Creepiest mascots in sports history

Everyone loves mascots. You know, those cuddly cartoon characters with oversized heads that roam the sidelines of sports events cajoling fans to cheer at their nutty antics. Yeah, they're great. Except for the part where they are almost universally creepy beyond measure. The giant eyes with their fixed stare. The mouth, always set in a psychotic leer. The fact that there's a living human being trapped inside. Horrifying.

So which of these anthropomorphized hellspawn are the absolute worst of the worst? Here's a look at the creepiest sports mascots of all time.

King Cake Baby

This abomination from the New Orleans Pelicans is so horrifying, it just about makes the rest of the list redundant. The Pelicans claimed this thing was created to celebrate some arcane New Orleans tradition that involves baking an effigy of a baby into a cake, which … what the heck? But to me, it looks like they were pitching ideas for next Exorcist sequel. The King Cake Baby is just so fundamentally wrong on every possible level, it makes me wonder if sports are really worth it.

Hip Hop the Rabbit

Hard to believe but, once upon a time, someone associated with the Philadelphia 76ers actually said, out loud, some version of this sentence: "we should get a giant, bizarrely muscular rabbit that wears a do-rag and shades and have him do tricks at halftime." Normally, someone would then follow that up by saying, "put down the peyote, Bill." But no. Instead, the Sixers created Hip Hop and his sidekick, Lil' Hip Hop. You know, people trash the current Sixers ownership for being terrible at basketball, but to their credit, they did at least decide to kill off Hip Hop once and for all. And you thought that was Kreayshawn's fault.

Neve and Gliz

If you've ever shouted "dear god, what is that thing?!" you were probably either at a Princess Bride singalong party, or you just caught sight of Neve and Gliz, the mascots for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. For the record, the designer of these two walking nightmares claims that they are a humanized snowball and ice cube, who represent friendship and joy. I have to assume that the concepts of friendship and joy are very, very different in Italy, because to me they look suspiciously like those animated representations of suicidal thoughts you see in anti-depressant commercials.

WuShock

I'm not the first person to point out that the mascot for Wichita State University looks uncommonly like Gordon Ramsay with jaundice. In fact, WuShock is meant to be a fighting mad shock of wheat. Which … same thing. There have been several variations of WuShock since he first appeared in 1948, but they share one defining trait: they are all insanely creepy. Even worse? WuShock probably has the highest levels of gluten of any mascot in America. No thanks.

Billiken

The Billiken had a long and strange history even before it became the mascot of St. Louis University. Created around the turn of the 20th century, the Billiken was kind of like the Buddha crossed with Gollum. For some reason, this sparked a craze both in America and in Japan, with people intentionally seeking out and buying these things for their homes, which is the opposite of my instinct: to set them on fire and then run for it. The St. Louis mascot is probably the creepiest Billiken around, if only because it can move of its own free will, meaning at any given time you could turn and catch it peeking through your bathroom window. Why do people do this to us?

Boltman

Maybe the creepiest thing about the San Diego Chargers' Boltman is the fact that he's not even an official mascot. That's right: a fan named Dan Jauregui actually decided to become his own nightmare by creating a Boltman costume and wearing it to every game. Things took a bizarre turn, though, when he signed a deal with the Chargers to become their official mascot, only to sue them later for breach of contract when they didn't pay him. According to the lawsuit, the Boltman costume cost $15,000. Here's a tip: you can achieve the same effect for free by punching yourself in the nethers. You're welcome.

Wenlock and Mandeville

If you thought nothing could quite be as creepy as Italian Olympic mascots Neve and Gliz, the 2012 London Games have something to say to you: "challenge accepted!" Say hello to Wenlock and Mandeville, which strongly resemble those wriggly things you see in a drop of swamp water under a microscope, only huge and with one giant, staring eyeball. Wenlock and Mandeville starred in a series of animated cartoons and had their own theme song titled "On a Rainbow." Google at your own risk.

Jünter

Jünter is the official mascot of the German soccer team Borussia Mönchengladbach, which is also the sound you'll make in the back of your throat when you begin dry heaving in terror at the sight of this psychotic horse-thing. He's named for one of the team's most beloved players, the legendary (?) Günter Netzer. Boy, what an honor that is. Jünter also has his own column in the team's magazine, as well as a section on their homepage. I'd link to it, but I don't want to be named as an accessory to a thought crime.

Suri

Here are the facts as we know them: created for the 2011
Copa Americana in Argentina (that's a soccer tournament), Suri is supposed to
be a rhea, which is a kind of flightless bird like an ostrich. And here are the
opinions as we know them: this thing is a nightmare inducing horror of
Lovecraftian proportions. Literally so, because non-Euclidean geometry is
the only way you can explain the head and neck on this thing. Not to mention
the eyes. And those eyebrows. Let's just
move on before we all go completely mad.

Dandy

Finally, there's the hilarious story of Dandy, which is what the New York Yankees named this thing. Get it? Yankee? Dandy? Yes, it's a hilarious "Yankee Doodle" joke. The real joke was on the Yankees, though. See, back in 1978, nutso owner George Steinbrenner found out that the Phillie Phanatic was making a ton of money for the Phillies. Being greedy, he decided to commission a mascot for the Yankees. One problem: both he and everyone else associated with the team hated mascots. As a result, despite signing Dandy to a two-year contract, New York only used him for a few weeks, essentially paying him not to play for the rest of his deal. Just like A-Rod!