A "real fan" will tell you that when he watches a baseball game, all he notices is the ball. He doesn't notice the architecture of the surrounding stadium, or the design on the players' uniforms, or the guy in the colorful costume dancing on the dugout and throwing T-shirts to kids in the stands.
But, while these ultra-serious spectators might not have time to acknowledge an artful logo or a big scoreboard, you can bet they notice when something like that isn't to their liking.
Yesterday, I released the first half of this week's Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Poll results—the best stadiums, mascots, logos, uniforms, and team names in baseball.
But today is the fun part—our picks for the worst of these ballpark distractions.
In addition to the full vote totals, each slide includes three quick sound bites from the writers explaining the reasons behind their picks.
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Note: I sent this survey only to the Featured Columnists who have been active in previous polls. If you are a new FC or you have changed your mind about wanting to participate, send me a message and I'll be sure to keep you in the loop for next time!
Tropicana Field (Rays)—7
Sun Life Stadium (Marlins)—4
Oakland Coliseum (Athletics)—1
Wrigley Field (Cubs)—1
Yankee Stadium (Yankees)—1
On Tropicana Field (Brandon Williams)
It's a shame one of the best teams in baseball resides in a ballpark that is more drab and boring than AM radio on a summer Saturday morning. There is nothing appealing about the park, and it shows in the lack of warm bodies on most nights. Not even the likes of Evan Longoria, David Price, and B.J. Upton can make Tropicana anything more than mediocre.
On Sun Life Stadium (Bob Warja)
The Dolphins’ and Marlins' Sun Life Stadium ranks among the worst in the country in food sanitation, according to a report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Plus, it's a football stadium that is not suited for the sight-lines of baseball.
On the Oakland Coliseum (Steve Keegan)
The stadium itself is literally crumbling, the excessive foul territory keeps you further away from the action than any other stadium, the 10,000-fan per game turnout is depressing, players routinely risk injury on that whack infield bullpen, the field is chewed up from the Raiders playing on it, the visual appearance of the stadium is an eye sore, and the food is horrible.
But other than that, it’s great!
Phillie Phanatic (Phillies)—4
Chief Wahoo (Indians)—1
Mr. Met (Mets)—1
Rally Monkey (Angels)—1
All of them—1
On the Phillie Phanatic (Asher Chancey)
What is the Phillie Phanatic?
Is it an alien from outer space? Is it some sort of escaped muppet who haunts Citizens Bank Park? Who knows?
There was a time when mascots made sense, and conjured images familiar to their home team—the San Diego Chicken, Mr. Met, Billy the Brewer—but now one of the most visible mascots in the game is an amorphous nether-blob.
On Screech (Lewie Pollis)
When Screech first hatched, he looked more like a cuddly baby chick than a majestic bald eagle—good symbolism for the team's lack of success in recent years, but I'm guessing it's not what they were going for. Now, in his new "teenage" form, he looks like some horribly demented cross between a bird and a grizzly bear (he doesn't have wings, he has giant hairy arms).
On all of them (Brandon Williams)
We come to watch a baseball game, people. We do not come for cute and furry mascots. Yeah, it's cool for the wee ones, but is there anything more annoying than having some reject from the Krusty the Klown School of Comedy pulling off a mime act while watching your ace hurler strike out the side?
On the Blue Jays (Asher Chancey)
In an era of unique team logos, the Blue Jays' was one of the best. But now? The Blue Jays' logo looks almost indistinguishable from a variety of other quasi-modern bird team logos, including the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Tulane Green Wave.
On the Marlins (Samantha Bunten)
The bottom line is that it's just too fussy. A good, traditional baseball logo doesn't have that much going on in a small space. And then there's the teal-based color scheme—this is baseball, not the WNBA.
On the Indians (Bob Warja)
I picked the Cleveland Indians' logo as the worst in baseball because it is so explicitly racist. Now, lots of teams have Indian names, and while that may be controversial, it is the red face that is so obviously offensive. Imagine a team with a black face as its mascot and you get the idea.
Anyone who wears the vest—1
On the Rockies (Cameron Britt)
There is no place for the color purple in baseball. Purple bills on their caps, in their logos, on their sleeves, and covering an entire alternate jersey. It just makes you sick.
On the Indians (Lewie Pollis)
For a good team with a well-known core of players, wearing uniforms without names is classy—it shows that the team comes first and most fans know who the players are anyway. But when a bad team full of unknown players takes the field sans identification—as the Indians have done on several occasions this year—it just looks stupid.
On the Nationals (Asher Chancey)
When the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals, they selected the most generic color scheme in baseball–red and blue–and chose to go with an American Flag theme with its icons and logos. The result? We've got a team wearing National League All-Star Team uniforms 81 games out of the year in Washington.
Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets, Single-A)—2
Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers, Triple-A)—1
Asheville Tourists (Rockies, Single-A)—1
Los Angeles Dodgers—1
Montgomery Biscuits (Rays, Double-A)—1
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants, Double-A)—1
New York Yankees—1
Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox, High-A)—1
On the Sand Gnats (Nick Cafferky)
Anybody who has ever played baseball in July knows why this is the worst name ever. On a hot and humid day, gnats are your enemy more so than the other team. They swarm around your head, get in your eyes and ears, and generally pester the hell out of you. Any team that wants to be known as that is stupid.
On the Dash (Cameron Britt)
I live in the Winston-Salem area and used to enjoy attending Winston-Salem Warthog games at historic Ernie Shore Field to enjoy some A-ball action and the lovable mascot, Wally the Warthog. Now, when I go the games, I cannot help but glare angrily at Bolt’s furry hind-end (the new mascot) and the stupidest name in Minor League Baseball—the Dash.
On the Flying Squirrels (Lewie Pollis)
Here's how I imagine this meeting went:
Guy: Let's name our team the Richmond Squirrels.
Other Guy: Hmmm...I like the "squirrel" concept, but we need to jazz it up a bit.
Third Guy: I've got it! The Flying Squirrels!
Everyone: (generic sounds of agreement)
Say what you want about the Phillie Phanatic, but you can't deny that he's photogenic.
07/22/10: 2010 Mock Hall of Fame Vote
07/14/10: Predicting Where 15 Hot Names Will Land
07/07/10: A Final NL All-Star Vote
07/06/10: A Final AL All-Star Vote
07/01/10: An NL MVP Vote
06/30/10: An AL MVP Vote