Every team needs a mascot, a guy who sits at the end of the bench and who makes an appearance a couple times a week, generally in a pinch or to rest starters in blowout games. This player is often a bit of a goofball, and even more often a guy whose presence on a Major League roster is difficult to come to terms with. When he does something well, the cheers are that much louder for it. Sometimes, even the men paid to talk about the team are amazed when he hits a home run.
While Clark fills the role in an official capacity, Jonathan Herrera was the de facto mascot for the Cubs last year. I mean, who else could have worn that helmet rub thing with nary a trace of irony or embarrassment? It’s like someone wearing a University of Illinois hat (which, by the way, kudos on the athletic department’s new “Hey, at least they’re not Rutgers” slogan) these days. The ability to embrace that crazy homemade headgear, out in public no less, is part of what made Herrera an indispensable member of the team.
With the need to make room on the 40-man roster, however, Herrera was outrighted last November. I can’t imagine he’ll be missed from a baseball perspective, what with the team’s strength at all of the infield positions he played, but he genuinely appeared to be one of those glue guys who everyone liked having around. He’s a guy whose name you’d recite with affection when talking with your buddies about random Cubs players from the past. That’s not to easy to replace. Or is it?
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 21, 2016
The 34-year-old Kawasaki slashed .214/.313/.286 with no home runs and 2 whole RBI for Toronto last season, but his career numbers are significantly better. Well, okay, not really. He’s a lifetime .234/.314/.284 hitter and has a single homer and 50 RBI in 712 total plate appearances. So he’s basically Jon Herrera, only with a lot less power. Yes, that’s possible. No, I didn’t think it was either. So why on Earth did the Cubs make this move?
I’m guessing it had something to do with this:
And just when I started thinking there’s no way this guy makes the 40-man:
I also got to thinking that maybe Jake Arrieta needs a stretching buddy:
And I don’t know what the hell this is, but I like it:
Finally, I present you with these ninja bat skillz:
Who cares that the guy can’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag? Do you realize how much fun the @Cubs Twitter account would have with him? The only thing that gives me pause is the potential resurrection of the Horry Kow shirts and Rising Sun bandanas. Those two items alone might be enough to scuttle my desire to see this guy at Wrigley in 2016. But those GIFs, though.
In all seriousness, I can’t imagine Kawasaki making the roster out of Mesa, if he even makes it to Spring Training. But if he does…buckle up for some hilarity.