October 31, 2008
It was a frustrating night at home for the Los Angeles Kings. They were 4-0 losers to the Vancouver Canucks, going 0-for-7 on the power play, watching goalie Jason LaBarbera surrender four goals on 18 shots and Alexander Frolov blow a penalty shot against Roberto Luongo.
On these nights, hockey mascots must work extra hard to provide levity and a cathartic release of fan frustrations. And thanks to Bailey, the Kings' mascot, the L.A. faithful could balance those bad memories with the sight of a giant bag of popcorn getting dumped on a row of visiting Canucks fans by a lion in a grass skirt. (Beware one NSFW word at the start.)
In professional wrestling, there are "works" (scripted situations) and there are "shoots" (moments of unscripted candor in which reality invades fantasy). It's always tricky to figure out the difference with mascot antics. Were these "Canucks fans" plants? Does the popcorn dump happen every night? Having never been to a Kings home game, I have no idea. This feels like a "work," much like when teams have two male actors playing opposing fans make out on the Kiss-Cam. Either way, it's pretty damn funny.
I will say that, from personal experience, mascots will entertain their fans at the expense of a visiting fan. I recalled this while watching the Phillie Phanatic celebrate his team's World Series victory. At the old Veterans Stadium, he once snatched a vintage 1969-style Mets hat from my head, tossed it onto the field, stomped on it with his giant clown shoes and then placed it back on my head to the delight of the crowd. I was about 10 years old.
Question of the Morning: Does your mascot have any planned or improvisational comedy pieces that get the crowd roaring or make you spit your $9 beer out while laughing?