a singular accidental mistake that changed his life forever. I think they changed his eyebrows or added a twinkle to his eyes or maybe he’s just doing better lately because he looks a lot more “friendly” and a lot less “doing his best but failing to not be worn down by life’s crushing melancholy”.
- It’s impossible to distinguish whether Tex Hooper (don’t ask) of FC Dallas is constantly smiling or in constant agony.
- FC Cincinnati’s lion mascot is just called “Gary”. I became very concerned that “Gary” was hiding something because, c’mon. “Gary”? Turns out, FC Cincinnati fans are just good at decoding hidden messages.
- All of this has reminded me that MLS is a good soccer league.
Yes, we have a three-way tie for fifth. “Top-eight” sounds dumb and, frankly, I couldn’t distinguish these three.
Slyde is constantly questioning everything you do. Everything. He can’t stop questioning. Nothing you do is good enough for Slyde. You go take the milk out of the fridge? Slyde is sitting there. Looking at you. Making you wonder how you could possibly have messed up getting milk out of the fridge. The worst part is that you start to believe him. Slyde is on the list for being the worst part about going home to our parents' houses.
Also because he may not even be the rightful heir to the New England animal mascot throne. There are loyal supporters of Nutsy the Squirrel still out there fighting.
Never, ever, ever trust the guy at your gym who looks like he’s been photoshopped but swears he’s natty. And never ever, ever trust the guy who never takes off his sunglasses. They don’t want you to see their eyes for a reason. Eyes are the window to the soul.
If one person is both at the same time? Well…
I know what you are now, Talon.
But you can’t outrun your past.
Being able to look like you might be willing to eat someone at a moment's notice AND be the lead dancer in an extremely outdated flash mob prank is a special kind of frightening for me. I don’t know whether things are about to turn into a NatGeo documentary or an installation in the “Step Up” film series. The uncertainty is what puts you deeply on edge. But, somehow, this isn’t the Lion mascot that takes my highest ranking. Why? Well…
Behold. A bird mascot so angry at the world for being too large to fly that its fury cannot be hidden behind faux compliance with societal standards. It will not smile just to belong to polite company. It is far, far too pained by its very existence. “Unmake me,” it says to the creator. But it’s too late. So it must lash out. By attempting to swallow as many children as it can.
Yet it fails to do so. Because its mouth was not made wide enough. And for that, Spike will stay angry.
I looked, and behold a pale soccer ball: the face that sat on him was “Sir Minty”, and hell followed with him. And power rankings were given unto them over the rest of the season, so as to avoid the consequences of angering the beast of the earth.