Apparently not everyone is grasping the light-hearted nature of the mascot "interviews" so we thought we'd take this opportunity to clear a few things up:
Originally our plan was to conduct each of these interviews live and in person. However, as you can imagine, this proved to be not only an expensive undertaking (which our present budget just doesn't support) but it is also very difficult to execuite logistically (as sometimes the mascots travel with the team, sometimes they don't - and essentially, we'd need a travel department in order to keep up with all of the necessary arrangements. This too didn't quite fit into our budget).
So we went to plan B: We figured if we couldn't meet with the mascots in person before each series the next best thing would be to conduct the interviews over the phone. Unfortunately, this too proved to be problematic as many of the mascots told us they wouldn't be able to conduct phone interviews. Sadly, telephones aren't really designed for mascots - who generally have over-sized heads (at least when compared to "normal" people). We even followed up with the ADA on this, as the telephone companies seem to be blatantly discriminating against the mascot population. Even more sadly, our pleadings with the ADA fell on deaf ears (no pun intended). If any of you knows someone at the ADA or is familiar enough with the Act to explain how the Act protects mascots, we'd really appreciate it if you would contact us.
After all of that we were left in something of a difficult position. The mascot interview series, which we felt presented a great opportunity for us to preview the Marlins' opponents for Fish fans, who might not always be "in the know" about who and what the Fish are about to face, was in great peril. We just didn't know how to make the interviews come to fruition.
Grover, who had the original idea for the mascot series, felt that the series could go on, even if we weren't able to conduct a "real" or "live" interview with each (or any) mascot in person. He has a solid enough and long standing enough relationship with mascots around the league that he convinced us that this was something that we could pull off. (As a side note, some of you have expressed concern that Grover isn't really "qualified" to conduct these interviews, since he's a Muppet. However, he's the closest thing we have at this site to anyone who's qualified to do anything. He actually holds a college degree in journalism - here's a picture of him at graduation.)
So we've done the interviews - and you may have even read the mascot interviews that we've done before every Marlins series this year. In the early going, it went fairly well. There wasn't much response to the piece with Chief-Noc-a-Homa (which is actually from the old site), but the second interview with Youppi (formerly of the Expos, who represented the Nationals) was significantly more popular, even getting a link from Sports Illustrated's Jacob Luft. The third interview, with the Phillie Phanatic, came off without incident, but the tone of the emails we received definitely changed with the most recent Mets preview.
Granted, Mr. Met was a bit surlier than the previous interviewees, but quite honestly, we didn't expect folks who read the piece to be quite so... well, angry.
Because we get deluged with so many emails daily, one member of our staff dedicates all of his efforts related to this site to reading all of the email we receive (actually, he mostly just scans the email and passes each note on to the appropriate individual on our staff). Normally there's not too much that's inflammatory, but yesterday Yoda felt it necessary to share a number of the emails that he came across with me. Here's what he had to say about them:
In addition, since the response to the Mets preview was so... unusual, we'll talk with Mr. Met next week before the next Marlins - Mets series about the reaction and how we can work together to conduct more harmonizing interviews.
The mascot interview pieces are only meant to be a fun way to look ahead at the Marlins upcoming opponents. Please try your hardest to not get too emotional if you get worked up over something that a mascot says or over something that one of us says to a mascot. If everyone is able to do that, we'll promise to do our best at not insulting your beloved, favorite mascot. It's all just in good fun anyway... well, at least as long as the Marlins win or we make your team's mascot cry.