Because it's January and man, aren't you tired of people railing on A-Rod or railing on people because they are not railing on A-Rod? (Seriously I think if MLB just flat out knee-capped A-Rod there'd be a non-ignorable contingent of fans that would say they did what they had to do)
First things first - some bench thoughts
1) It's super hard to get a good hitting MI on your bench. Why? Because some teams don't even have a good hitting MI in their starting lineup. So it's not necessarily a knock if you don't have one - though he should still hit well enough not to actively hurt the team if he's in (I'm looking at an X-Ray of your shoulder, Danny Espinosa)
2) Benches are small affairs so one player can drastically shift the impression of a bench. The off-season isn't over and any of these teams, Nats included, could get much better (or worse I suppose) before Spring Training
Ok on with the show
I have a soft-spot in my heart for mascots. Not because I actually like mascots. My feelings for them at the park generally range from disdain all the way to apathy. Even as a kid - didn't have a taste for them (sorry marketers!) They are a distraction, less about getting kids interested in the game and more about getting kids TO the game... where their parents can spend even more money. But I can't deny I'm fascinated by the design process. How did these decisions get made? Why? Somewhere lost in the annals of the internet are my rankings of the mascots. So a new mascot for me is a big deal.
What do I think of Clark?
Well I like the name - obviously ties into the team (one of the cross streets for Wrigley) without being lame, like say "Cubbie" would be.
I also like that he's a Cub. It's an obvious choice, but we're talking about mascots here. Obvious choices should be made (and non-specific entities should be avoided at all costs - Phanatic first and only).
The uniform is ok. Much like say Paws or FredBird, he does the bare minimum with the hat and jersey. I'll admit that I have a slight preference for the forward facing hat but whatever. I did have to wait for "in real life" pics to see if he got pants or not. Nope. (cartoon misrepresentation does happen - look at Rangers Captain. In cartoons often dressed up as a weird baseball/cowboy amalgam. In real life super snazzy full uniform)
All in all I'd put him in the middle of the pack, a "getting the job done" mascot. Outside the name there is little clever about him and while a bear is obvious, there is nothing about his design that would in itself lead to fun. Even his face is so-so, in comparison to say the more lovable face of TC Bear. Of course it could have been much much worse. A B- job.
How could they have improved it? Well full uniform for one, but that's personal preference. A more rotund shape possibly. A design centered around the iconic Harry Caray look would have been nice. Somehow referencing Ernie Banks might have helped though off the top of my head I'm not coming up with anything. And definitely his shoulder patches should have been the old school cubs logos here and here. A bear's gotta have some species pride.