A former Mr. Met has revealed that he was threatened by a secret service agent when President Bill Clinton visited Shea Stadium, who warned him that a sniper would shoot him dead if he approached the President.
AJ Mass, who used to don the delightful costume, has revealed all in his new book, “Yes, It’s Hot In Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots.”
Mass admits that he wanted to meet the 42nd President of the United States on April 15, 1997, but was met with a slight issue when he tried to go through the secret service’s metal detector. Unfortunately, because of the size of the costume’s bulbous head he couldn’t fit through the security system.
Mass was joined by two female college interns, and despite this little incident he still set out to find Clinton. He writes, “The holy grail for all mascots – a photo op and meet-and-greet with a sitting president.”
However, when he came face-to-face with another one of the President’s many secret service agents he was given a rather frightening warning.
“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” Mass recalls. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. But approach the President and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”
Mass continues in his book, “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.”
The secret service agent obviously didn’t think that one explanation was enough, because he then looked directly in Mr Mets’ foam mouth and remarked again, “Approach the President, and we go for the kill shot. ARE – WE – CLEAR?”
Mass wore the iconic suit between 1994-1997, and it’s safe to say that this was probably his most alarming day inside the loveable attire.
Mr. Clinton managed to escape Shea Stadium unharmed after his near brush with death, and he also took the time to praise Jackie Robinson, who made his Major League Baseball debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. This marked the first occasion that an African American athlete had done so in the sport.
Clinton gave an emotional speech during the game’s fifth inning, and he was also joined by Jackie’s widow, Rachel, and Bud Selig who was, and still is, Baseball’s acting commissioner.
[Image via Debby Wong/Shutterstock]