It’s not as though a mascot with a head five times normal size would make a particularly difficult shot. So when the Secret Service threatened to kill Mr. Met seventeen years ago, the man behind the mascot took the stern warning seriously.
“We have snipers all around the stadium,” a sunglassed agent told AJ Mass in 1997, “just in case something were to happen. 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 had hoped for a photo with the president. He recounts the surreal scene in Yes, It’s Hot in Here–Adventures in the Weird, Wooly World of Sports Mascots. The agents came courtesy of Bill Clinton, who visited Shea Stadium in 1997 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson integrating baseball. Mass surmises that he began receiving the wrong kind of attention from the president’s security detail once Mr. Met’s enormous baseball-head encountered trouble fitting through the metal detector.
In case the mascot missed the message, the agent again cautioned him about any unauthorized movements. “Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” Mass recounts him saying. “ARE-WE-CLEAR?”