Let’s hear it for the Weasels

Tim Muir is an amateur historian and aspiring humorist

The contest to name the new Chico baseball team is over, but citizens missed a golden (league) opportunity to consider a mascot unheard of in any sport, at any level—a small fearless fighter, albeit sneaky, but nonetheless a legitimate representative, give the fact there are sports teams calling themselves the gophers, badgers and wolverines.

Fans could have restored an animal to Butte County that, although uncommon, was a newsworthy sighting in June, 1914: “Deer running down the business streets and trout being caught inside the city limits have nothing on the latest capture of wild game in Chico. A weasel, a rare animal in this section and especially inside the city limits, was captured in a trap yesterday morning by Charles Thompson at his home at Sixth and Cherry streets. Thompson has had numerous chickens killed at his home recently and set a trap for the chicken thief. Yesterday he found the weasel in the trap as his reward.”

Yes, the Chico Weasels! Imagine the anguish league rivals would experience traveling to Chico in mid-summer to face the dreaded Weasels! How intimidating, although intimidation has no place in sport, certainly not.

Personified, weasels are usually portrayed as villains or criminals, but the Steinhaus Brewery, of Paso Robles, has seen fit to name one of its beers “Fat Weasel Ale,” available at Trader Joe’s, but since Trader Joe’s is/isn’t coming to Chico anytime soon, no sense recommending it as the official beer of the Chico Weasels.

The late Frank Zappa titled an early album “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” and named one of his children Dweezil, but the creature seems to have escaped mascotdom.

So, how to make a weasel mascot child-friendly and lovable? Costume color and attire could help, but adopting the obvious team theme song, the famous nursery tune, “Pop Goes the Weasel!” would do the trick! It could be played before the start of games and after Weasel home runs, the crowd merrily singing that old, familiar lyric as the batter rounds the bases. One could imagine opposing pitchers intentionally walking Chico’s power hitters just to avoid even the possibility of hearing that infernal tune!

And instead of fans swinging rubber chickens over their heads, the ballpark specialty, chicken franks known as Weasel Dogs or Weasel Weenies could be offered at half-price the following inning.

The rally train of old could be dubbed the Weasel Diesel, the ballpark nicknamed the Chicken Coop, and doing the funky chicken during the late innings would likely generate a home-team frenzy!

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, your own Chico Weasels!”

But I suspect they’ll be called something else.