If there is one thing I don’t get from American sports, than it is the urge to have a mascot. I am not wishing to criticise anyone who is working in marketing, but bigger b******t plans than those that come from marketing specialists are hard to find.
A couple of those dumb arguments that are made for mascots: they build your brand, they stand out, they are fun, they play well in social media...that might be true, but the first person in this world that is able to link the impact of a mascot (or any other marketing idea) to sales still has to be born and will probably never be born.
Being a mascot looks like a shitty job. I remember going to some football games with mascots in Europe and people would make a laugh of them. I am pretty sure they get a lot of crap, but according to an article the average mascot makes $60,000, which isn’t too bad. Some mascots, like the ones in the NBA (who are quite spectacular sometimes, I will admit that), make over half a million per year.
So, in that regard, if a mascot is so important for sales, then why do so many teams have terrible mascots? Take a look around in any sport and you see too many mascots that are just creepy or stupid. Why does a popular team like the Dallas Cowboys need a mascot as ugly as Rowdy? And why does a popular team like the Green Bay Packers not have a mascot? It probably depends on how big the voice of the marketing team is.
A mascot is probably nice to have as a giveaway to fans and as some kind of a teddy-bear for little children, but most probably should stay away from grown-ups. And Baxter the Bobcat is no exception to that, beside the fact that a bobcat is a pretty weird mascot for a team that is nicknamed the Snakes.
The sooner we can get rid of Baxter the better. And the Diamondbacks might have attempted to do that when they launched “Luchador”.
If you like wresting and an oiled up hispanic looking man wearing a cape and tight pants, than you will have loved “Luchador”. Looking back, it wasn’t such a weird idea to launch him. A popular figure in Mexican wrestling, it was at least someone the people could bond with, unlike an animal like a bobcat.
The background of “Luchador” is also a lot cooler than you might think. “Luchador” means fighter in Spanish and the word and person come from Mexican wrestling. Masks apparently became an interesting additional item to the costumes and many wrestlers in Mexico started to wear them. One of the most legendary wrestlers with a mask was “El Santo”. The Saint became a popular wrestler during the 1940s and jumped to the cinema in the 50s as well. “El Santo” retired from wrestling in 1982, without ever losing his mask, a symbol of his strength. Being also a symbol for the poor, after his death in 1984 he transcended into a hero and political figure called “Superbarrio” who became the voice and representative of the poor in Mexico during the 1980s and even today pops up every now and then to fight for social justice.
The origins of the “Luchador” hype in Phoenix’ baseball can be traced back to 2012 and was explained perfectly by Jim McLennan on here, when the Diamondbacks introduced the man as a new mascot in July 2013. It was made clear though, from the beginning, that he would not replace Baxter, but just join him.
Following the popular example of a promotion that did the Angels, the Diamondbacks in July 2012 introduced some “Lucha Libre” wrestling and masks give-aways on Hispanic Heritage Day. That proved to be a great success and the masks seemed to be staying permanently at Chase Field.
So, it was not a real surprise when “Luchador” was launched as a new mascot and the announcement was picked up by a huge amount of outlets if you do an easy search on the internet.
Where did “Luchador” go?
But after that announcement of July 2013, things have gone silent on Luchador. What happened to him? It looks like already in May 2014 someone was asking the same thing.
I have no answer to that either and I would like to know. A year back I reached out to Derek Montilla on Twitter, I thought he could be a guy that’d know, and he couldn’t come up with an answer either.
The Twitter account of Luchador is long gone and so is his presence at Chase Field. There was a Luchador bobble mask of Ketel Marte not that long ago, but other than that the man himself has disappeared.
We can only speculate why.
Maybe, with social uprising on racial matters, Luchador as a mascot was doomed racist and an insult to hispanic heritage, but I couldn’t find any internet backlash on it, nor through tags on Twitter, the classic cesspool for social outrage.
Maybe people weren’t to keen on getting pictures with him, due to the greasy torso and the too tight pants.
Maybe he couldn’t hide himself much behind the mask and with the naked upper part people noticed that from game to game and public appearance to another the man changed too much and it just didn’t fit.
Maybe people wanted to see the guy wrestling and he wasn’t able to do that.
Maybe the Diamondbacks just didn’t know what the Luchador could do that Baxter couldn’t and didn’t see the added value no more.
However it may be, it looks like Luchador didn’t appear no more in the 2014 season and all in all no one really noticed or cared.
And let’s be honest: eventually that will be the fate of every mascot. If the Diamondbacks decide tomorrow to remove Baxter the Bobcat...would anyone really care?
How do you feel about mascots?
This poll is closed
Couldn’t care less.
I like some, but not Baxter.
Baxter is pretty cool and other are too.