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That’s what the note taped to the PHNX world headquarters read on Monday morning. It was an odd thing to see considering we’ve only been in the building we call home for what amounts to three weeks. We’ve barely been there long enough for someone to say “I’m here,” let alone “I’m back.”
The confusion was cleared up when a foot-and-a-half tall foam finger with legs like Marcel Shipp and a mouth like Marcin Gortat walked into the building.
Rather than call building security and have him thrown out, we let curiosity get the better of us.
As we exchanged pleasantries, he introduced himself as Foam E. Knucklehead, but told us that he prefered to go by PhoeKnux.
He regaled us with stories of how he got his start in the Valley back in 1939 as the mascot and head of marketing for the A-1 Beer Phoenix Cactus Pricks, a member of the same softball league in which eventual governor Rose Mofford played. He reminisced about how it was a simpler time and he considered himself a happy-go-lucky chap. That all began to change when the Pricks folded in the 1950s.
PhoeKnux said he spent the next six decades wandering the Valley, attending sporting events in hopes of finding gainful employment. Instead he found nothing but continued heartbreak. His once kind exterior had become calloused thanks to the likes of J. Walter Kennedy, Lew Alcindor, Mike Ribeiro, the Lakers, the Cowboys, Robert Horry, the Dodgers, any owner of the Coyotes and pretty much any quarterback who played for the Cardinals from 1988-2005 with the exception of Jake Plummer.
He told us how he watched John Paxson’s dagger go through the net in 1993 from under the bleachers at America West Arena. How he was a stowaway peering out of a Cardinals equipment bag as Santonio Holmes’ toe — yes singular — tapped down in the end zone to allow the Pittsburgh Steelers to steal a Super Bowl away from Larry Fitzgerald and the Red Birds. You can even see him in the background as Giannis threw down the alley-oop over Chris Paul to put Game 5 of the NBA Finals on ice.
Needless to say, PhoeKnux is the Forrest Gump of bad Arizona sporting moments.
The one lone bright spot in Arizona sports history, Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, also happened to be the one home game PhoeKnux missed in the entire playoff run because a feral cat in downtown Phoenix had mistaken him for a chew toy.
As we sat in awkward amazement, the well-traveled and well-worn foam finger asked a simple question: “Do I have the f$@^ing job or what?”
Not wanting to add to his long list of disappointments, we decided to give him a chance.
That’s why we’re proud hesitant at best to introduce PhoeKnux as the official mascot of PHNX.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Follow him on Twitter at @PhoeKnuxPHNX and read his occasional columns at GoPHNX.com.
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