Meet ‘Ace’ and ‘Otey’ – New Arkansas Travelers Mascots

 

arkansas travelers mascots

The Arkansas Travelers have officially introduced the ball club’s much-hyped “new mascot” for the 2014 baseball season. Well, there are actually two new mascots, as you can see in the picture. We can’t forget “Otey the Swamp Possum.”

After retiring “Shelly” who had been goofing for fans at the park since the 1996 season, the search was on for a new mascot for the Travelers. During the offseason the team also unveiled a new logo, so the baseball artists and creatives have been busy for the minor league team lately.

Below is the official announcement on the new Arkansas Travelers mascots.

Little Rock - The Arkansas Travelers and Hughes Agency are proud to announce the unveiling of the club’s new mascots for the 2014 season. After a long search conducted by Arkansas’ minor league baseball club and premier staffing agency, they settled on two characters that grew up in Travelers lore. Both mascots hold deep connections to the franchise they will now represent. Introducing the new Travs mascots; Ace and Otey!

Ace is a native Arkansan who grew up rooting for the Travelers. He proudly served his country and upon returning to the Natural State competed and won the Mascot Tryout. With a name like “Ace” of course he is a pitcher and stands at a very menacing 7′ 2″ tall and weighs 501 pounds with a size-36 hoof. As a pitcher Ace’s favorite former Trav player is Los Angeles Angels ace right hander Jered Weaver. When Travs groundskeeper Greg Johnston isn’t looking, Ace sometimes has a chance to enjoy his favorite food; Dickey-Stephens Park Outfield Grass. 

Initially the idea was for just one mascot, but when Ace introduced the Travs and Hughes Agency to his best friend “Otey the Swamp Possum” during the interview process all bets were off. Just like Ace, Otey is also native to the state hailing from Southeast Arkansas. He grew up watching Travs games with his family from underneath the stands at Little Rock’s Ray Winder Field. Otey, who was named after former Traveler infielder and groundskeeper R.C. Otey, claims that he is the Travelers’ “Good Luck Charm”. In fact Otey believes that his superstitions helped the Travs win the 2008 Texas League Championship even though their 62-78 regular season record was the worst for a champion in Texas League history. Otey stands a stout 5 feet tall, he is a fan of second base and the “phantom double play” and his favorite number is .984, which was R.C. Otey’s career fielding percentage.

Ace and Otey were built by Custom Characters of Glendale, California, a company with a wide-array of character-building experience that includes work for The Walt Disney Company, Dreamworks, Peanuts, Warner Bros., Paramount and 20th Century Fox.

UPDATE: We get our first view of Otey the Swamp Possum, courtesy of a television appearance on KARK in Little Rock.

new arkansas travelers mascot Otey the Swamp Possum

A friend of the sports desk offers these thoughts:

Amid the controversy and criticism surrounding the Arkansas Traveler’s new mascot, Otey the Swamp Possum, please consider the following possibilities for full enjoyment and/or exploitation of same:

• The Mighty Marauding Marsupials!

• When the opponent scores the crowd can all flop down and remain motionless until the next pitch. Or maybe the team can. This is what happens when playing possums.

• Kiss our wetlands, Springdale!

• Prosthetic Semi-Prehensile Tail Night! The first 500 kids get a free one!

• New brews from Diamond Bear: Possum Piss Lager and Swampy Stout… mmmmm, good!

• Pssst… C’mere. I got a surprise for ya in my pouch.

• A real-life Road Kill Grill at the concession stand!

• When the Travs score the crowd can HISSSSSSSSS! In unison.

• Possum races for the kids !

• Every game is a Roadkilla Thrilla!

The online reaction from fans, most of which was immediate and critical (with a touch of some great one-liners) is available for you below. We are dying for you to tell us what you think in the comments section below. Do you like these new mascots? Are you offended? Are you a fan? Do you care?

New Arkansas Travelers Mascots twitter response

New Arkansas Travelers Mascots fb 1

The video below is a dramatization of the tough process the Travelers and its staffing agency went through to find the new mascots. Is there a “Rotten Tomatoes” review site for promotional videos?

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  • Andy Hight

    This is what happens when you get Russ Meeks (president of the Travlers) and his deranged view of what the fan experience should be. Did you notice they made the announcement from LITTLE ROCK? The Travelers are located in NORTH LITTLE ROCK. Geographically they think we are somewhere in the bayou with the swamp camo and the swamp rat. To make insults even worse, the swamp rat is named after Travs Legend RC Otey, deceased. What a way to honor a former player by naming your mentally handicapped rodent mascot after him. Bravo to the Travs organization who continues to impress the area by getting dumber.

  • Pingback: Arkansas Travelers’ “Otey the Swamp Possum” As Gateway Mascot to Toothless Meth Head-ism |

  • Travs Fan

    So, a mascot that represents a WALL is ok… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wally_the_Green_Monster
    but an opossum isn’t? I think the new mascots are great and I think they will be a huge hit with the kids. Even the beloved WALL mascot got mixed reviews at first:

    Wally the Green Monster is the official mascot for the Boston Red Sox. His name is derived from the Green Monster, the nickname of the 37-foot 6-inch wall in left field at Fenway Park. Wally debuted on April 13, 1997 to the chagrin of many older Red Sox fans. Although he was a big hit with children, older fans did not immediately adopt him as part of the franchise. As of 2009, Wally has become more accepted by Red Sox fans of all ages, largely due to broadcaster Jerry Remy creating stories about him and sharing them during televised games.

    Why does the opossum have to be “hillbilly”? We Arkansas proudly support Boll Weevils and Muleriders, but we can’t accept an opossum?

  • Larry

    The poor horse walks around in the video like he has a corn cob up his butt and his name is upside down. This is pretty terrible in both concept an execution. Speaking of execution, you know what most Arkansans do with opossums? Exactly what should be done with that one. Don’t slight a former player by “honoring” him with a rodent themed mascot. It’s a backhanded compliment at best.

    • swiffer

      Yeah this is just a bad design for several reasons. First off outside of the ballpark you would have no idea this is The travs mascot. By wearing what looks like a Canadian Mounties uniform rather than a team jersey, it has no ties to the baseball team other than one small hard to see logo on his chest. The enormous feet will make it hard for the mascot to move around. The head that rests on the shoulders means the mascot cannot move/animate its head making for a stiff/Frankenstein shuffling performance. The possum does look like a hillbilly stereotype, again not wearing anything logo or uniform wise to tie it to the team. Shell did look like a donkey beast, but these two are poor replacements.

  • DCS

    I miss Bill… Valentine, that is.