The snow and the cold, have me daydreaming about warmer days, and a quick way to do that is think about Spring Training which right around the corner. So, that got me thinking about what the Cubs did the other day when they introduced an official mascot for the first time. The only other teams not to have an official mascots, are the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels (the Angel’s “Rally Monkey” doesn’t really count).
The mascot angle is something the Cubs had to do, regardless what traditionalists think. The Cub brass had to find a way to generate both interest and revenue coming into 1060 W. Addison Ave.
“Clark” the Bear “is cute” as one of my friends and longtime Cub fans texted me, and she’s as hardcore as the come when the “North Side Nine” are involved. “Cute” is exactly what the Cubs had in mind to target women and children. Children especially, since the Cubs fan base is getting older, the Cubs need to “hook” them when they’re young and impressionable (sort of like what the cigarette industry did with “Joe The Camel,” he was a lovable cartoon that appealed to children…remember).
Cubs attendance last year was the smallest in 16 years when 2,642,682 fans went through the turnstiles. The last time the attendance dipped below that, was 1998 (2,623,000), and the last time they exceeded 3 million was in 2010.
A lot of that has to do with winning which is the case for any club, but when you’re the Cubs and dealing with “mother nature,” and an outdated ballpark, you NEED to win to help your cause. The last time the Cubs were a threat in the N.L. Central was the mid aughts (2007-09) when they finished in first twice, and second respectively.
Other teams have updated and got new state of the art stadiums (Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, etc), to help jump start there attendance, hoping that winning teams were to follow, and keep the attendance flowing. The best example of that was when Cleveland built the “Jake” in the early 1990’s, they were SOLD OUT for a decade! That’s not an option for the Cubbies, they are never going to abandon the “Friendly Confines,” and never going to change their uniforms, so they basically have to find other ways to generate revenue…enter “Clark the Bear.”
The Bear is fine, I’m just surprised they didn’t go with a goat, to try and reverse the whole curse of “Billy Goat.”