Sunday, July 27, 2014

#MascotMania: The Battle for the Best MiLB Mascot

Lou E. Loon wants your vote!
Remember the uproar from earlier this season about whether or not the Dodgers have an official mascot?

Well, five of the Dodgers' minor league affiliates do have official mascots and Minor League Baseball is currently holding Mascot Mania, a contest to decide the best mascot in the minor leagues.

"Mascots are a big part of minor league baseball and it's a fun part of it too," said Matt DeVries, content manager for the Great Lakes Loons, the Dodgers Low-A affiliate.

At minor league games, mascots are a huge part of the in-game entertainment. They're on the field in-between innings and in the stands interacting with fans during the action, often providing funny gags and bits for the fans. This includes playing games with the kids in the stands or even dumping bags of peanuts on players in the dugout.

"It's something you wouldn't see at the major league level," DeVreis said. "You're not going to have a mascot dumping peanuts on a player in the dugout because Major League Baseball wouldn't allow that because (the focus) is more (on) baseball."

The Dodgers' minor league affiliates have a history of success in the competition as Orbit, of the Albuquerque Isotopes, won the 2012 championship. However, he was unable to defend his title in 2013, losing to LouSeal of the Columbus Clippers.

While he will certainly be seeking to reclaim his status as best mascot this year, he will face stiffer competition, including from within the Dodgers organization. Lou E. Loon of the Great Lakes Loons desperately wants the title after barely failing to advance to the championship round last year and the Loons are doing all they can to help him win it.

The team has gone on a social media blitz, using Twitter and YouTube along with photos and graphics to promote their beloved mascot and show the fans why Lou E. Loon deserves to be crowned champion.

"I would love to say that people come to the Loons games to watch the baseball games, but that rarely, rarely is the case," said Amber Ferris, promotion manager for the Loons.

"Almost every single fan that we've interacted with both on social media or in person has said in one way or another an experience that they had with Lou. ... They see him and they basically associate it with Loons baseball."

Lou E. Loon does about 320-330 "Lou E. Appearances" per year, according to Ferris, and like many mascots around in the MiLB, has become a big part of their brand and represents the Loons as the face of the franchise in the community.

"He's so much more active than most other mascots. For us, we like Lou E. out there the entire game," DeVries said.

"Nine times out of 10 when you look around you're going to see Lou E. in the seating bowl messing around with fans, having fun and he goes out to different events all the time. He'll go to the local YMCA, local Boys and Girls Club, local PTA meeting, and he just tries to act like a good, moral person."

As this contest shows, Minor League Baseball is not only about the prospects, so go on Twitter or to the MiLB website and start stuffing the ballot boxes.

Voting for each league started here this past Monday and runs until August 4, with the championship round featuring the winner of each league taking place throughout the following week.

Fans can also vote on Twitter using the official hashtag for each Dodger affiliate mascot, which are listed below.

  • Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (PCL): Orbit #VoteOrbit_Isotopes
  • Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (SOU): Looie The Lookout #VoteLooieLookouts
  • High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (CAL): Tremor #VoteTremorQuakes
  • Low-A Great Lakes Loons (MID): Lou E. Loon #LoveLouE
  • Rookie Ogden Raptors (PIO): Oggie #VoteOggieRaptors

Photo credit: Phil Squattrito, Flickr

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