For those of you who are still with us and have not closed this window, we’d like to take this opportunity to say “thanks for hanging around” given the fact that we were stuck with no other choice to lead with that image.
Mascots aren’t really necessary when it comes to the competitive nature of the game. Most of us could do without them, but here again the business of sports is a business first and foremost. Part of that business is selling the product to children, which is huge for planting the seed of fandom in a young whippersnappers’ heart.
Unfortunately, all children’s entertainment is awful now. It was awful before, but there’s no way that you would have sat through the entertainment we shovel into our children’s eyes and ears. In the age of Transformers and Fraggle Rock, Barney the dinosaur would have been given a healthy dose of GHB at the local Public Television Christmas party and lynched very early on in his career.
So that’s why even after a couple of front office twits at the front office of the New Orleans Pelicans had made a few questionable decisions regarding how their product would appear to the younger generation, I found myself surprised when I saw the figure mentioned in the picture above. That individual is the new seasonal mascot for the New Orleans Pelicans, and he is affectionately known as “King Cake Baby”.
If it seems like I skipped a majority of the story and most of the details that surround it, that’s because that’s the case. But what I hope to focus on in this piece is just what makes it so disturbing in the first place. So here are six reasons why the New Orleans Pelicans new mascot is horrifying.
1. It’s not a pelican
Call me crazy, but in most cases mascots are supposed to be representative of a team’s particular nickname. Exceptions would have to be the Heat (primarily due to fire safety regulations) and the Thunder. (likely due to the inability to hire God for home games) If your team nickname is the Vikings, I expect to see something guy that looks like he’s just been kicked out of a Swedish Black Metal band trying to rally the troops. But what’s worse here is, they already DO have a mascot, and it is a pelican.
Most sports fans would argue that there’s no need for one mascot, let alone two. That’s why this is so startling. The new mascot is supposedly one of three “seasonal” mascots that the Pelicans are unleashing during Mardi Gras. That’s right, a festival that is full of debauchery, drug use, and excessive alcohol consumption is being represented at a basketball game by an infant. Which leads me to my second point…
2. Regardless of the tradition of the “King Cake Baby”, this triggers a connection between said mascot and the adult diaper fetish community
This is something that I feel very strongly about, because I’m sorry but the whole “adult diaper” thing is not a fetish, it’s a sickness. While I am usually willing to listen to both sides of any argument, I refuse to accept that it’s okay to dress up like a child and soil yourself past the age of four. Pack that on top of the fact that most people who have adult diaper fetishes are well into their forties, and you’ve got a recipe for something that’s not good for society no matter how you look at it.
Seeing an individual of normal height in a baby costume takes your brain straight to that place. If you know what the adult diaper fetish community is, you see King Baby Cake and it immediately becomes a crime scene from CSI. Conversely, if you are too young to understand what it is but can still sense that something is wrong there, Mom and Dad are going to have some questions to answer when the game starts up again. And if you are somewhere between those two things and you have just found out what the Adult Diaper Fetish community is that morning, then there aren’t a whole lot of situations where you will end your night without a gun in your mouth.
If I may repeat myself, participating in this behavior is not okay. This can’t be written off as one of those “To each his own” things. Those people dress up like infants and have sex each other. I won’t allow it, no apologies. In fact, I felt so strongly about the subject that I actually put together an article on the entire adult baby subculture a few years back and I would post a link to it here but for some odd reason it has been deleted.
3. Most people outside of New Orleans that have never been to Mardi Gras have any idea what the King Baby Cake tradition even is
One of those people is yours truly, because I wasn’t aware of this until it was explained to me. I was completely done with my first point before I even realized what this was. What it essentially means is that they bake a tiny plastic baby into a cake, and then the person who finds the baby finds themselves upon good fortune. According to Maria Vultaggio of the International Business Times (who is hands down my favorite Hispanic writer when it comes to shit I have no desire to read about) the most important meaning of the King Baby Cake is as follows…
“The icing on the King Baby Cake sums up key symbolism: purple for justice, green for faith and yellow for power. Furthermore, the baby represents the “king” (infant Jesus), and it is believed that the person who finds the baby will have good luck and is sometimes expected to host next year’s Mardi Gras Party”
Now, I’m torn here because although baking a baby in a cake gives me plenty of room to make countless jokes regarding abortion and SIDS, it’s also incredibly stupid. And what is this “expected to host next year’s Mardi Gras Party” shit all about? What if I was in town and just wanted a piece of cake? Now I have to host a party? And what happens if as you are cutting a slice of cake you sever the plastic baby in half? Does that mean you’ll have bad luck? I don’t understand, but in my defense this situation opens a Pandora’s Box of countless questions that can only be half-answered by people who are so drunk they actually believe that Mardi Gras is a real thing to begin with.
How does this relate to the rest of the country and the other nations where the NBA is popular? Because we don’t know the story, we just assume that this is a joke and a horrible business decision. We don’t want to hear the story because we don’t care to hear the story, especially if the centrifugal portion of the story involved a plastic baby being cooked into a cake that was turned into a professional sports mascot. The Onion couldn’t have fucking made this story up, and they have some of the best people in the business working for them.
4. They explained the re-tooling of the original mascot by saying he had a broken nose
This is something that is very near and dear to my heart because it’s my belief that we have to stop lying to children in this country if we expect to show any signs of progress. And yes I am going to come off of a bit of a grump here, but let me explain myself. This includes but is not limited to: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Indian guy from the Black Eyed Peas, and the Tooth Fairy. Although they can make for good stories, what is happening here is kids are being taught that it’s okay to lie as long as you can explain that it’s a lie later in life.
So before the season, Pierre the Pelican was introduced to the media and fans. He was an odd looking creature that for some reason didn’t look like a pelican at all. But most importantly, he scared the hell out of the little kids that were coming to the games so the marketing department at the front office of the Pelicans had to do something.
As fate would have it, that “something” was to come up with this bullshit story about how Pierre the Pelican will have reconstructive surgery for “a broken beak,” which it reportedly suffered after running into a basket stanchion during a game with other mascots. That’s a real thing that happened that the media actually had to report. If that’s not enough to blow your mind to high hell, read this:
“This will be a rather unconventional surgery for us,” Pelicans team physician Dr. Matthew McQueen said in a statement. “I am not sure we have something to compare this to. It will be quite complicated and will require the use of some unconventional tools and instruments to reconstruct his beak.”
Get the fuck out of here. Seriously? They have the team doctor playing along with this shit too? Will Chris Gaines be the halftime entertainment for the rest of the season, complete with “Behind The Music” clips from Billy Joel – or someone else who should clearly know better? I’m surprised PETA didn’t chime in and bitch about the “broken beak”. The reason that you “don’t have something to compare it to” is because it’s a figment of someone’s imagination, and the only reason you’re there in the first place is because it’s the only medical job in that God-awful state that won’t get you every strand of hepatitis.
5. Isn’t this just re-rolling out the “dancing baby” thing from 15 years ago?
If I remember correctly, when the internet was first really breaking through into all of our lives there was a clip of a portly animated baby who would dance. It was even on that awful TV show starring the chick that had the eating disorder that was fucking Harrison Ford for a brief period of time. Don’t believe me? It was real…Here’s the info to prove it…
So wouldn’t this be some bizarre form of infant-related copyright infringement? Toddler plagiarism maybe? I don’t see how a baby that gets on a basketball court is any different from the animatronic tub of lard that even Ellen DeGeneres wouldn’t dance with. It’s just not very inventive at all.
And for the record, isn’t “King Baby” actually the title of a CSI episode? Yes, it is. And doesn’t comedian Jim Gaffigan have a comedy special called “King Baby”? He sure does. What’s my point here? That this is just basically a rip-off of several different things, coming from a marketing department who has no idea what the fuck they are doing representing a team entirely devoid of an identity.
6. Last but not least, the kids should be scared to death of this
Kids are scared of a lot of stuff that’s not really scary. I’ll give you an example. When I was in third grade, our teacher gave us a reward for some mindless task and that reward happened to be a VHS viewing of the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I bawled my eyes out because I had seen portion of that movie at a neighbor’s house and it scared the shit out of me. I sat there and listened to headphones while the rest of the class watched a movie where a coked out of his gourd Gene Wilder put on a top hat and took five children who were complete strangers on a tour of his candy factory.
On second thought, I stand by my decision. Although I was embarrassed as hell at the time, now I understand. But this is different. There’s no “stop being a pussy” here…If you take your kid to a Pelicans game and they are frightened by King Cake Baby, you should treat them to a reward of their own…like going to see a real pro basketball game, or (I don’t know) not raising them in fucking New Orleans, Louisiana? Just a thought…
Your kid being scared of any New Orleans Pelicans mascot should be nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s probably a sign that their decision making skills have progressed, and they’re ready to separate the baby-sitters of the world from the child-molesters that live in the house down the street where the lights are never on.
I remember back in the day VanOpdorp and Chowski went to work down at the Sugar Bowl one year. It was before the hurricane and all of the aftermath that followed in the Gulf Coast area. Chowski likes to take a lot of photographs and one of the more telling photographs from that trip was a picture he took at night of an empty stroller. It was posted on their fridge for years afterwards, and I wish I had it to post here because it’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.
So being the curious guy that I am, I can’t help but wonder if the kid that was at one point in that stroller grew up to be the guy who now has to wear the baby costume at Pelicans games. It’s a longshot, but it’s an interesting thought nonetheless. But either way, I think we can all agree that this is horrifying to children and adults alike. People in sports marketing need to take a step back and ask themselves things like “What would I think about this if I had a real job and not a degree in sports marketing?”.
Maybe then King Cake Baby would never leave his crib.