Tired of the controversy surrounding the use of Native Americans as their mascot, major stockholders in the company that owns the Braves have voted to change the mascot to a dung beetle.
"No one can tell us it bothers their ancestors, and we won't be keeping no mammals in no cages no more, like some of them college teams do, " said Earl P. Hydnik, spokesperson for the company.
Marilyn Sweeney, a PR specialist, was hired by Hydnik to do an ad campaign introducing the new mascot, logo, and a new trademark rallying cry to replace the infamous "chop and holler."
"We're very excited to be chosen for this honor," she said. "The Braves were great for their time, but that time has passed. Now it's time for a new persona that reflects our concern for the rights of human cultures and animal rights, yet maintains a sense of fierce pride and determination to win. The dung beetle does it all. As far as animal rights, beetles are just as well off in captivity as in the wild, probably more so. All we have to supply are a large portable aquarium filled with dirt, a few flies, ants, and the occasional grub, and a little poopy from the manager's dog. And determination? You've never seen anything so small push something so huge and smelly in your life. What better metaphor for the game of baseball than pushing around a giant ball of crap; i.e., your opponent? Huh? Clever, eh?"
Athletic sportswear and equipment companies have already begun churning out t-shirts, caps, stadium seats, jackets, and the like for the 2006 season. One fan, a youngster of eight, was interviewed at the last Braves game.
"Awesome," said Dustin Green of Villa Rica, GA. "It's great. Nobody else has the colors black and brown. Also, I won't get in trouble for saying "poop" and "crap" now, since my parents are big fans. I want the new t-shirt that says, ‘We're not taking any of your sh**,' and has this beetle with huge muscles rolling this ball of crap into a giant toilet. Dung beetles rock!"
A few older fans objected on the grounds they would be ridiculed. Ms. Sweeney addressed this concern at a public forum in Atlanta Underground Friday night.
"It's one of those things you have to get into to understand and appreciate it, sort of like mud wrestling. I did that to put myself through college. Some people think it's disgusting and degrading, but unless you're doing it you can't judge. All us girls were like sisters and we had a blast.
"Same here. When people see the Atlanta Dung Beetles take the other teams down, they'll be the ones being ridiculed. Other teams will be sorry they've stuck by their tired, worn-out, 19th century era mascots when the Dung Beetles make it big. We've even signed a major fashion model to advertise in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue with a very wet Dung Beetle t-shirt and nothing else."
The new rallying cry is a sound produced by licking the heels of one's hands, pressing them on the lips, and blowing. A similar sound can also be produced by inserting a plastic straw into a sweaty armpit and blowing.
Longtime Atlanta baseball fan Arlo Metrie of Wayne, GA, who was part of a sample fan test group, felt reticent about the new cheer at first.
"i kept thinking I wouldbe sent to detention. But once I relaxed,it was the most natural thing in the world. Brought back memories of nights at Scout camp."
Dung Beetle paraphernalia, including a patented, souped-up version of the plastic straw guaranteed to increase the volume of your cheer by 75%, will be on sale in time for the 2005 holiday season.