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ESPN 30-for-30 looks back at Crazy Crab, the world’s first and last anti-mascot

By now, most sports fans are familiar with ESPN’s 30-for-30 series. These longform masterpieces — the brainchild of ex-ESPN darling, Bill Simmons — proved that if you can make high quality documentaries about interesting sports subjects, it is possible to keep a viewers’ attention for a whole two hours. That’s a good thing, but not all stories are worthy of the full length feature-film treatment, so the geniuses at The Worldwide Leader in Sports created 30-for-30 Shorts. Whittled down versions of the original 30-for-30’s, with the familiar style and quality viewers are accustomed to, just, you know, a lot shorter.

The latest 30-for-30 short comes from noted Giants fan and son of a legendary actor, Colin Hanks, and it looks at the unique love/hate relationship between Giants fans and the infamous “Anti-mascot,” the Crazy Crab.

Here’s the full 12 minute video. I encourage you to watch it in its entirety. In the video, viewers get a great explanation of what Giants brass at the time were thinking when they purposely created a mascot literally everyone in San Francisco despised and you hear from the man behind the suit, who actually took the abuse.

As usual, I can’t watch these kinds of old nostalgic Candlestick era videos without pulling out some choice material for GIFs and such, so here are a few highlights to give you a little taste of the Crazy Crabness.

Crazy-Crab-Exploits

Ewwww, now you’re thinking about literally tasting the Crazy Crab, aren’t you? Yikes. (sorry)

On to the highlights!

Wayne Doba

The man who auditioned for the part of Crazy Crab, initially just for a 30-second commercial, ended up taking abuse for the entire 1984 season. He describes feeling the intense hatred from tens of thousands of fans and goes into detail about what exactly was thrown at him, from chewing tobacco to bags of warm urine!

The audition tapes are tremendous, but nothing beats this quote from Doba, who still works as a professional clown/tap dancer somewhere in Las Vegas (I think).

Doba: “I always approached it that I was a trained professional. I studied dance at Florida State. I studied mime in Berkeley for two years … Actually, as a mime, I had a lot of groupies.”

Mime Crazy Crab

Mime groupies. Yup, that’s the first thing I think of when I think of mimes, which honestly isn’t that often. Nope. Sorry, mime guy. Not buying it.

Ray Ratto

Everyone’s favorite sweater-clad curmudgeon really steals the show in this piece. The tone of his voice while he rides the line between reverence and pure disdain for the Crazy Crab character is masterful.

On Candlestick Park: “It was just on this little spit of land, out in the middle of the bay, you know, part of a wind tunnel. It was perfectly chosen if you wanted to see a festival of hypothermia.”

Charm-of-Candlestick-Park

On the crowd reaction: “And the crab is gyrating happily, with its nitwit googly eyes … there was no transition. They went from zero-to-hatred in about six seconds.”

Candlestick-Park-Fans

“That was your fan base, right there. People who basically walked in with a middle finger up, raised to the sky and walked out the same way.”

Frank Robinson

Even the crusty old manager got in on the act, pretending to be hacked off by the Crazy Crab and trying to fight him.

Frank-Robinson-Crazy-Crab

KNBR callers of the day probably would have had a field day with this (had sports talk radio call-in shows existed at the time). I can hear Salty in Clovis now, “AND ANOTHER THING, WHAT IS FRANK ROBINSON DOING OUT THERE FILMING A COMMERCIAL, WHEN HIS TEAM IS ON ITS WAY TO A 96 LOSS SEASON?? HE SHOULD BE YELLING AT HIS PLAYERS TO HIT THE BALL BETTER AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE CRAZY CRAB, OKAY??”

The 1984 Slogan

Modern day Giants fans have literally nothing to complain about, but we do enjoy poking fun at the various iterations of the Giants slogans over the past five or six years.

It’s Magic Inside. Together We’re Giant. Together Again. Giants Again Together. Together We’re Together Again. Together We’re Even Giantier Again.

And so on and so forth. But this slogan from 1984 … does it get anymore #RockBottom than this?

The-Giants-Hang-in-There

THE GIANTS … HANG IN THERE!

Why not just skip the formalities and go with “THE GIANTS … WE SUCK AND SO DOES OUR WRETCHED BALLPARK!”

And last, but not least …

This Guy

Pissed-Off-Candlestick-Giants-Fan

I’m going to love this GIF right here forever. If the Newman look-a-like chewing on a cigar, wearing giant orange headphones isn’t enough, you have painter’s-cap-and-aviator-shades-thumbs-down guy in the background. If you follow me on Twitter, prepare to see this one at least a hundred times this season. Consider yourself warned.

Okay, so those are just a few of the highlights. Seriously, don’t just scroll through these stupid GIFs without clicking on the link above and watching the whole thing. Ratto is great. Duane Kuiper is great. The rest of the story and footage are well worth 12 minutes of your time, whether you lived through the 1984 season or you’ve only seen the Crazy Crab on the way to your Club Level seats. ESPN and Hanks knocked it out of the park with this one.

Long live Crazy Crab!

crazy crab 2

4 Comments

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4 Comments on "ESPN 30-for-30 looks back at Crazy Crab, the world’s first and last anti-mascot"

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chickenfried234
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chickenfried234

Love it.  I’m curious why hardly any one remembers the crab, even sf natives.

Michael_Rose
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Michael_Rose

LOLKNBR BASportsGuy All I can think of is that guy bathed in beer everyday.

Richard
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Richard

chickenfried234 Easy answer….Rarely anyone attended those games except in 1982 when the Giants’ made a late season run.  I went to one of those games….I swear that there were only10,000 – 15,000 people that night and it was very cold.

Jehovahwitnessprotection
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Jehovahwitnessprotection

Who was the Giant player that threw a firecracker down the costume while Doba was wearing it?

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