Homer the mascot is a fraud. No, the fun loving humanoid isn’t under investigation for any type of legal issues, but he is, in fact, a fraud. Many Atlanta Braves fans remember Chief Noc-A-Homa and his short time sidekick Princess Win-A-Lotta. Some may even be aware of the lesser known “Bleacher Creature.” As Atlanta moves to Sun Trust Park, we’ll take a look at Braves alternative mascot ideas.
A Look at Braves Alternative Mascot Ideas
Homer took over for “the Chief” amid controversy that the mascot was racist towards Native Americans (he probably was). Whomever wears the suit does a good job of entertaining the crowds and is great with kids, but he isn’t original. Let’s look at his lineage.
Mr. Met and Family
The first appearance of a humanoid mascot among baseball teams was Mr. Met (the mascot for the Braves arch-rival). He burst on to the scene in 1964 as baseball’s first live-action mascot. Sporting a baseball for a head and a New York Mets cap, the lovable mascot was the first of his kind. He dons a Met uniform that appears as it would on an everyday player. He is in the mascot hall of fame and also appears as a patch on the blue Mets alternate uniform.
Mr. Met’s wife/sister/what-have-you, Mrs. Met, began to appear alongside him in 1975 for a few games before disappearing. She was reintroduced in 2013 and is still part of the Mets mascot team today.
Mr. Red and Co.
Fast forward a few years, and Mr. Red comes onto the scene. Clad in a Cincinnati Reds uniform, the baseball headed mascot made his first appearance in the 1980’s. Though Cincinnati Reds fans love him, he is much less likable than Mr. Met. His eyes are lifeless; there is no white in them. (How would William Prescott’s men know when to shoot at an army of Mr. Red’s?)
To be fair, Mr. Red did appear as a patch for the Reds well before he actually made his real life debut. His counterpart, Mr. Redlegs, is also a humanoid baseball head, but is much more inviting. (He has eyes that don’t look like they will turn you to stone.) Mr. Redlegs was introduced as an answer to the second red scare in the 1950’s.
He, along with Mr. Red and Rosie Red (another baseball headed humanoid), comprise Major League Baseball’s largest humanoid mascot crew. Gapper is also part of the group, but he is the black sheep of the family.
Braves Mascot History and Homer the Fraud
For 20 years, Atlanta had different variations of an offensive indian mascot, Chief Noc-A-Homa. Most famously was Levi Walker Jr.’s portrayal of The Chief. Walker would dress in traditional Native American dress, along with face paint. He would traditionally perform a type of spirit dance on the mound before games and then relocate to a tipi in left field. Here, Walker would stay unless the Braves hit a home run or he needed to fire up the crowd.
The Braves abandoned the Chief Noc-A-Homa mascot in 1986, leaving a void for a short time. Before settling on Homer, the Braves tried Rally and the Bleacher Creature. Rally was a bear-like creature, similar to Wally the Green Monster. The Bleacher Creature was a mixture of the Phillie Phanatic and the Yeti from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. He, too, was short lived.
Homer made his official debut in 1989. He is modeled after both Mr. Met and Mr. Red, the more egregious of the two being the mascot of the long-time rival Mets. A kid loving baseball-head, Homer, along with the Home Depot tools, do a great job of keeping the crowd engaged. However, his resemblance to Mr. Met, Mr. Redlegs, and Mr. Red are a cause for concern. Here are a couple mascot ideas Atlanta should to consider adopting:
This one is almost too easy to go with. The idea for Chipper stems from the team’s future first ballot Hall of Fame third baseman, Chipper Jones. A beaver carrying a chewed up baseball bat is pure genius. The plump-bellied, ever-smiling, rodent is already a fan favorite.
Continuing on with the Braves legend motif, we have Bobby Knocks. A characterized form of Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox, Bobby Knocks is stern but fair. This rare vocal mascot has a catch phrase: “Here we go, Kid.” He often argues with Strike, an umpire mascot. In this scenario. however, Strike gets thrown out and the crowd goes nuts.
The spirit of pro sports is as much about the hatred for one’s rivals as it is pulling for one’s own team. This anti-mascot, formally known as Band Wagon, is a cowboy-headed character, sporting a suit made out of the opposing teams uniform. Rarely seen, B.W. will make appearances only on the field for his safety. He is someone Braves fans can boo, especially when Bryce Harper comes to town.
The antithesis of Chief Noc-A-Homa, Ring-It-Up is a big personal check that pops out after a Braves pitcher strikes out an opponent. He also has the honor of presenting donations to local charities and can often be seen visiting Sun Trust banks in the Atlanta Metro area.
It’s no secret our beloved sport is failing in popularity amongst many millennials. This mascot is a giant cell phone with arms and legs. He is encased in a protective Atlanta Braves case of a color scheme which matches the uniform choice for the Braves that day. He has a text line that fans can text during the game. D.M. may be better served as a secondary mascot.
The Ted is meant to represent the height of Braves baseball. The Ted rocks a grey suit and an ever-present mustache. He is always doning his championship ring and wears a ball cap with the old-school, lower-case a. Once a year, The Ted will “act” as manager, allowing Major League Baseball to commemorate the rule banning owners from acting as manager.
I don’t know who I need to contact to get the ball rolling on these ideas, but I have a patent on them all. Either way, Homer is a fraud and Braves nation deserves better than Mr. Met’s little brother. Go Braves!