ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: The Anti-Mascot (2015)

Directed by Colin Hanks

After an uproarious topic such as Sidd Finch in the previous installment of the 30 for 30 Shorts series, perhaps it is only logical to move on to mascots for its next production. In this Colin Hanks directed short, the mascot is explored in a different way than most people think about mascots. When I think about mascots, I imagine the Philly Phanatic, and the current reigning MLB mascot king, Orbit from the Houston Astros (if you are unfamiliar, please peruse YouTube to your own joyous benefit). These often furry friends are marketed to entertain the children out to enjoy a game at the ballpark, often garnering laughs from their adult audience as well. They keep the atmosphere loose and enjoyable for the fans; all except one that is, the anti-mascot.

The anti-mascot, as dubbed in this film, was in fact the Crazy Crab, played by Wayne Doba, an entertainer/mime whose career it is to entertain. In an attempt to mock other mascots in the game, the San Francisco Giants conceived of the crab as a funny commercial. However, with a struggling team on the field, the marketing department decided to put Doba on the field in costume during games. What resulted is nothing short of, well quite honestly, offensive. The San Francisco fans nearly rioted, pelting the helpless costumed entertainer with any and everything they could throw. As the season wore on, Doba’s costume was even reinforced to protect him.
Unfortunately for both Doba and audiences of this short, Hanks does little more than present the story at a superficial level. Mascots are an intriguing topic for a sports documentary, and with The Anti-Mascot, Hanks has managed to pique my interest in seeing such a film. Sadly his film is not that film. True to the mission of the series, the film presents a quirky, off the wall, perhaps forgotten sports story, bringing attention to a topic and a trend that continues today. Some teams may not know it, but with all the awful mascots that are out there, the “anti-mascot” most certainly lives on. Thank heavens for the good ones left like Orbit.

**1/2 – Average

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