Before the 2014 baseball season was underway the Chicago Cubs upset some of their fans by introducing Clark, the new team mascot that would coincide with rebuilding process of the Theo Epstein era. The newest addition to the Cubs family was viewed as “childish” by many Cubs faithful, who appreciated the Cubs long history of not having a masked character gallivanting around Wrigley Field. The Cubs, on the other hand, brought Clark in as a way to attract younger Cubs fans and promote a more family friendly atmosphere.
However, a non-Cubs affiliated mascot named Billy Cub has been hanging around Wrigley Field all season long and has been causing problems with some of fans. The team announced that they will purse legal actions against those imposters, who have been accused of causing mischief in the neighborhood.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the team announced Friday that they will pursue legal actions against John Paul Weier, Patrick Weier, and three other unnamed individuals for fraudulent representation of their team mascot. The fake mascot walks around Wrigley wearing a Cubs hat with the number 78 on his jersey and “Billy Cub” on the back. The team believes the presence of the fake mascot has hurt the Cubs image and is direct trademark infringement.
The team has accused those dressed as Billy Cub of being rude to fans in the neighborhood, including demanding tips for photos as well as making “rude,” profane and derogatory remarks in and around the Wrigleyville bars. Even worse the team was an incident at the beginning of the season where one of the impostors punched a fan in the face while in one of the neighboring bars (see video below).
The lawsuits states that the team wishes for the defendants to “destroy the costume” and all of its components. The lawsuit also seeks payment for damages caused to the team’s image.
On the other side of the mask is John Paul Weier, who has been playing the unofficial Cubs mascot for the past seven years without any significant reported incidents before this season.
“I grew up in Arizona watching the Cubs on WGN, and going to spring training games,” says Weier, who lives less than a block from the ballpark. “I feel like there’s something really special about this. I think the fans feel there’s something really special about this. It’s about taking pictures, it’s about giving someone a lasting memory from a Cubs game.”
Weier did, however, admit to carrying a fake cooler around, which he uses to collect tips that he says can bring him in as much as $400 on a “good day.” But he says that he makes little to no money off of these said tips because all the money is re-invested into the suit each season, which he estimates to be about $3,800 including the price to rent the bear costume, the custom jersey and hat, as well as an ice suit he wears to prevent from overheating on hot days.
“If you look at my last seven years of doing this, I’ve only had two seasons where I’ve slightly profited,” he said. “My first three seasons were losing money.”
Prior to the team being owned by the Ricketts family Weier said the Tribune Company had no problem with his unofficial mascot as long as he agreed not to partake in private events and appearances. However, the new ownership now has their own mascot and wants Weier and his party to cease their public appearances immediately or face more serious legal and financial actions.
“I want to be the official mascot of the Chicago Cubs,” Weier says. “And if I can’t be the official mascot, I want to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last seven years.”
There are only three teams left in the MLB without an official mascot including the Yankees, Angeles, and the Dodgers. It appears as if Weier and company will continue their Wrigleyville appearances for the time being until they are forced off of the premises. To most Cubs fans they probably aren’t bothering anyone’s day just as long as they keep their antics to a family friendly level as the Cubs originally intended.