Condors are majestic creatures. The California Condor, which historically ranged across the West Coast and Southwest (and even to Florida way back in the day), is the largest land bird in North America. In the late 1980s the California Condor went extinct in the wild, due to poaching and various types of environmental destruction. Successful captive breeding programs have bolstered the population to around 400, over half of which roam freely in the wild.
Just because the California Condor is no longer on the brink of extinction, that doesn’t mean that the long-term future of the species is anywhere close to secure. One of the biggest threats comes from the expansion of oil and gas drilling, including fracking, in places like the Los Padres National Forest.
Condors are a good—and frankly underused—mascot for sports teams and schools, like Canyon Middle School, which this author is a proud alumnus of. It is also the mascot for minor league hockey’s Bakersfield (Calif.) Condors, formerly of the ECHL. You may remember when their live Condor terrifyingly got loose during a game a couple of seasons ago.
This summer there was a game of minor league hockey franchise musical chairs. The Condors relocated to Norfolk, Va. to become the Norfolk Admirals, while the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons relocated to Bakersfield. The team formerly known as the Barons held a contest to name the new team, and the fans in Bakersfield voted to stick with the Condors. This was the new logo the team came up with:
The two mascots, Colonel Claw’d and Baby Cal, were condors held over from the previously regime. But apparently the Bakersfield Condors—or more accurately their owners, the Oilers Entertainment Group, the same group that owns the Edmonton Oilers—decided two mascots weren’t enough, and today unveiled a third:
That’s right, the new mascot for the Bakersfield Condors is an “oil-themed, superhero mascot.” That’s a really bad mascot! Objectively, it looks like a orangeish penis with a smiley face wearing a cape, and if you gave any normal person 20 guesses as to what the mascot was, they wouldn’t guess an oil drop because why would anybody make an oil drop a mascot? And then, of course, there is the obvious irony of a team named after a bird on the State of California’s threatened and endangered list unveiling a mascot that represents one of the very things threatening and endangering that bird. Fans of the team have had the appropriate reaction:
The good news here is that the fans of the Bakersfield Condors have a chance to have their say once again. The team is hosting a naming contest—sponsored by the totally cool sounding groups Kern Citizens for Energy and Petroleum Club of Bakersfield—for the new “oil-themed, superhero mascot.” If there’s any justice in this world, fans will only submit ironic and/or dumb names for this dumb mascot. Here are a few already:
Photo via David McNew/Getty