A certain East Coast mascot has been in the news lately, but the Padres’ own Swinging Friar is quietly one of the best in the game, and he’s done it without antagonizing fans. In a ranking of the Big Four sports mascots, Deadspin placed the humble monk at seventh, making him the third best baseball mascot behind the foul-mouthed Mr. Met and the bizarre Phillie Phanatic. By comparison, the Giants’ Lou Seal sat at 18th while Rockies representative Dinger came in at a pitiful 38. And Arizona’s D. Baxter (who, for some reason, is a bobcat) didn’t even get included.
Of course, it’s no surprise that the Friar stands out. Most of the pro mascots are either generic animals in uniforms or poor imitations of the Phanatic. The few that don’t end up in those categories usually end up being terrifying, like Mr. Redleg or the Yankees’ mascot, Georgie the Fun-Hating Anthropomorphic Razor. But the Friar is not just a delightful character, but he represents the average San Diegan perfectly. His laid back smile, modest beer belly, hatred of pants, and love of sandals are all things that make this America’s Finest City, and that’s why he’s such a wonderful icon.