When the Arkansas Travelers announced the first phase of rebranding last fall — which included unveiling a new logo and a “swamp camo” jersey — the team promised to later unveil a new mascot that they described as “a legendary creature, an omen known to bringing good luck.” Shelly the goofy, buck-toothed horse that served as the team’s mascot since 1996 has been “upgraded” to Ace, a menacing, 7-foot horse. As a horse, even a ‘roided-out bad-guy horse, isn’t typically considered “legendary,” that leaves Otey the Swamp Possum as the hyped one.
Well. Has there ever been a more misguided mascot selection? Custom Characters of Glendale, California, who according to the Travs release have worked with Disney and DreamWorks to create characters, definitely didn’t take a cue from Pogo. This swamp possum is all sharp claws and rat face. True to form, his backstory includes growing up “watching Travs games … from underneath the stands” at Ray Winder. Can’t wait to see the costumed version of Otey, who, by the way, is named in honor of former Travs infielder and groundskeeper R.C. Otey, who passed away several years ago. I’m sure his family is touched.
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, w hich 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.