Scorch, the mascot for the Adirondack Flames, died in a blaze of, er, glory, last weekend before appearing in his first game for the team. Seeing as he killed a fire fighter, perhaps it was all for the best that he was banished before his career began.
More than anything, I want to meet the guy (or woman) who stood up in the planning meetings for the Adirondack Flames this summer and said the following: “Hey everyone, I have a great idea. Let’s give our new mascot a name that conjures up recollections of a fire that almost destroyed our whole town once.” (Slow clap follows.)
Suffice it to say, it has been an inauspicious debut for Calgary’s American League farm team in Glens Falls, New York. At its first news conference, the dais was adorned with a banner that had Calgary’s flaming ‘C’, then Adirondack’s flaming ‘A’, followed by the ‘C’ then the ‘A’. Which seems innocuous enough until you realize that it spells, C-A-C-A. Flaming C-A-C-A, no less.
On the ice, the Flames are 0-2-0 and have been outscored 11-2, so they’ve got that going for them. And in their first game of the season, resident meathead Trevor Gillies got himself suspended for 12 games with an act as senseless as you’re going to see on the ice this season.
But in what can only be described as a scorched earth policy, the Flames killed their mascot before he could even appear at one game to scare the living daylights out of one child. And it had nothing to do with the fact that he looked like something that was created by a primary school’s home economics class.
“Scorch has been extinguished,” said Zach Dooley, the Flames director of communications and community relations. “I think you can probably imagine why.”
You mean aside from the fact that he’s supposed to appeal to kids and he’s a flaming ball with a puck for a head? You mean that he’s supposed to represent the last ember from an 1864 fire that took out much of the town? The Halifax Explosions has a nice ring to it. What about the New Orleans Saints changing their name to Katrinas?
Not sure where any of this ever seemed like a good idea, but the Flames didn’t stop there. When they unveiled Scorch, they did so with a video skit that culminated with him essentially killing a fire fighter, then doing a little dance to celebrate. “While it seemed in good taste when it was on the drawing board,” Flames president Brian Petrovek said in a statement, “it is now evident that it was in poor taste.”
Ya think? No, uh, kidding. That ought to have the little ones, and the pyromaniacs, in the fan base flocking to him.
This actually isn't the first time a team has used Scorch for its mascot. The Wales Rugby Union has a mascot of the same name, but it's a cuddly dragon patterned after the dragon on the country's flag. The Bloomington Blaze of the Southern Professional League had a mascot named Scorch, but the dude was a fireman. The Phoenix Mercury has its own Scorch, but it's a blue thing that doesn't seem to be anything in particular.
Scorch did not appear at the Flames first home game, a 5-1 loss to the Albany Devils, and he will now be mothballed. It’s too bad, really. Because aside from the controversy, Scorch was so bad that he might have actually turned out to be good, sort of like the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space. “He seems to be getting a bit of a cult following,” Dooley acknowledged.
The team has yet to replace Scorch, and Dooley said it’s looking at, “a few options.” Here’s a hint. Don’t go for the low-hanging fruit. Something nice and cuddly and harmless would be nice. And perhaps a creature that doesn’t, you know, kill people.