Cleveland Indians Are Concerned Mascot, Slider, Is Not Really Trying

Jim CantrellSenior Analyst IJune 26, 2009

Cleveland Indians mascot Slider has done a lot for his favorite team over the years. 

He's boogied to the radio hits of the day on the roof of the team's bullpen while wearing crutches.

He's sent foil-wrapped hot-dogs from slingshots into the stands.

He's cheered through unbearable heat, torrential rain, and yes, in this Rustbelt town, even swirling snow.

But one thing he hasn't done for this proud franchise is bring home a winner. And some of the teams' players and management are starting to take notice.

"Oh, he's a cute character and all," said Tribe outfielder Grady Sizemore. "Puffy. Hairy. Purple. Heck, he reminds me of my dad. But there's just something..."

"I don't know. He just doesn't inspire me to play my best ball, I guess." 

Skipper Eric Wedge agrees.

"Slider's not really good at getting the guys charged up. I mean, some of these players, they make millions of dollars a year. Plus per diem! It's gonna take more than a couple high fives and thumbs up to get them motivated."

"I just wish he'd mix in a cartwheel now and then. It's really disappointing."

To his credit, Slider has remained as professional as ever, still occasionally covering his eyes to imitate embarrassment, or slapping a knee in a pantomime of laughter.

But the spontaneity seems to be gone. 

"Maybe the spark is missing," said the fuzzy, mauve giant through his perky, young ballgirl interpreter.

"But I know I'm doing the best I can, even if the guys don't think..."

Then he said something that was either, "pickles itch when ignited with propane" or "singing Styx with agnostics is profane."

Unfortunately, the 19-year-old, shorts-clad youngster wasn't able to make it out, so she just shrugged as the mop-like creature crouched over and shook lightly in a silent but obvious display of sadness.

Yes, there are some hurt feelings underneath that non-categorized yet vaguely mammalian fur. Feelings that may one day be healed by an elusive championship. But of course, only time will tell.

Perhaps pitcher Cliff Lee summed it up best:

"I'm not sure why no one has seen this coming," he said. "I mean, Slider's like a giant walrus that's suffering from the Resident Evil virus."

"How the hell is anyone supposed to pitch with a mutant like that staring you in the face?"


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