Overwatch League season 2 kicked off last night with a rematch of the 2018 Grand Finals competitors, Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire. As the teams were introduced, an unexpected orange guest made an appearance: Gritty, the creepy and meme-able mascot for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, clad in a Fusion jersey.
In the clip above, Gritty can be seen walking down the aisle, handing out high-fives and pumping up the crowd. At one point, a fan appears to offer him a flower bouquet, but Gritty slaps it away. Heartbreaking.
Despite audience surprise, the orange monster’s appearance may not be a total shock to everyone. Yesterday, the Fusion published a video of Gritty visiting the team house on its YouTube channel. He stares down Fragi before entering the house, demanding food, pooping in the bathroom, and checking out the hot tub. Typical Gritty.
This is the first time we’ve seen a mascot for one of North America’s major sports franchises appear in the Overwatch League. Gritty’s cameo at the Fusion’s match last night tugs at a bigger question: Will we see more mascots at esports events? Will esports teams ever get their own mascots? And if so, will they ever be as terrifyingly brilliant as Gritty? One can only hope.