The jarring effects of my recent visit to the Marlins’ ballpark in Miami cannot easily be put into words. I’d like to think I can put together a long form description of just what is wrong with the park, but for now I’ll say it was like Miller Park without all the crowds and commotion. And with palm trees out front, which was nice after suffering through this long winter.
But I’ll leave all that aside for now, and point out one thing. The Marlins have borrowed, retooled, or whatever euphemism for “stolen” works best for you, the sausage race at Miller Park. Perhaps they also borrowed it from someone else, but Milwaukee’s was the first version I was ever aware of.
It’s the event where the bratwurst and the Italian sausage and whatever other form of grillable meats come onto the field and race around for the audience’s amusement between innings. The Marlins have decided to put a tropical fish spin on this concept. Whichever fish wins the race for any game is probably determined in advance, and there might be prizes involved for some fans as a result. As with the rest of the game, I wasn’t really paying too much attention to what was going on.
Wrigley Field is too dignified to ever allow such races on its hallowed grass, or perhaps nobody has yet offered a big enough sum of money to make this happen. But whichever one it is, I’m going to set up a sausage/tropical fish race of my own, because this is going to be a season where any diversion from the team on the field will be needed.
And it’s a good thing that Clark is with us now, because he’s going to represent the Cubs in this race. The Marlins mascot, who is named Billy for some reason, is also in on the fun, as is Arizona’s D. Baxter the Bobcat (no, I didn’t make that up) and Pittsburgh’s Pirate Parrot.
Why these four mascots? Take a look at the National League’s standings, and you’ll see that these are the four teams with fewest wins at this point of the season. By that standard, Billy the Marlin has 10 wins, the Pirate Parrot has 9 wins, Baxter has 8 wins, and Clark is bringing up the rear with 7 wins.
It doesn’t matter, for these purposes, that Baxter’s team has a lower winning percentage than Clark’s team, or that Billy is pushing both the Phillie Phanatic and the Swinging Friar to leave this race. The participants in this race to the bottom may change, but it looks like Clark is going to be a fixture for the immediate future.
So at this moment Clark is bringing up the rear which, for a pantsless mascot, isn’t an ideal situation. Blown saves and a weak offense have contributed to this, but the truth is that the numbers are what they are. And unless something changes (cough cough, Baez!, cough cough), the Cubs will be in this unofficial, unsanctioned race for some time to come.
R. Lincoln Harris is a guest contributor for Wrigleyville Nation. He also writes for BlueBattingHelmet.Wordpress.com, ChicagoSideSports.com, ThroughTheFenceBaseball.com, and FiveWideSports.com. Thanks R. Lincoln for the contribution!