The Chicago Cubs are no strangers to misery. After a century-long drought from winning the World Series, the Cubs are sprucing up Wrigley Field and introducing a family-friendly mascot.
Clark the Cub, the team's first mascot in its history, has been panned as a furry, pants-less creature with its baseball hat on backwards. One critic said Clark the Cub belongs in Disneyland, not Wrigley, which only has its own authenticity as an ivy-draped baseball relic going for it.
The mascot is undoubtedly a creation of the Cubs marketing department that sees Clark as a way to entertain youngsters in the stadium when their dads are grumbling about another loss. For kids, a day at the park has more to do with running bases, eating ice cream and watching a goofy mascot than keeping track of batting averages, ERAs and wins and losses.
But the decision to introduce a mascot, which one cynic described as having too much "poochiness," seems ill-timed. The baseball operation asked fans to be patient while it built up the Cubs farm teams. That's the equivalent of saying the Cubs will only be appearing, not performing, for the next two Major League Baseball seasons.
Cubs fans are used to waiting and hoping. They aren't accustomed to watching someone in a bear costume cavorting around.
After all the Internet snark dies down and people read about touching children's hospital visits, maybe Clark the Cub will be embraced by fans who are eternal optimists in spring and die-hard skeptics by fall. After all, the Cubs baseball scouts didn't waste time recruiting the mascot. No one is sure what the scouts were doing.
Failure is part of the Cubs DNA. When your team doesn't win, fans naturally find things to root against. For now, that appears to the Clark the Cub, a dream gone bad for the marketing department.