One of the patents that came up in my search for last week’s baseball post has quite an interesting story, it turns out…
The only patent that mentions the Washington Nationals is U.S. Patent No. D562,530, “Mascot Suit”:
Look familiar to anyone? It didn’t to me, either.
The Nationals are mentioned because there is an article about their mascot, Screech, which the Examiner found to be a pertinent reference. Frankly, I don’t see the resemblance. There’s also sister design patent, D562,531 (strangely not on GooglePatents), for which Screech apparently wasn’t pertinent.
But that assignee certainly sounded odd, if not vaguely
familiar: Trans-Marine Management Corp. of Tampa. They don’t appear to have a
web page, but it’s easy to see that the company has very politically active
employees, has a Cessna registered in its name, and—a ha!—is (or was) owned by
George Steinbrenner. Yep, the
address is even One Steinbrenner Drive.
In fact, it was Trans-Marine that once signed
Tommy John to a
20-year contract as a bonus to his Yankees deal. (Rumor has it that George Costanza was also moonlighting
there while serving as the Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.)
But why would The Boss want a mascot? After all, everybody knows the Yankees are just one of four MLB teams that don’t have a mascot, as beautifully illustrated the other day by the folks at GOOD.
It couldn’t be a Yankees mascot, could it? And if the traditional, no-names-on-jerseys Yankees were going to have a mascot, would it really be this?
Just a little more Googling and there it is: a reference and picture of this “Yankees mascot” at a recent charity event. In pinstripes. Oh my.
The story gets better. The inventor, Felix Lopez, is Senior VP of the Yankees. And he’s Steinbrenner’s son-in-law. In other words, the 26-time World Series champions, who will pay hundreds of millions of dollars for top talent on the field, won’t hire the best graphics designers in the land to come up with an endearing entertainer to keep fans happy in their overpriced seats as they watch their team struggle to make the playoffs. For that, they turn to family.
Yeah, this mascot is kind of cute. But he’s no San Diego Chicken or Phillie Phanatic. For what the Yanks paid, I'd think they'd have done better getting Dancin’ Homer to do the Baby Elephant Walk on the jumbotron.