If you outlaw outlaw mascots only outlaws will be outlaw mascots. Or something:
When is a cub, not a Cub? When he isn’t sanctioned by the company which owns the copyright.
That’s the plight of John Paul Weier, who for the last six years, has been playing the role of “Billy Cub”, a cuddly bear figure who strolls the sidewalks outside Wrigley Field, posing for photos and clowning with fans before and after Cub games.
Except Billy Cub is not sanctioned by the Cubs. And he puts out a tip jar in a small Igloo cooler and some people complained to the Cubs when one of his employees cussed them out last year. It’s like the freakin’ wild-wild west. Except fuzzier.
But I gotta say, after this bit, I’m inclined to be on Billy’s side:
Citing allegations of trademark infringement, the League sent Weier a 100-plus page letter, ordering him to stop wearing the Billy Cub costume, and engaging in “unabated Mascot Activities.”
After consulting with a lawyer, he ignored it. And the next day, he said he was confronted by a Cubs executive.
“Someone came up to me, very angry, and said, ‘did you not get our letter?’”
Problem was, Weier was in costume and in character at the time. And since Billy doesn’t speak, he says he just stood there, gesturing and shrugging, as the executive in question got angrier.
“Unabated Mascot Activities?” Yeah, you go with that, MLB.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.