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Wikimedia Commons

11 Embarrassing Incidents Caused By Mascots

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week the Chicago Cubs unveiled a new mascot, Clark. While the Cubs described him as "a young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans," the Internet focused on his lack of pants. But give Clark a break! Unlike these mascots, he hasn't done anything to embarrass the franchise.

1. The Phillie Phanatic’s Infamous Phist Phight

In 1988, the famed Phillie Phanatic dragged out a dummy clad in a blue jersey with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda’s name printed on the back and started thrashing it about before a raucous crowd. The irate manager responded by leaping onto the field, snatching the doll, and slugging the noodle-nosed beastie. You can read Lasorda’s account here.

2. Harvey’s Loose Tongue

Lasorda wasn’t the only coach to lash out at an opposing mascot. When Craig MacTavish of the Edmonton Oilers grew weary of Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound and his derisive antics, he resorted to ripping out the brash canine’s dangling tongue and throwing it into the stands, to the stunned amusement of nearby fans.

3. Billy the Marlin Injures Fan With T-Shirt Gun

Maude Flanders isn't the only one to learn the dangers of pressurized T-Shirt gun abuse. In 2000, Billy the Marlin of Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins decided to give away some free garments by firing them into the crowd... only to knock an elderly man unconscious when a high-speed tee struck the side of his head. Billy was subsequently found “not liable” in an ensuing lawsuit. 

4. The Sad Life of an “Anti-Mascot”

In 1984, the San Francisco Giants introduced “Crazy Crab,” a sorry-looking crustacean mascot the crowd was supposed to boo. Team manager Frank Robinson set up the gag with a TV spot in which he had to be restrained from punching out the crab. However, the fanbase, embittered by a 92-loss season, didn't seem to get the joke and began pelting the unfortunate invertebrate with a barrage of bottles and batteries at every home game. The situation eventually got so bad that the Crab's shell was reenforced with fiberglass to prevent serious injury. “Crazy” was retired at the season's end, but made a re-appearance in 2008: Predictably, he was booed.

5. Barney Sues the San Diego Chicken

“I Love You, You Love Me” is a song that evidently doesn’t extend to one Ted Giannoulas, creator of the iconic “San Diego Chicken” (now called simply “The Famous Chicken”). The beaked thespian ruffled some feathers in the mid-nineties after debuting a new routine which involved dancing off with and eventually tackling a Barney look-alike:

The purple dinosaur's creators sued for copyright infringement, but lost the ensuing case after a lengthy struggle. Adding insult to injury, Giannoulas called the ruling “Super-Dee-Dooper!”

6. Sebastian the Ibis’ Near-Incarceration

Getty Images

“The key phrase in this situation is that I was ‘detained’.  I was never arrested,” says John Routh, who portrayed Sebastian, the University of Miami’s beloved avian cheerleader, from 1985 to 1992—a gig which once got him in trouble with the law as discussed in this clip.

7. Fowl Play

Memo to all prospective mascots: Never tick off the Oregon Duck. In a 2007 match-up against Oregon, the University of Houston's Shasta—a bipedal, jersey-wearing cougar—decided to drop down and show off some pushups after her team scored a touchdown. It was a move that both mascots had been showing off for years, but which the pugnacious waterfowl mistook for an act of copyright infringement. The result? A fist fight and a one-game suspension for the web-footed perpetrator.

8. Fan Gets Creamed

When it comes to botched birthdays, the NBA’s Jazz Bear takes the cake. In 2012, the apparently-nearsighted ursid helped the Utah Jazz honor season ticket-holder Luke Larson’s special day with a commemorative cake … only to drop it thirty feet onto the heads of some unsuspecting fans below.

9. Live Hawk Delays Playoff Game

A 2009 postseason rivalry matchup between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks was delayed when a live hawk named “Spirit” (on loan from the local zoo) initially refused to return to his handler and instead perched menacingly atop the scoreboard before eventually coming down, spooking all-star Dwayne Wade in the process.

10. The Sooner Schooner Draws A Penalty

The Sooner Schooner, a horse-drawn carriage that heads onto the field after every University of Oklahoma touchdown, may have helped cost the team an Orange Bowl championship in 1985 when it got stuck in the turf in front of the opposing team's bench and netted the Sooners a 15-yard penalty at a critical moment in the fourth quarter. To see the Schooner functioning normally, check this out: 

11. Bird Beheading

To energize the team and fans, the St. Joseph University Hawk symbolizes the school's slogan, “The Hawk Will Never Die,” by ceaselessly flapping its wings during every major athletic event. Rhody the Ram of the University of Rhode Island decided to have a little fun with the concept by shoving an inner tube over the fluttering raptor, only to accidentally decapitate the hawk and spark a shoving match in the process. Skip to 0:42 to see the skirmish...

Portions of this post originally appeared last year.

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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6 Surprising Facts About Nintendo's Animal Crossing

by Ryan Lambie

Animal Crossing is one of the most unusual series of games Nintendo has ever produced. Casting you as a newcomer in a woodland town populated by garrulous and sometimes eccentric creatures, Animal Crossing is about conversation, friendship, and collecting things rather than competition or shooting enemies. It’s a formula that has grown over successive generations, with the 3DS version now one of the most popular games available for that system—which is all the more impressive, given the game’s obscure origins almost 15 years ago. Here are a few things you might not have known about the video game.

1. ITS INSPIRATION CAME FROM AN UNLIKELY PLACE.

By the late 1990s, Katsuya Eguchi had already worked on some of Nintendo’s greatest games. He’d designed the levels for the classic Super Mario Bros 3. He was the director of Star Fox (or Star Wing, as it was known in the UK), and the designer behind the adorable Yoshi’s Story. But Animal Crossing was inspired by Eguchi’s experiences from his earlier days, when he was a 21-year-old graduate who’d taken the decisive step of moving from Chiba Prefecture, Japan, where he’d grown up and studied, to Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto.

Eguchi wanted to recreate the feeling of being alone in a new town, away from friends and family. “I wondered for a long time if there would be a way to recreate that feeling, and that was the impetus behind Animal Crossing,” Eguchi told Edge magazine in 2008. Receiving letters from your mother, getting a job (from the game’s resident raccoon capitalist, Tom Nook), and gradually filling your empty house with furniture and collectibles all sprang from Eguchi’s memories of first moving to Kyoto.

2. IT WAS ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED FOR THE N64.

Although Animal Crossing would eventually become best known as a GameCube title—to the point where many assume that this is where the series began—the game actually appeared first on the N64. First developed for the ill-fated 64DD add-on, Animal Crossing (or Doubutsu no Mori, which translates to Animal Forest) was ultimately released as a standard cartridge. But by the time Animal Crossing emerged in Japan in 2001, the N64 was already nearing the end of its lifespan, and was never localized for a worldwide release.

3. TRANSLATING THE GAME FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE WAS A DIFFICULT TASK.

The GameCube version of Animal Crossing was released in Japan in December 2001, about eight months after the N64 edition. Thanks to the added capacity of the console’s discs, they could include characters like Tortimer or Blathers that weren’t in the N64 iteration, and Animal Crossing soon became a hit with Japanese critics and players alike.

Porting Animal Crossing for an international audience would prove to be a considerable task, however, with the game’s reams of dialogue and cultural references all requiring careful translation. But the effort that writers Nate Bihldorff and Rich Amtower put into the English-language version would soon pay off; Nintendo’s bosses in Japan were so impressed with the additional festivals and sheer personality present in the western version of Animal Crossing that they decided to have that version of the game translated back into Japanese. This new version of the game, called Doubutsu no Mori e+, was released in 2003.

4. K.K. SLIDER IS BASED ON ON THE GAME'S COMPOSER.

One of Animal Crossing’s most recognizable and popular characters is K.K. Slider, the laidback canine musician. He’s said to be based, both in looks and name, on Kazumi Totaka, the prolific composer and voice actor who co-wrote Animal Crossing’s music. In the Japanese version of Animal Crossing, K.K. Slider is called Totakeke—a play on the real musician’s name. K.K. Slider’s almost as prolific as Totaka, too: Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS contains a total of 91 tracks performed by the character.

5. ONE CHARACTER HAS BEEN KNOWN TO MAKE PLAYERS CRY.

A more controversial character than K.K. Slider, Mr. Resetti is an angry mole created to remind players to save the game before switching off their console. And the more often players forget to save their game, the angrier Mr. Resetti gets. Mr. Resetti’s anger apparently disturbed some younger players, though, as Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s project leader Aya Kyogoku revealed in an interview with Nintendo's former president, the late Satoru Iwata.

“We really weren't sure about Mr. Resetti, as he really divides people," Kyogoku said. “Some people love him, of course, but there are others who don't like being shouted at in his rough accent.”

“It seems like younger female players, in particular, are scared,” Iwata agreed. “I've heard that some of them have even cried.”

To avoid the tears, Mr. Resetti plays a less prominent role in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and only appears if the player first builds a Reset Surveillance Centre. Divisive though he is, Mr. Resetti’s been designed and written with as much care as any of the other characters in Animal Crossing; his first name’s Sonny, he has a brother called Don and a cousin called Vinnie, and he prefers his coffee black with no sugar.

6. THE SERIES IS STILL EVOLVING.

Since its first appearance in 2001, the quirky and disarming Animal Crossing has grown to encompass toys, a movie, and no fewer than four main games (or five if you count the version released for the N64 as a separate entry). All told, the Animal Crossing games have sold more than 30 million copies, and the series is still growing. In late 2017, the mobile title Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was released for iOS and Android. It's a big step for the franchise, as Nintendo is famously selective about which of its series get a mobile makeover. A game once inspired by the loneliness of moving to a new town has now become one of Nintendo’s most successful and beloved franchises.

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