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The Unintentionally Prophetic Youppi! Cartoon

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McCord Museum

When I first asked Terry Mosher, who works under the nom de plume Aislin—a variation of his eldest daughter's name—about his Youppi! cartoon, he asked me which one I meant. Not only has the provocative political cartoonist drawn over 10,000 cartoons during his illustrious career—syndicated in newspapers across Canada and internationally—but he has also made the former Expos mascot a frequent subject.

In fact, the lifelong baseball fan is a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which is responsible for electing new members into the Hall of Fame. Mosher recounts how in his first year of voting eligibility in 1991, Canadian pitcher Fergie Jenkins was elected to the Hall of Fame by a margin of one vote—a fact Mosher happily takes credit for.

The cartoon I originally had in mind is a particularly prescient one from 1988. Then-general manager of the Canadiens is shown fielding a call from the then-Expos mascot while a newspaper headline declares the "Expos Flat." The implication seems to be that, with his baseball team on the skids, the giant, fuzzy, orange creature (he was designed by Bonnie Erickson, creator of Miss Piggy and several other Muppets) might be driven to look elsewhere for work. And eventually, he did. It would take another 17 years, but Youppi! would become the first mascot to ever make the jump from the baseball diamond to the hockey rink when he joined the Habs in 2005.

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Mosher doesn't claim to have had nearly two decade of preemptive insight, though. Instead, he chalks the cartoon up to the Expos' frustrating inconsistency in the 1980s. But he, like Youppi!, found comfort in the Habs after baseball abandoned Montreal, directing his fandom towards hockey for the time being.

To supplement what can be found online, Mosher sent us a selection of other Youppi! cartoons that, taken together, effectively chronicle the Expos' experience:

In this early cartoon, Youppi! looks jubuliant to be driving the "Bus Squad", the nickname given to the 1979 Expos' effective bench players.

Aislin: Montreal Gazette

A Spanish-speaking Youppi! expresses excitement for the Expos' brief but popular stint in Puerto Rico, where they played 22 of their home games in 2003.

Aislin: Montreal Gazette

Later, Mosher imagines a devastated Youppi! taking drastic action after being abandoned by the Expos.

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But ultimately, Youppi! dons a new uniform for his new role with the Canadiens.

Aislin: Montreal Gazette

If you're interested in seeing more of Mosher's Expos work —including actual players, not just mascots—check out Jonah Keri's Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Exposwhich is filled with contemporary Aislin cartoons, and provides a little more detail about the team's history than this post. 

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The First High Five Recorded in the History of Sports
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Denis Poroy/Getty Images

We don’t quite know who invented the high five—but we can pinpoint the moment it became inextricably linked with sports, which the short documentary The High Five explores below.

On October 2, 1977, Los Angeles Dodgers leftfielder Dusty Baker scored his 30th home run, making the team the first in history to have four players—Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith—with at least 30 homers under each of their belts. Fellow outfielder Glenn Burke was so overwhelmed with joy and pride, he raised his arm and slapped his flat palm against the victorious athlete’s own palm. The moment transformed Baker and Burke into legends.

Sadly, the latter player faced hard times ahead: Burke was gay, and it’s believed that his sexuality prompted team officials to trade him to the Oakland A's the following year. In Oakland, Burke clashed with team manager Billy Martin, then retired early from baseball. Today, Burke is remembered for his charisma and talent—and for transforming a simple gesture into a universal symbol. “To think his energy and personality was the origin of that, that’s a pretty good legacy,” sportswriter Lyle Spencer says in the film.

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11 Outrageous Ballpark Foods
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iStock

Major League ballpark food has gone way beyond peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and the all-American hot dog. Now you can enjoy full meals, international cuisine, and eye-popping, gut-busting specialty dishes concocted for maximum publicity. Let's sample some of the outrageous dishes available at baseball games this year.

1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES // TRIPLE TRIPLE BURGER

Wayback Burger has the ultimate meat-lover's burger at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Watch the Phillies while eating a Triple Triple Burger with nine beef patties and nine slices of cheese. And some veggies, if you can find them.

2. NEW YORK METS // BACON S'MORES ON A STICK

First seen in 2015, Pig Guy still offers S‘mores Bacon on a Stick at Citi Field. That's a slice of thick bacon dipped in marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker crumbs …on a stick. If you so choose, there are other toppings available for your bacon on a stick, like Sriracha maple glaze or salted caramel.

3. SEATTLE MARINERS // OAXACAN CHAPULINES

Served by Edgar's Cantina, the authentic Oaxacan chapulines debuting this year at Safeco Field in Seattle are "toasted grasshoppers with chile-lime salt seasoning." [PDF] They sold out on opening day, and the ballpark moved more grasshoppers in three games than Edgar's home restaurant Poquitos serves in a year!

4. SEATTLE MARINERS // MADE-TO-ORDER ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Not in the mood for toasted grasshoppers? There are plenty of sweet treats available at Safeco Field in Seattle, including the made-to-order deluxe frozen custard cookie sandwiches from Frozen Rope Sandwich Company. As you can see, they come with extras.

5. COLORADO ROCKIES // ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS

In case you don't know what Rocky Mountain oysters are, they're bull testicles that are sliced and deep-fried. Not only are they a huge hit throughout Colorado, they've been a staple at Rockies games for 20 years.

6. TEXAS RANGERS // TEXAS SNOWBALL

New for 2017, you'll be able to try the Texas Snowballs at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. It's made of chopped brisket and barbecue sauce rolled into a ball and covered with funnel cake batter. It is then deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Is it an entree or a dessert? That's your decision.

7. TEXAS RANGERS // CHOOMONGOUS

Choomongous is both a sandwich and a description. This staple at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, is a 24-inch Korean beef sandwich that was crafted in 2014 in honor of Texas Ranger outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The sandwich is stuffed with Korean-spiced beef, spicy slaw, and Sriracha-infused mayo. Your best advice is to split it with a friend or two.

8. HOUSTON ASTROS // CHICKEN AND WAFFLE CONE

Watch baseball at Minute Maid Park and use only one hand to eat a full dinner. The Chicken and Waffle Cone puts fried chicken fingers and mashed potatoes inside a large waffle cone with honey-mustard sauce on top. The fan favorite is in its third year of satisfying hungry Astros fans.

9. MILWAUKEE BREWERS // INSIDE THE PARK NACHOS

Miller Park in Milwaukee is the home of Inside the Park Nachos, which is basically taco meat on a stick that is rolled in crushed Doritos, fried, and served with cheese sauce, sour cream, and salsa.

10. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS // CHURRO DOG 2.0

Chase Field in Phoenix first served the Churro Dog in 2015. This is not the ballpark hot dog you're used to, but an 1100-calorie dessert. The "dog" is a cinnamon churro, the "bun" is a split Long John donut, and the toppings are frozen yogurt, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and whipped cream. For 2017, the Churro Dog 2.0 comes dressed up in Oreos! The churro is rolled in crushed Oreo cookies, strawberry topping replaces the caramel, and then a generous helping of more Oreo crumbs is sprinkled on top.

11. MINNESOTA TWINS // TRIPLE SAUSAGE BLOODY MARY

Target Field is offering a new Bloody Mary during Twins games. Hrbek's Pub supplies the new Triple Sausage Bloody Mary, a Bloody Mary with deluxe garnishes including three varieties of sausage (brat, Polish, and andouille), in addition to cheese cubes, peppers, and various fruits and vegetables. You can get a variation with a hamburger garnish if you like!

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