Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

The Fremont Troll’s Nephew Makes a Splash in Seattle

The newest NHL team, the Seattle Krake,n named their first mascot during their second season of existence.

Buoy the six-foot sea troll becomes the 43rd-ever mascot in the National Hockey League and is currently one of 31 active personalities in the league, leaving the New York Rangers as the only team without a mascot.

Buoy made his debut this past Saturday, Oct. 1, in a preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks by flying in from the rafters of Climate Pledge Arena.

The Seattle Kraken started its mascot creation during the first season in 2021 and tried many ways to bring the Kraken to life. Seattle’s senior vice president of marketing and communications Katie Townsend explained to how the team wanted their mascot to feel different and why they didn’t choose a Kraken as a mascot.

“We talk about Kraken as living in the theater of the mind,” Townsend said. “It’s a mysterious beast. It was a fairly obvious choice that we would not go with a Kraken but would do a deep dive led by Lamont and team to examine what is the right mascot for the city, for the fans, and for the brand.”

The Kraken front office did exactly that as they paid homage to the Fremont Troll, a famous sculpture that “lives” under the Aurora Bridge. The Fremont Troll was built in 1989 during an art competition, which was meant to help clear the area of drug use under the bridge. The Fremont Troll is the “uncle” of Buoy the Sea Troll.

Buoy will have his hands full of criticism from the league’s fans being the newest mascot since Gritty, the creature from Philadelphia, but Seattle is prepared to take on the storm as Buoy makes his regular season debut on Oct. 15 when the Vegas Golden Knights take the trip to Climate Pledge Arena.

Playoff Picture

The leaves are changing and falling, pumpkin is a flavor for coffee, beer and muffins, and the NFL has already gone through a fourth of their season. These are all indicators that it’s time for the most electric baseball of the year.

On Friday, Oct. 7, 12 teams will start the postseason race toward the Commissioner’s Trophy. The playoffs are closer than you think and this part of the column will be a breakdown of how the teams stand for each division.

AL East

This division had a lot of competition for the second and third place finishes throughout most of the season.

There were flashes of excellence from the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen and even the Boston Red Sox’ overpaid offense. But in the end, the New York Yankees stayed on top, as they are on pace to reach 100 wins.

New York clinched the division as well as the second seed in the American League, while their AL East counterparts the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays have clinched two out of the three AL Wild Card spots. Although the Orioles were only four games behind the Rays, they will be sent packing with the Red Sox.

AL Central

The playing ability really shifted between these five teams throughout the season, showing how long baseball is and how important depth is at the major and minor league levels.

The Cleveland Guardians took the division championship in their first year as the “Guardians” while being the youngest team in the league in 2022 and even reached the 90-win mark.

The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers had disappointing outcomes, but both teams’ front offices didn’t change their rosters too much to allow for any growth in the new year. The Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox put up a good effort throughout 2022 but fell off these last couple of months of the season.

AL West

Rounding out the American League was a middle-of-the-pack division.

The Los Angeles Angels started off strong tying with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball, but their team’s success quickly fell apart. The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics never really had much to hope for going into this season as they each finished under 70 wins. The Seattle Mariners surprised the baseball world when they clinched one of the AL Wild Card spots, breaking the longest playoff drought of 21 years out of any of the active MLB teams.

Just like the Yankees, the Houston Astros ran the AL West and will finish with the best record in the American League, securing the number one seed on the left side of the bracket.

NL East

The Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins finish out 2022 at the bottom of the division, while the top three teams are still playing for their seedings.

The Philadelphia Phillies will try to win at least two out of three games in Houston to stay in the Wild Card race, while the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves duke it out for the division championship. Both teams have clinched playoff berths and are approaching 100 wins on the season after a one-sided affair in Atlanta this weekend. 

NL Central

One Wild Card team leads to another as the Milwaukee Brewers are two games behind Philadelphia, and will play their last three games at home against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.

With the NL Central champs the St. Louis Cardinals eight games ahead of Milwaukee, the “Brew Crew” will be at the mercy of the Phillies at the end of the season. The Cardinals get the sendoff fans wanted with veterans Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols getting one final chance at a World Series ring.

The Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates all gave underwhelming performances for the season, while having some of the best prospects of the league. The tides can change in the next decade as the NL Central is always up for grabs.

NL West

The Los Angeles Dodgers have not only clinched their division but have officially been deemed the regular season champions with the best record in baseball.

The San Diego Padres are the only National League team to know going into the postseason that they will play in the first round. San Diego flipped the script from 2021, as did their cross-state rival the San Francisco Giants, who went from a top NL team to the middle of the barrel. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are the National League equivalent of the Texas Rangers and the Oakland A’s – you can’t expect much, and can only hope for cheap tickets. 

As the postseason approaches faster than ever, these seedings will lock into place and fans will enter the last month of baseball before Spring Training and the fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic.

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.