After spotlighting fans, dancers and players this season, we decided at timberwolves.com to give our readers a closeup of one of the Target Center's most recognizable characters – Crunch. The Wolves' mascot and his team work long and hard so that fans are entertained, happy and rowdy at every home game. Crunch and his two assistants were nice enough to let us follow them around for the season's last game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Here's a breakdown of what it's like to be next to Crunch for a day.
- Crunch’s assistants usually start around 5:00 p.m. on gamedays with birthday visits. But since today is the last game of the season, things are a little different. Every Wolves staff member has the privilege of taking a photo with Crunch. So, at six o’clock, we head up to the administrative offices at the Target Center and began taking photos.
- In case you haven’t been to a Wolves game: Crunch has a ton of energy. As soon as we got out of his locker room, he was running up the stairs, clapping his hands, getting pumped for the game.
- We arrive upstairs (I’m out of breath) and there is already a long line of people waiting to take photos.
- Crunch’s go-to pose: one arm around the person, the other hand giving a thumbs up. Classic.
- Besides being a superb mascot, Crunch is also an excellent hairstylist. Before every photo with a female, he makes sure to style their hair so they look perfect. - Crunch never seems to get tired. After about 25 photos, Crunch is still going strong pulling off the thumbs-up pose.
- One staffer comments, “Crunch, you smell good.” That’s because Crunch uses a special cologne (Febreeze). Guys, judging by Crunch’s success with the ladies, I suggest you throw away the Ralph Lauren and get your Febreeze today.
- After about 40 minutes of photos, we run down to the court to take some more pictures with season-ticket holders and various prize winners.
- Starting lineups: Crunch runs across the court with the Wolves flag, getting the crowd pumped. As the players are being introduced, he quickly returns to give them high-fives and then joins the huddle.
- After a quick breather, Crunch returns and mingles with the crowd.
- He walks into the stands and literally fifty kids run up to the Wolves' mascot. The usher gets a little nervous here, but nothing phases Crunch.
- Crunch hardly ever turns anyone down, posing for pictures and signing autographs. He can even walk and autograph at the same time. I can’t even walk and talk at the same time.
- During all of this, Crunch also has to pay attention to the game (less we forget basketball is being played). He quickly runs to the steel podium, climbs up and bangs a drum, spurring some defense chants from the crowd.
- First break in the action: Crunch runs out for the US Bank promotion and giveaway.
- While Memphis forward Pau Gasol is shooting some free throws, Crunch checks to see if the stands are broken. Nope, just making some noise to distract Gasol. It works.
- Crunch performs his trick of the night. He steals one of the ref's wallets, takes it to the concession stand, buys a bunch of food and distributes it to some of the fans. I am not sure the ref even noticed; hopefully, for Crunch's sake, the ref has US Bank.
- Water break.
- Crunch is back sweet-talking the crowd. One of his favorite tricks is to tap a fan on the shoulder and then walk to the other side. For some reason, people always fall for this. By the way, Crunch has gotten me at least five times with this one. - One lucky fan gets a back rub from Crunch.
- After following Crunch for a couple hours, I have noticed that everyone loves this wolf. Grandmas get just as excited seeing Crunch as a little four-year old.
- Birthday visits. More photos, more thumbs up, more smiles. Good thing Crunch is a lot more composed than Tara Reid in front of photographers.
- On the way up to one of the suites, Crunch makes a farting noise, and immediately blames the fan for cutting the cheese. The fan tries to deny everything, but Crunch's sound is very realistic. We might have to go to Judge Judy for a verdict as I plead the fifth.
- On top of being a ladies' wolf, Crunch is also really good with children. He never fails to make them smile.
- Crunch begins messing with one of the ushers by undoing the ropes that connect the dividers in one of the tunnels. It takes the usher about five minutes to realize that it's Crunch who's pulling the prank.
- For those scoring at home, it's 83-68 Grizzlies. But that doesn't matter to Crunch; he's still going strong, entertaining fans, and making noise when Memphis goes to the foul line.
- Water break.
- Crunch just got me with the shoulder thing again.
- I turn to ask Crunch a question about some of his tricks, but he doesn't respond. He won't even talk to reporters.
- Crunch brings out the spider and fishing rod. For those of you who haven't seen it, Crunch sneaks up behind people with a spider attached to a fishing line. He then slowly drops the spider on their laps.
- A side note: I wonder who would win between Crunch and Rocky in a battle of climbing stairs. I swear Crunch must race up two-hundred stairs a game. I think I'm going with Crunch.
- The Wolves call a timeout, and Crunch steals the ball from the referee making sure there's nothing wrong with the ball.
- Since Crunch doesn't want to seem to answer my questions, I turn to Mitch, one of the assistants and ask him about what it's like to do this night in and night out and what he gets out of working with Crunch. He sums it up pretty nicely, “It's nice watching Crunch run around putting a smile on people's faces.”