Two Reasons the Cubs Created a New Mascothttp://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/14/two-reasons-the-cubs-created-a-new-mascot.aspx Jake Mann
January 14, 2014
The Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series in 105 years. You know it, I know it, heck, my grandma knows it and she hasn't watched a baseball game since the Bicentennial. Still, despite the team's continual disappointment, it managed to rejoin one of the sport's oldest fraternities this week.
The move could even help the Cubs make more money while raising the Win Flag more often in the process.
The mascot fraternity
Yesterday, the Cubs joined this group, leaving only the Angels, Dodgers, and Yankees without an official mascot.
Officially, he's the franchise's first mascot in "modern history," but astute fans will note it also employed a live black bear named Joa in 1916.
Clark is a bit more cuddly, and clearly was designed to be "hip." Why was he created?
Success on the diamond
In a mid-summer game in 2000, the Los Angeles Angels (then the Anaheim Angels) were losing to the San Francisco Giants by a single run. After video board operators introduced a jumping monkey with the phrase "Rally Monkey" in the bottom of the ninth, the Angels rallied and won the game. Two years later, the monkey's presence coincided with a comeback win in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, leading to an eventual championship.
The phenomenon occurred again with the St. Louis Cardinals' "Rally Squirrel." After the surprise appearance of a squirrel in three consecutive NLDS games in 2011, the Cardinals went on to win that year's World Series.
Do I think an animal can magically spur a baseball team to victory? Of course not.
But can a new mascot -- official or otherwise -- unite a team psychologically, leading to better performance on the diamond? Perhaps.
Multiple empirical studies link team cohesion with team success, and it makes sense. The closer teammates are to one another, the more likely they are to win. In theory, the introduction of a mascot is simply an attempt to boost team cohesion. It's hard to imagine Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo bonding and playing better together because of Clark, but that's not the only reason for the new mascot.
The Cubs' decision to introduce Clark into the Chicago comm