The Toronto Raptors might have the loneliest mascot in all of pro sports
Ontario already (sadly) lays claim to the world's loneliest orca, and it looks like we're also home to a contender for the world's loneliest pro sports mascot.
Fans may be absent from the Toronto Raptors' latest home games at Scotiabank Arena, but the city's favourite anthropomorphic red dinosaur is still very much a presence in The Vault.
It may be relatively quiet in the sporting venue — ticket sales were halted at the start of the new year in response to the new Omicron variant sweeping across the province — but it's never silent thanks to the most enthusiastic red velociraptor to ever wear basketball sneakers and don the number 95.
The lack of fans has given the mascot more time to get to know the sportscasters and analysts who now make up a sizeable percentage of crowds.
When you look back New Years Eve a week later & realize you were actually taking pictures with the best mascot in pro sports @the_raptor wearing a purple velvet blazer. Its been a long time watching the great performances from #theraptor #rtz #bestmascot photo credit @Eric__Smith pic.twitter.com/AmVxVGgOyO— Paul Jones (@Paul__Jones) January 6, 2022
Without rowdy crowds and unmasked fans to escort out, security guards must be pretty bored in the unusually hushed arena, but the Raptor appears to have them covered, captured in a photo hamming it up for a seemingly uninterested security guard.
You can't keep a good mascot down, @ZachLowe_NBA despite the empty seats Tuesday night. @the_raptor still finds a way to work its charm. Awesome 📷from @SteveRussell https://t.co/H7bjOUKXK4 pic.twitter.com/fbMYJsrBjx— Patrick Ho (@patrick_ho_007) January 7, 2022
And even though the typically packed house has been quiet enough to hear a pin drop since restrictions took effect, the show must go on.
It felt pretty bizarre to see the Raptor performing a half-time show solo for a crowd that could be counted on one hand. Music could be heard echoing through the arena's cavernous void as the lonely mascot gestured to nonexistent fans, possibly a hallucination caused by his extended separation from a typically raucous crowd.
But how about that behind-the-back half-court heat-seeking missile of a shot?
Fans or none, you just can't keep this dino down.
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