On the matter of decorative pillow shams

I got a Pottery Barn Kids catalog in the mail today because I’m a suburban father and that’s what they send us when they stop sending our wives the Victoria’s Secret Catalog.

Anyway, I was kind of interested in one of their new product lines:

Introducing our Major League Baseball collection of officially licensed products.

Bring the excitement of the big leagues to your child’s room. Sewn of pure organic cotton and featuring every MLB logo, our exclusive collection makes it easy to create a space that celebrates their favorite sport and their #1 team.

There’s bedding and rugs and framed jerseys and decorative shams and lamps and everything you can imagine. It’s pretty cool stuff! The bedspreads come in queen size too, so for the first time in years, Mrs. Shyster may soon be getting a surprise in the bedroom. Since she hates baseball, however, the surprise is likely to be just as disappointing as the last one. Anyway.

My only quibble — aside from introducing kids to the concept of decorative shams and merchandise that is approximately 200% more expensive than it has any right to be — is that they seem to be going out of their way to use mascot logos instead of the traditional team logo. This doesn’t bother me with the better-known mascots like Mr. Met and the Phanatic, but it seems a bit much to include that stupid Diamondbacks wolf, whatever the green Red Sox thing is, and any number of simply cartoonized animals that aren’t even official mascots.

Not to go all old man on you here, but when I was a kid I was fascinated by the actual team logos. They seemed cool and official and maybe even a bit grown up. If someone gave me a gift with baseball wrapping paper or something I would look at it forever, studying the logos and thinking how totally cool they were. There was something excitedly menacing in that realistic Tigers’ logo and something almost artistic or poetic in the Cardinals’ birdies on the baseball bat see-saw. Sure, those are commercial logos like the Nike swoosh and all of the rest, but I wanted to look at them longer and, more importantly for baseball’s sake, I wanted to own more stuff with the logos on them.

My kids get enough cartoons. If I was the kind of guy who bought them decorative pillow shams and got them one with a smiling cartoon bear (Twins) or dinosaur (White Sox) on them, I’m certain that they’d cast them aside when they got older and interested in more grown-up things. My worry, both as a father and as a baseball fan, is that they’d cast aside all that is associated with those silly cartoons too.

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  1. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I think his name is Slider (though I forget). He’s a Phanatic ripoff. Not a great one, either.  My first thought that they were trying to be PC and avoid Chief Wahoo, but Wahoo is available on other stuff, so that’s not it.  I think they just want to infantilize everything.

  2. Aaron Moreno said...

    I’m just surprised that a team that used to be owned by Disney doesn’t have anything more than “red letter A.”

  3. archilochusColubris said...

    Oh and don’t forget the absolutely impeccable old BrewCrew logo. Their initials! Shaped into a mitt catching a ball! With perfect elegance!

    I probably devoted a good month of my childhood trying to rationalize that divine coincidence with evolution.

  4. MHCranberry said...

    Wally (the Red Sox mascot) is a GREEN MONSTER.


    (I had to have that speech myself, so don’t worry.)

    But here’s the thing:  Wally is totally new.  And by new, of course, I mean over a decade old, but still, much newer than the franchise.  Mascots like Wally were made for the sole purpose of advertising to children, who they assume don’t appreciate the beauty of dangling footwear.

  5. Wooden_U_Lykteneau said...

    The problem with mascots is that kids love them… No matter how bad they are. The past two places I’ve held season tickets, the mascot has been stiffer than Stone Phillips. But it didn’t matter: The kids flocked to the furry/dirty thing and squealed.

  6. Aarcraft said...

    Hold on. The Diamondbacks mascot is a wolf? A team whose name is an actual animal is represented by a completely different and unrelated animal? I am having trouble with this concept.

  7. hermitfool said...

    I believe the D Backs, instead of hiring a kid friendly snake mascot, have adopted a Bobcat. Said Bobcat mascot was recently arrested for DUI. The police officer spotted the offending costume in the back seat.

    What a Bobcat has to do with a rattlesnake I leave to greater minds to unravel.

  8. The Legacy said...

    I’m not a big fan of mascots, but like any loyal sports fan, I need to irrationally defend my club. If there are two things I enjoy in life, it’s baseball and drinking. Those hobbies are joined in holy matrimony every time I lay my eyes upon that “smiling cartoon bear” the Twins trot out every season. T.C. Bear, as we call him, is based upon the old Hamm’s Beer Bear. Hamm’s was Minnesota brewed, and the bear long serves as a sort of unofficial mascot. It went under, and I think is owned by Miller or Coors or MillerCoors or BadNationalLeagueTeamSponsors or whatever you want to call that company these days. And, of course, when the bear was brought back in 2000 (I think), it wouldn’t be P.C. to tell little children that the big furry guy in the jersey loves boozin’. So the direct connection has faded. But there’s history, and that makes for at least a decent mascot.

  9. MooseinOhio said...

    I hoping that a company come out with little cars for kids modeled after the customized golf carts that used to drive out to the bullpen to pick up the relief pitcher.  I’d love to have my 3yo daughter drive over my foot while zig zagging around in a little Red Sox cart.

    Side note – Imagine how long a game would be today if those carts were still en vogue.  I think St. Louis would still be playing games in November with the high number of situational pitching substitution LaRussa makes.

  10. Dre said...

    I was pretty excited to see the cover of the ad and then was much dismayed to see that Baxter the bobcat was on the DBacks pillow.  Hell, even a cartoonized snake may have been tempting, but definitely not the bobcat.  9-Pin is right on the origin of the name.

  11. Aarcraft said...

    I hate that stupid Astro’s Jackrabbit – Junction Jack, as they call him. However, I think this might be that he replaced Orbit, the mascot of my childhood (when I was inclined to like mascots), and is now the mascot of my adulthood. Or, perhaps it is because the Astros decided the team had more to do with trains than stars, despite our team name, merely because the former site of the new ballpark was a train station.

  12. 9-Pin said...

    True, the Diamondbacks mascot is a Bobcat.  I believe they came up with this because the ballpark was Bank One Ballpark, fondly referred to as BOB in the local media.  So D. Baxter (that’s his name) is really a BOB-cat.

    nudge, nudge, Get it? nudge.

    The story goes that he was named by one of Matt William’s sons (could have been Jay Bell’s too, I don’t remember for sure).  So he was truly named by a kid, so at least we have that defense going for us.

  13. Roger Moore said...

    Sure, those are commercial logos like the Nike swoosh and all of the rest, but I wanted to look at them longer and, more importantly for baseball’s sake, I wanted to own more stuff with the logos on them.

    You don’t have to apologize for liking team logos just because they’re commercial.  Andy Warhol showed very convincingly that commercial artwork can be a valid form of art.  That’s one of the best parts about being interested in Modern Art; you’re allowed to care about that stuff.

  14. Jim said...

    All of your lesser mascots pale before the original great one; Mr. Met. He’s the only one of the bunch that doesn’t look ridiculous.

  15. Jason B said...

    What. In. The. Hell. Is. That. Hideous. Indians. Character.

    And I hope “LOGAN” enjoys that bucktoothed little fella staring up at him from the Astros pillow.
    I had a bucktoothed little fella staring up at me while growing up too. 

    Until we put Gramps away in a home.

  16. Pillow Protectors said...

    I agree, those mascots are pretty crazy looking and it’s kind of a problem that kids like them. I’d just stick with a regular mattress pad and pillow protectors.

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