People dream of winning marathons, whether it be in London, Boston or Chicago I however dream of having the privilege to compete in the Oakland Athletics Coliseum Mascot Race. Picture the scene, blood pumping, adrenaline running, music blasting, it’s Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls, Blake ‘The Train’ Treinen is warming up to close yet another game. Three handsome devils line up at the left field wall… waiting. It represents life in a strange but true way – Rickey Henderson wins no matter what. What a cruel game to match two pitchers slower than my nanna’s WiFi, against the ‘Man of Steal’, yes, the man of speed who was able to steal bases whenever he wanted. Unlike other marathons, where the goal is to get the gold medal, there is no competition, Rickey gets gold because Rickey is the fastest player in baseball history. The other runners are competing for Silver, Bronze and that prestigious participation certificate.
I dream of one day participating in this race, suiting up as none other than Coco Crisp, bringing in a fourth competitor. Will I finish first? No, Rickey does. Second? Probably not, I suspect the Dennis Eckersley mascot is on the juice, (Have you seen his grin? Something is up.) Third? It won’t be a clean race but it’s doable. Fourth? Aim for the stars, this is the backup plan. While my chances don’t look too great I have a secret weapon with my friend called similarities. Rickey is Fast. Crisp is Fast. Rickey Wins. Crisp Wins. Rickey wears shades. Crisp wears shades. Rickey plays Outfield. Crisp plays Outfield. Rickey don’t need any fancy facial hair. Neither does Crisp. Need I mention more?
With my own eyes I have seen these beasts thundering down the third base foul line, three-wide in a way that would make every NASCAR viewer jealous if there was any left. Dust kicking as they push human G-Force limits further than anyone else swinging, around home plate onto the final straight. Light bends as Rickey effortlessly sprints towards the end. Seeing their beautifully distorted heads, their massive necks and gloriously shaped chins bobbing up and then down with each stride. Their fixed Foam hair blowing past the wind.
However, despite the unlimited merits, there is always a dark side. Mascots have the highest rate of concussions per MPH (Study not inclusive on hitting heads on doorways) than any other professional athlete. When you think of how much Rickey brings that speed average up, you can see why many are afraid to pursue this career. It can be a dirty sport. You think of mean players, you think of Football Linebackers: Ray Lewis, Lawrence Taylor, ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, heck, even Serena Williams. These meanies are nothing compared to the man in the Rollie Fingers suit. Legend has it Eckersley’s ‘Butt Chin’ was created when Rollie shoved him off into the Away teams dugout, breaking it into two. He beat Rickey once, how so? Before the race he tied Rickey’s shoe laces together, that obviously wasn’t going to be enough, so he also put a base near Rickey, that he had to steal. As mean as they can be, there is always one thing that units them – people ruining the race. A camera-man once crossed the track during the race, leading the three grinning ‘Big heads’ to re-align their focus onto their unaware target.
All in all, you would have to be bonkers to deny this opportunity if it ever was presented to you. Others may dream of being a successful musician, a world famous architect or a “”Instagram Influencer”” but I, I dream of something greater. I dream of the over-sized jerseys, the Non-Australian Green & Gold, the Metallica in the background, the incredible chins and the glory of eating Rickey’s dust.