Cal State Long Beach unveiled its new mascot Monday, Elbee the shark. The new mascot comes as the next step in a long and somewhat tortured saga for the school, which retired its Prospector Pete mascot more than a year ago.
Now, before we get into the response to Elbee, a few words to try and settle everyone down. Understand this: the university, CSULB, has adopted a new mascot. The university’s athletic department, Long Beach State, has not. LBSU athletic director Andy Fee has been adamant about the fact that the school’s sports teams, while no longer going by “the 49ers,” will not be going by the Sharks. They’ll continue to be called “Beach” as they have over the last few years, with the exception of their baseball team, which will remain the “Dirtbags.”
We’ve written (and written and written) about this subject, but with each subsequent unveiling, a new group of people find out about this long, strange trip. It’s like finding a show you like on Netflix right after the fifth season comes out, leaving you with four seasons of backstory to catch up with.
Here are the facts about the fictional shark, straight from the university’s press release:
“There is only one Elbee and does not have a spouse nor family members. Elbee transcends gender and uses the pronoun “they/them.” Elbee is nonverbal.”
OK, so now to the responses we promised you. We’re positive people, so let’s just say that the responses were not universally positive. A few people did comment that they liked the change, liked Elbee when we went on Twitter and asked for opinions. Some people correctly noted that the Shark is very buff. Others appreciated that the Shark is non-binary and uses gender-neutral pronouns.
For the most part, though, even compliments came with a critical side. Take Kyle Prager saying he appreciated the “LB” reference in the name “Elbee,” just after saying he thought the shark might be the worst mascot in the NCAA.
Here’s a few comments from Long Beach State fans:
Love everything about it. Sharks fit with the beach vibe, we have a shark lab on campus, and Elbee is swole as heck.
— Jake Cronenworth Stan Account (@allyssag) August 17, 2020
— Kyle T. Prager (@kyleprager38) August 18, 2020
— Drew Ramos (@sportsjunky8) August 17, 2020
Mascot would work well for an elementary school as not for a university. Send Elbee across the street to Gant as they have a Gator which can fit in well with this mistake of a mascot. Also Pete wants his number back!
— Michael Shapiro (@RealMLShapiro) August 17, 2020
A lot of my friends who still go there (I graduated last semester) seem to like the mascot. I think the neutral pronouns are super cool, and I like the idea of a shark, considering Shark Lab, "Jaws," the beach, etc. It's the name "Elbee" that I'm kinda meh about.
— 🦖 Caseysaurus 🎓 (@caseysaurusrex) August 17, 2020
OMG… I'm at a loss for words. I can't be a proud shark Alum. #49erForLife
— Coach Zig (@TeamZig) August 17, 2020
Mascot is fine. But branding needs more consistency: Long Beach State for athletics AND academics, Dirtbags for baseball, Sharks for everything else, “The Beach” stays a secondary nickname.
— The Radical Dream (@TheRadicalDream) August 18, 2020
Y’all trippin…. like I’m trying to be a supportive alumni but come on man! pic.twitter.com/sfSPJU3y2B
— DCean Bryant (@DceanB) August 17, 2020
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