This week the Chicago Cubs baseball team unveiled its first official mascot Clark, a “young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans”.
Clark’s arrival has been met with widespread anger among supporters who want the team to “concentrate on winning instead” – and the club was not done any favours when a TV channel introduced the mascot using an x-rated spoof image.
Instead of broadcasting the cartoon picture of Clark provided by the club, CSN Chicago featured a version of the trouserless character that had been mocked up and submitted to the sports satire website and Gawker affiliate Deadspin.
On Monday Deadspin slammed the new mascot, describing him as “the product of a design competition held at a furry message board”, and invited readers to send in their own interpretations of the bear.
CSN ended up using one of these – and kept it on screen for a good 10 seconds while the presenters could do little more than laugh.
Clark, described by USA Today’s Ted Berg as “widely reviled”, started posting on Twitter at the start of the week. His first message read: “Still figryuing out how 2 tyype with these big pawz. Will gett lessons from @Cubs. Come back soon!!”
Some fans have been moved to defend the wardrobe choices made by Clark's designers. In the wake of what he or she dubbed “Pants-Gate”, one wrote for the Chicago Now website about the rich tradition of bears not wearing trousers, from Winnie the Pooh to the city's own American football team's Staley, mascot of the Chicago Bears.
“Yet, the only people I have heard complaining about a mascot not wearing pants are the fans of my beloved Cubs,” the supporter said.
Clark made his first public appearance alongside players at an Illinois pediatric ward. He is yet to issue a response to CSN’s unfortunate image choice.