August 23, 2016


How I Won the Minnesota Twins' Mascot Race (Josh Voorhees, 8/23/16, Slate)

My high school cross country coach was a big believer in visualization. The day before an important meet, he'd have the entire team lie down on the grass or the gym floor, and he'd tell each of us to picture how the race would unfold. Two weeks ago, lying in my friends' basement the night before the most significant race of my adult life, I remembered what my coach told me. That night, I imagined myself in a bright-green fish costume, waddling to glory.

This was one of the least ridiculous things I did in the days after learning I'd get the chance to run in a mascot race at a Major League Baseball game. For the uninitiated, these in-game stunts typically involve a handful of people--sometimes fans, sometimes ballpark personnel--dressed in cartoonish costumes sprinting from the outfield to a finish line somewhere near home plate. It's a way to inject a little local (and promotional) flare into the downtime between innings, that time when most fans are looking for the bathroom or another beer. The Milwaukee Brewers have a sausage race. In Washington, D.C., the Nationals have the racing presidents. In Minnesota, where I'd be suiting up, the Twins stage a mascot race that features a bunch of anthropomorphized animals at every home game. Hey, it's better than being a Pepsi bottle or a hot sauce packet.

My friend, who works for one of the Twins' corporate sponsors, had managed to snag two of the five spots in the race in anticipation of my visit to Minneapolis. After I confirmed that this wasn't some kind of joke, I got down to work.

My first step was to scout the competition. 

Posted by at August 23, 2016 8:47 PM