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Mascots can be targets, says former Mr. Met

FILE - Mr. Met.
FILE - Mr. Met. AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File

Baseball has “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Now, it has “The Finger Seen ‘Round the World” as well.

On Wednesday night at Citi Field, the New York Mets mascot was caught on video flashing his middle finger to some fans.

AJ Mass wore the “Mr. Met” outfit from 1994-97 and said fans can be cruel to the person in the suit.

“Even in the home stadium, you don’t fell 100 per cent safe. You have Yankees fans who don’t like the Mets who will go to a Mets game because they like baseball,” said Mass, appearing on Inside Sports with Reid Wilkins. “There’s an antagonism that exists already in the stadium that you wouldn’t get in another ballpark.”

Mass recalled learning how to avoid potentially dangerous situations. He’d steer the other way if he saw a group of drunk fans. Mass also relied on his handlers and security to keep potentially abusive fans away from him. However, the mascot is always going to be a target.

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“The mascot is not part of the team, but to the fans, it appears to be part of the team,” explained Mass.

“When the team is losing 7-0, it’s very easy to yell at the players. It’s even easier to smack the mascot if he walks by in the crowd. That’s where the abuse comes in. The team is losing, you get alcohol involved, and the mascot is there and within arm’s length.”

Mass has seen the reports that Wednesday’s Mr. Met may have been the target of heckling.

“I can understand in a situation when you have your adrenaline flowing, and the crowd is screaming and cursing at you, I can understand why the performer might do that. So I have sympathy for them. I also don’t think that’s the type of person who should ever be allowed in the costume again. You are in the costume to portray a character and portray the team in a positive light,” Mass said.

“My feeling is that probably this person was put in a bad situation and shouldn’t have been put in the costume to begin with. It’s a professional job, and it really should be handled by a professional.”

Here’s the full interview with AJ Mass from Inside Sports:

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