LouSeal's upset win highlighted several late comebacks in Mascot Mania's first round, but things are about to really heat up as fans help decide the Minors' best mascot.
The Clippers' mascot -- round one's top vote-getter -- pulled ahead of early International League contenders like Toledo's Muddy the Mud Hen and Syracuse's Scooch to advance to the championship round of Mascot Mania, a contest that saw mascots from all 160 Minor League teams battle it out for pride, bragging rights and a championship belt. LouSeal is now one of 14 mascots who will compete for the crown as voting runs from Aug. 1-8 on MiLB.com and Twitter.
One notable mascot will not be around to defend his title, though -- Albuquerque's Orbit, who claimed victory in last year's inaugural Mascot Mania, came up short and finished No. 4 among Pacific Coast League contenders. The belt, proudly worn and displayed at Isotopes Park for a year, is officially up for grabs.
Looking at the Championship Round, LouSeal would appear to be a favorite based on his dominance the past two weeks, although being a seal during Shark Week (and going up against Clearwater's Phinley) may make for bad omens. The finals will feature a battle of beloved San Francisco Giants affiliated-mascots, with San Jose's Gigante temporarily putting his friendship with Fresno's Parker on hold. (It's worth noting that Gigante, who claims to weigh as much as 5,000 bananas, also listed LouSeal as one of his close friends prior to Mascot Mania).
The finals include a pair of relatively new mascots, with Hillsboro's Barley only two months old and Pensacola's Kazoo joining the Minors in 2012. The Championship Round features three birds in Aberdeen's Ferrous, Princeton's Roscoe and Myrtle Beach's sunglasses-wearing Splash Pelican. There's also a matchup of Great Falls' Orbit, who has arguably the largest eyes of any mascot, going up against Erie's C. Wolf, who has only one eye.
And really, what can you say about a college-educated jalapeño wearing a hat? San Antonio's Ballapeno will hope to rally the entire state of Texas behind him.
Here's a look at how things shook out in each of the 14 leagues:
First Round voting results, top 3
|Pacific Coast League|
|Round Rock Express||Spike|
|Pensacola Blue Wahoos||Kazoo|
|Montgomery Biscuits||Big Mo|
|Erie SeaWolves||C. Wolf|
|Portland Sea Dogs||Slugger the Sea Dog|
|San Antonio Missions||Ballapeno|
|Northwest Arkansas Naturals||Sinker the Lake Creature|
|Florida State League|
|Lakeland Flying Tigers||Ace|
|San Jose Giants||Gigante|
|Modesto Nuts||Wally the Walnut|
|Rancho Cucamonga Quakes||Tremor|
|Myrtle Beach Pelicans||Splash Pelican|
|Carolina Mudcats||Muddy the Mudcat|
|Wilmington Blue Rocks||Rocky Bluewinkle|
|Great Lakes Loons||Lou E. Loon|
|West Michigan Whitecaps||Crash the River Rascal|
|South Atlanric League|
|Savannah Sand Gnats||Gnate the Gnat|
|West Virginia Power||Chuck|
|Greensboro Grasshoppers||Guilford the Grasshopper|
|New York-Penn League|
|Brooklyn Cyclones||Sandy the Seagull|
|Vermont Lake Monsters||Champ|
|Spokane Indians||Otto The Spokanasaurus|
|Princeton Rays||Roscoe, The Princeton Ray Rooster|
|Johnson City Cardinals||Jay Cee|
|Great Falls Voyagers||Orbit|
|Missoula Osprey||Ollie Osprey|
When fans vote online or via Twitter, they can also enter for a chance to win a 2014 MLB.TV Premium subscription, a 2014 MiLB.TV yearly subscription, gift certificates for the MLB and MiLB shops and a mascot prize pack, among other prizes.