AJ Mass is a writer who also used to be the mascot for the New York Mets. Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated published an excerpt from his new book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots.”
The excerpt details what Mass experienced on April 15, 1997, the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s groundbreaking debut, but one particular part of the excerpt — involving the attendance of President Bill Clinton, who wanted to speak at the Mets-Dodgers game* that day — is drawing the most attention.
Here’s Mass on his interaction with a man he believed to be a Secret Service agent:
“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” he says. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”
He pauses for a moment to let the words sink in, and it feels like he isn’t only looking into my eyes, but also into my very soul with his blank, unblinking stare. Then he says the same thing again, only a little bit slower this time, making sure I know his warning is not in any way to be misconstrued as some sort of gag…..
“Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” he repeats. “ARE–WE–CLEAR?”
The whole excerpt is here, and I recommend it if you’re wondering how, exactly, Mr. Met and his gigantic head makes it through the security checkpoint. And here’s a little more from Mass about what it’s like being a mascot.
* – The Mets beat the Dodgers 5-0, if you’re wondering.