Origin stories for sports mascots are easy: they shouldn’t exist.
Fans don’t need an in-depth reason for why a giant dancing chicken represents the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies fans still cheer without a scientific explanation for their green, hairy cheerleader, the Phillie Phanatic.
The Adirondack Flames, a minor league hockey team from Glen Falls, New York, apparently decided their mascot was a little too hard to accept with a backstory.
Enter: Scorch the Flame, Adirondack’s mascot who also moonlights as a bully to firefighters.
Looking like an object to avoid from a boss level in Super Mario Bros., and according to a story from the Glenn-Falls Post Star, Scorch has been causing some serious havoc throughout the city for a while.
He is the lone surviving flame from the fire that destroyed much of Glens Falls in 1864.
Scorch was supposedly a smoldering ember in Bride and Gown, which was originally Calvin Robbin’s blacksmith shop (one of the few buildings in the Glens Falls business district to survive the fire).
Scorch the Flame then overpowered a firefighter, showing his strength.
In telling of his story, Scorch overpowered a firefighter. That happened. pic.twitter.com/ZIpW7Qmw5l
— Diana C. Nearhos (@dianacnearhos) October 9, 2014
The reaction to Scorch was understandably negative, with fans unhappy with a mascot that beats up firefighters and helps with fires that decimate a town. The team quickly responded to fans’ complaints:
The Flames issued a statement from team president Brian Petrovek in response to the reaction to the use of a firefighter being overpowered.
In the statement, the Flames apologized for what was well-intentioned but became something else.
“On behalf of our entire organization we want to apologize for our thoughtlessness today. We have obviously turned something good, the launch of a mascot which we will use to entertain and encourage young fans, into something that is in poor taste. That was not our intention and again we apologize.
“We would like to emphasize that we as an organization take seriously the dangers associated with fire, understand its potentially devastating effects and acknowledge that those in our nation who are called upon to face and fight fires on a daily basis are truly heroes.