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Hey kids, want this fella at your next birthday party or family get-together? It's Screech, the loveable mascot for the Washington Nationals. Screech won't harm you! Come back โ€” fleeing headlong through heavy traffic like that is dangerous! Hey, it's Screech ... don't cry! ...

Actually, to us, this mascot kind of resembles the baby chicken hawk in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons. Or, a readers put it, "It kinda looks like an oversized marshmallow Peep. ... And makes us all want to kind of die inside." Our question: Why are all new mascots seemed designed in the most horrifying ways possible, as if a delirious Hunter S. Thompson were still alive and producing them in his basement? Take a look at Junction Jack, for instance. The jackrabbit mascot of the Houston Astros is classic nightmare fuel, and quite possibly rabid. Can you imagine this coming up behind you on a dark street?

Mascots are serious business, though. The Astros charge $500 an hour for Jack to show up at birthday parties, supermarket openings, bar mitzvahs, whatever. It's not like the old days, when most interaction with costumed mascots simply involved you sneaking up on the Phillie Phanatic and kicking him in what you estimated to be his nuts.

So that's it โ€” we call a moritorium on freaky team mascots. A cooling-off period where we can all meet and figure out what went so horribly wrong. Thanks for listening to us on this important issue.

Baseball's Other World Series Pitch: Hire the Mascot, $500/Hour [Bloomberg.com]
The Newest Eagle Has Landed [Washington Post]