Sports team mascots are more than warm bodies inside furry costumes. They're athletic, outgoing, comedic, and highly competitive characters who do things like leap through flaming hoops, allow strange children to pull their tails, and shoot stuff out of cannons. Their over-the-top aesthetic and stunts form the basis for comedy guru Christopher Guest's latest mockumentary, Mascots (in theaters October 13).
We recently caught up with Phoenix-area team mascots for some quickie Q&As (though the Arizona Cardinals declined to make their mascot, Big Red, available, so we had to fill in the blanks the best we could).
To paraphrase Guest's iconic This Is Spinal Tap character, Nigel Tufnel, our list goes to seven!
7. Stryker D. Rattler
Team: Arizona Rattlers
Because: He's the biggest snake in the desert!
Weight: Less than a lineman, more than a safety
Trademark move: Sticking my tongue out at ... everyone
Outrageous tricks: Once wrestled an alligator
Favorite food: Lizards, rodents, opposing team's fans
Favorite game-day music: "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
Motto: "Strike as One"
Twitter handle: @StrykerDRattler
6. Howler the Coyote (Canis Howlus Maximus)
Team: Arizona Coyotes
Because: He's a coyote that walks on ice. Wile E. Coyote can't do that.
Height: 6'2" (including the ears)
Costume weight: Jersey weighs three pounds
Trademark move: Arena rail slide
Outrageous tricks: Drum solo, concourse photobomb
Favorite food: Cage-free jackrabbit, organic prickly pear cactus
Favorite game-day music: "Howlin' for You" by the Black Keys, "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin
Motto: "To howl or not to howl ... To howl, of course!"
Twitter handle: @HowlerCoyote
5. D. Baxter the Bobcat
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Because: There may not be a more acrobatic or aerodynamic mascot around (see "Outrageous tricks," below)
Costume weight: More than 200 pounds
Trademark move: Notorious prankster
Outrageous tricks: Rappelling down a building for charity, backflipping into the Chase Field pool, dancing on dugouts
Favorite food: An old-fashioned ballpark hot dog
Favorite game-day music: Anything from the Broadway musical Cats
Motto: "Every Fan, Every Time! Go, D-backs!"
Twitter handle: @DbacksBaxter
Team: Arizona State University Sun Devils
Because: He's a devil with a pitchfork and a silent-movie-villain moustache
Height: 6'2" (including horns)
Costume weight: 185 pounds
Trademark move: Push-ups
Outrageous tricks: Stomp the bus
Favorite food: Wildcat
Favorite game day music: "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC
Motto: "Fear the Fork"
Team: Phoenix Mercury
Because: Scorch shows up at every family event, regardless of whether the Mercury attend. And not to be outdone by D. Baxter, Scorch rappelled down a building in downtown Phoenix, too.
Weight: "I'd rather give my weight on planet Mercury, which is 130 pounds."
Trademark move: Belly roll
Outrageous tricks: Dancing
Favorite food: Hot tamales
Favorite game-day music: Anything by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
2. Big Red
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Because: He gets to bump chests with Larry Fitzgerald
Outrageous tricks: Dancing with the Black-Eyed Peas, nabbing spots on MTV, CNN, ESPN, and the Today show during the 2002 Mascot Convention in New York City
Personal accomplishments: Four-time Pro Bowl-er
Favorite vacation spot: "Hawaii. That's where the Pro Bowl is!"
Favorite food: "Birdseed and gummy worms ... NO chicken wings!"
Favorite book: Where the Wild Things Are
(info via azcardinals.com)
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1. The Gorilla
Team: Phoenix Suns
Weight: 260 pounds of pure muscle
Trademark move: Slam dunk
Outrageous tricks: Monkeying around
Favorite food: Bananas
Favorite game-day music: "Mony, Mony" by Billy Idol
Twitter handle: @SunsGorilla