Israel’s ‘Mensch on the Bench’ Is MVP of World Baseball Classic, But Does He Match Other All-Star Mascots?

mensch

There’s a new mascot on the block: Team Israel’s Mensch on the Bench.

The Mensch rooted on Israel to a shocking 3-0 start in the World Baseball Classic. Player Cody Decker, who acquired the Mensch, is quick to praise the benchwarmer: “He’s a mascot, he’s a friend, he’s a teammate, he’s a borderline deity to our team.”

He is also just one of the amazing mascots who set out to inspire fans and instead traumatized (or at least startled) them. Here are the MVPs (Most Valuable Performers):

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 17: Cincinnati Reds mascot Mr. Redlegs is seen during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on July 17, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Brewers 1-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Cincinnati Reds mascot Mr. Redlegs at Great American Ball Park on July 17, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Yes, Cincinnati’s Mr. Redlegs is pointing to the top of our list. Previously around in a more “clean-shaven” version named Mr. Red, the mustached mascot has been around in one form or another since the 1953 All-Star Game, which was hosted in the Ohio city.

ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 14: The Billikens mascot gives a high five to a little storm trooper during an Atlantic 10 conference basketball game between the Dayton University Flyers and the Saint Louis University Billikens on February 14, 2017, at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, MO. Dayton won, 85-3. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Billikens mascot during a game between the Dayton University Flyers and the Saint Louis University Billikens in February 2017 in St. Louis, MO. (Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

St. Louis Billiken: You’re probably trying to figure out what kind of animal that strange creature sneaking up on the child is. Trick question: It isn’t one. SLU describes the Billiken as a mythical good-luck figure who represents “things as they ought to be.”

FORT WORTH, TX - DECEMBER 06: The TCU Horned Frogs mascot, "Super Frog" performs during the Big 12 college football game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Amon G. Carter Stadium on December 6, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Horned Frongs defeated the Cyclones 55-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The TCU Horned Frogs mascot “Super Frog” performs during the Big 12 college football game against the Iowa State Cyclones . (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

TCU’s Super Frog: Texas Christian University’s “Super Frog” is based on the horned frog, an actual animal, but somehow seems even more monstrous than the Billiken.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 12: Erik Tepper, a senior Penn student, one of four mascot-bearers to adorn the Quaker costume throughout the year, says farewell during in his final home game against the Cornell Big Red during the second half at The Palestra on February 12, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Quakers won 82-63. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Erik Tepper, a senior Penn student, says farewell during in his final home game against the Cornell Big Red at The Palestra on February 12, 2017. (Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

 

Penn’s Quaker: While a fitting tribute to William Penn, still an odd choice of mascot. (Nothing says “We’re going to win!” like a pacifist.) That noted, the Quaker boasts one of the more menacing mascot faces around, whether or not it’s actually being worn.

MIAMI - JANUARY 13: Miami Heat Mascot Burnie attends the 3 Kings Parade on 8th Street January 13, 2008 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Miami Heat mascot Burnie attends the 3 Kings Parade on 8th Street January 13, 2008 in Miami, Florida. (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

 

Miami Heat’s Burnie: Happily, Burnie and his basketball nose only busts out the Speedo on special occasions.

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 19: Xavier Musketeers mascots D'Artagnan the Musketeer and The Blue Blob perform during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Cintas Center on December 19, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Xavier defeated Auburn 85-61. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Xavier Musketeers mascots D’Artagnan the Musketeer and The Blue Blob perform during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Cintas Center on December 19, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

 

Xavier’s D’Artagnan the Musketeer and The Blue Blob: Separate, each of these mascots seems odd. Together, they are unstoppable.

TULSA, OK - JANUARY 28: Tulsa Golden Hurricane mascot working the crowd during the AAC Mens basketball game between the Central Florida Knights and Tulsa Golden Hurricane on January 28, 2017, at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tulsa Golden Hurricane mascot Captain Cane working the crowd during the AAC Mens basketball game between the Central Florida Knights and Tulsa Golden Hurricane on January 28, 2017, at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Tulsa Golden Hurricane’s Captain Cane: The nickname came about because a coach wanted to use “Golden Tornado,” only to discover that was taken. The result is a mascot that looks like a natural disaster.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 12: Stanford Cardinal cheerleaders and the team's unofficial tree mascot perform after a first-round game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stanford won 74-63. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Stanford Cardinal cheerleaders and mascot at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

 

The Stanford Tree: Look to right of the photo above. Then just marvel. What makes the choice even more bizarre about the mascot choice is that the name of the team is the Cardinal — a vivid red color that has little to do with the psychedelic pile of greens the school’s teams ended up with.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 6: Team mascot Steely McBeam of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field on December 6, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Colts 45-10. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Steely McBeam of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field on December 6, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steely McBeam: The Steelers are a rugged team from a rugged steel town. Somehow Steely got lost in translation.

ME.mascot.1201.AAG––kodak[c]––Peter the Anteater entertains passerbys while standing on the wall of a bridge at the UCI Campus in Irvine. The mascot controversy centers over the head of the new costume, with many saying it looks more like that of a giraffe or donkey than an anteater. (Photo by Alex Garcia/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Peter the Anteater stands on a bridge at the UCI Campus in Irvine. The mascot controversy centers on the head of the new costume, with many saying it looks more like a giraffe or donkey than an anteater. (Alex Garcia/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

UC Irvine’s Peter the Anteater: There was an actual debate about whether the anteater mascot looked more like a giraffe or a donkey. This ignored the larger question for the UC Irvine community: Why is our mascot an anteater?

Watch the short video below to see how the Mensch can turn a standard press conference into a magical event.

 

—Sean Cunningham for RealClearLife


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