Last week’s debut of a new campaign in support of the 11 p.m.-2 a.m. ET block of SportsCenter – [email protected] – featured four U.S. presidents. Well, not the actual presidents; the Washington Nationals’ mascot version of our country’s forefathers.
And when it comes to mascots, two of ESPN’s baseball analysts have deep, intimate knowledge of how the costumed entertainers think, act and yes, race.
In an effort to better understand the psyche and circumstances these brave mascots endure at each game, Front Row asked Kurkjian and Braden to provide some insight. (NOTE: No mascots were harmed in the creation of this post.)
– Tim Kurkjian
My boss, current Vice President, SportsCenter, Mike McQuade, asked me participate in the Sausage Race at Miller Park. I declined, knowing it was a terrible idea, but I am afraid of my boss, so I agreed to do it. And I was right. It became the most humiliating night of my life, and yet people seemed to like it. And when it was over, after the most embarrassing 20 seconds I have ever endured, Mike McQuade told me that my pathetic performance had been the highlight of the game, basically saying that it was great because I was so terrible.
(He did not race, per se, and instead dressed as a hot dog).
The best part about being a hot dog was knowing that even though I was made up of many spare parts that nobody really wants, I was able to come together with Teddy Roosevelt and execute a dream victory for all hot dogs and hot dog lovers everywhere!
I knew I was in big trouble the minute I tried on the sausage suit. It was enormous and unwieldy. Drew Olson, the man who fitted me for the suit, told me, “These suits are built more for big guys. . .and you’re not very big.” Gee, thanks, I wasn’t sure. I asked if he had anything smaller, something in a Breakfast Sausage, but he didn’t, I was going full frankfurter.
Braden:[Kurkjian] should’ve never picked on the sausages. Maybe enter the Little Smokie race, more his speed…and size! (Sorry, Timmy.)
– Dallas Braden
I put the suit on, I immediately lost my bearings. I couldn’t see very well. I couldn’t hear. I got confused. Then, seconds before the start of the race, Ed Sedar, the third base coach for the Brewers, started talking to me, I was straining to hear what he said when the gun went off. I was behind immediately, I panicked, and it got worse. Too old, too small, in a suit that just overpowered me, I felt like I was running down a street holding a huge picnic umbrella in the middle of a hurricane while I was drunk. It is a miracle I didn’t just topple over during the run.
I’m not a huge fan of being boxed in, to be FRANK. Really chars my BUNS! But it was the only way Teddy and I could execute our plan to perfection. . . and we did.
I finished last by a mile. It was so bad, in fact, when I crossed the finish line, one of the handlers whisked me off the field saying, “Hurry up, the game is going to start!”
After the game, with the suit off, I had to go interview players on the Brewers. The minute I entered the Milwaukee clubhouse, Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse announced in a very loud voice, “There he is, Tim Kurkjian, the worst sausage ever!”
It has been over a year since I ran at Miller Park, and not a week goes by without someone mentioning something to the effect of, “Hey, you were really bad in the sausage race.” But, as long as there’s a laugh in it, count me in. Even when the laugh is on me.
Krukie [ESPN MLB analyst John Kruk] needs to be next in the hot dog race. If he wins, he gets free dogs for life!