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A history of bizarre mascot incidents

Posted: Thursday July 10, 2003 6:31 PM
  Sebastian the Ibis Sebastian the Ibis Andy Lyons/Getty Images

By SI.com staff

Let's face it -- they're really just sitting targets.

In their funny costumes with their funny walks, sports mascots aim to entertain. But trouble can ensue, especially when they get a little too frisky with the subjects of their antics.

Wednesday night's incident in which Pittsburgh Pirate first baseman Randall Simon swung a bat and hit a woman dressed as an Italian sausage was just the latest in a long series of curious events involving mascots ...

August 1988 -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda exchanges fisticuffs with the Philly Phanatic after the mascot does a routine using a doll of Lasorda as a punching bag.

September 1989 -- Miami's Sebastian the Ibis leads the Hurricanes onto the field for their annual clash with Florida State carrying a fire extinguisher -- intending to douse the Seminoles' famous flaming spear. Five police officers surround the mascot, slam him against a wall and empty his extinguisher.

January 1991 -- The world famous San Diego Chicken grabs a Chicago Bulls cheerleader, dances with her and rolls her on the floor. She later sues and is awarded $317,000 in damages.

October 1992 -- A fight between mascots breaks out during Northeast Louisiana's homecoming game against Northwestern State, with Northwestern's Vic the Demon landing a series of haymakers after Chief Brave Spirit rips off his head.

April 1994 -- Arizona's Wilbur Wildcat blows out his knee tackling Arkansas' Razorbacks from behind during a Final Four game.

May 1994 -- At the opening of a paint store, Charles Donoghue suffers back injuries from being hugged too hard by the Philly Phanatic. He later sues and is awarded $2.5 million.

August 1994 -- Colorado Rockies radio announcer Jeff Kingery shoves and curses Dinger the Dinosaur after the team mascot falls down a step and bumps into the broadcaster during game action.

October 1994 -- At an exhibition game in Puerto Rico, the Miami Heat's Burnie pulls a female spectator onto the court by her legs. The woman, wife of a local Supreme Court justice, is not amused. Burnie is convicted of aggravated assault and later sued for $1 million.

February 1995 -- Don Jackson, coach of the International Hockey League's Cincinnati Cyclones, is suspended 10 games and fined $1,000 for climbing over the glass and attacking Atlanta Knights mascot Sir Slapshot, who had hit the glass while Jackson was leaning on it.

February 1995 -- During an ESPN-televised timeout, the Stanford Tree and Cal's Oski engage in a legendary wrestling match after Oski apparently taunts the Stanford student section. The two have to be separated by police, but no charges are filed.

Rocky the mountain lion Rocky the Mountain Lion Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/
Getty Images
 

April 1995 -- In what will become a running feud over the years, Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky the Mountain Lion challenges the Phoenix Suns' Charles Barkley to a friendly boxing match -- only to get clocked in the face.

October 1995 -- In separate incidents less than a week apart, Seattle's Mariner Moose roller blades into an outfield wall, breaking his ankle, and the Cleveland Indians' Slider falls six feet off an outfield wall, tearing his knee ligament.

October 1995 -- Cal offensive tackle Tarik Glenn slugs Benny Beaver on his way into the locker room after the Oregon mascot -- a 5-foot-9, 135-pound woman -- taps the 6-6, 330-pounder on the shoulder with an inflatable hammer. Later that season, Arizona's 6-5, 305-pound Frank Middleton punches Benny in the head.

October 1995 -- The Anaheim Mighty Ducks' Wild Wing performs a stunt in which he he jumps a "wall of fire" ... but doesn't make it all the way over and is set aflame.

October 1995 -- Maine mascot Bananas is slugged in the head and stomach by a player ... from his own team.

November 1996 -- Wisconsin mascot Bucky the Badger is arrested and issued a $141.50 ticket for crowd surfing in the student section. When asked by the booking officer to spell his name, the student begins by saying, "Badger. B-A-D-G ... "

May 1997 -- During Game 5 of a first-round NBA playoff series, NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, 69, takes offense to the Miami Heat's Burnie spraying him and the rest of the Orlando Magic's cheering section with a water gun. He clocks the mascot with a right hook.

September 1997 -- While waiting inside a zamboni machine as part of an unveiling ceremony before the Carolina Hurricanes' first preseason game, the person playing the mascot Stormy has a major anxiety attack, never comes out and is taken to the hospital.

May 1999 -- The Baltimore Orioles' mascot falls 15 feet and breaks his left ankle after a Philadelphia electrician shoves him off the right-field wall at Camden Yards. The mascot sues and wins $59,000 in damages.

July 2000 -- Florida's Billy the Marlin accidentally hits an elderly man in the eye with a tightly wadded T-shirt launched out of a pressurized gun, temporarily knocking him unconscious. The man later files suit but it is unsuccessful.

January 2001 -- The Miami Hurricanes suffer a 15-yard penalty during their Sugar Bowl game against Florida when Sebastian the Ibis runs onto the field and taunts the Gators after a Miami touchdown.

January 2003 -- Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, fed up with Calgary mascot Harvey the Hound dangling over his team's bench, rips the dog's fabric tongue out of his mouth and tosses it into the stands.

March 2003 -- A scuffle ensues between the Oregon Duck and Utah's Swoop during halftime of a first- round NCAA tournament game when Swoop accidentally rips off the Oregon mascot's head. The two are sent to a room beneath the stands to make peace, later hugging at center court to a standing ovation.

July 2003 -- Pittsburgh Pirates player Randall Simon is arrested and fined $432 for nailing the Italian Sausage with a bat during the Milwaukee Brewers' human sausage race, knocking the woman in the costume to the ground.


 
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