It’s a teddy bear, I get it. It’s for the kids. It’s going to visit kids in children’s hospitals. That’s nice.
In trying to figure out why the introduction of Clark, the Cubs’ new mascot blew up Twitter yesterday, I’m left with this: They did it in the same ham-handed way the Cubs do everything. To wit: We’re now in the second off-season of watching everyone else make off-season moves and hearing nothing about the status of renovating Wrigley. Which means we’re STILL in a holding pattern on both fronts, and people are starting to go stir crazy.
Add to this, the fact that the Cubs payroll has been the subject of much speculation and angst low these past few months, as whether or not the Cubs will have the garbage bags full of money to lure the likes of Masahiro Tanaka to Wrigley is on everyone’s minds. Then, there’s the fact that the Cubs strategically rolled the thing out right before Cubs Con, guaranteeing that we’re going to see thousands of stuffed Clark toys on sale for $29.95. And it’s all so transparent. That’s really what makes people upset. We’re self aware enough to know that the team lures us to the park with approximately 37 “Ron Santo Nights” every season, that they sell over-priced beer that we’re all obligated to buy, and that we pay the second-highest ticket price in baseball for one of the worst products on the field. We brave concrete falling on our heads and lines for the restrooms that last innings. We keep buying shirseys, even though our choices are limited to the likes of Luis Valbuena, Edwin Jackson, and Nate Schierholtz. We know we’re pathetic. We’re not proud of it.
After all that, for some reason, the smiling, Little-John-esque bear just felt like one insult too many. Isn’t it enough that I condemn my children to a life of misery as Cubs fans? Do I have to see Clark looking back at me from their toy shelves as well, reminding me daily of parental failing? It’s bad enough that they my kids were little during the go-go days of Derrick Lee and Lou Piniella, their early years littered with playoff races and hope. Now all I have to offer them is Clark? And what’s up with the hope in his eyes? No one at Wrigley has hope in their eyes. I call shenanigans for false advertising.
And why is he on Twitter? You have to be 13 to be on Twitter. There are no kids on Twitter. Don’t make the adults have to deal with that thing. We’ve got enough problems. Also, can we cut the baby talk? The last thing this team needs is to be sued by some helicopter parents from Andersonville because Clark taught their child to talk with a lisp.
If we had just started seeing Clark showing up at events, maybe with an explanation on cubs.com, I don’t think the reaction would have been nearly as caustic. But there was something so painful about the irony of waiting for the announcement of a big free agent signing and getting Clark instead. It was a microcosm of life as a Cubs fan. “Good news, kids! We didn’t get Tanaka . . . we got someone BETTER! Meet Clark!” It reminds me of the day I was all excited that my dad was bringing home a video tape player, only to discover he bought at Beta. This limited my video rental choices to movies like “The Moppet Movie” (Better than the Muppets!) and “Ice Pirates.” But I learned to live with it.
I’ll learn to live with Clark, too. I hope he visits lots of children’s hospitals and makes lots of little kids happy. No my kids, but kids.
Just keep him in the family section. It hurts to look at him.