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The Secret Service is serious about protecting the President. So serious, in fact, that one agent threatened to shoot the beloved Mr. Mets mascot if he got too close to President Bill Clinton back in 1997.
AJ Mass, who used to work as the New York Mets mascot, revealed the incident in a new book called Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots. Mass said that he was hoping to get the “holy grail for mascots” - a photo with a sitting President - during Clinton’s April 15, 1997 appearance at Shea Stadium to mark the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first MLB game.
But the mood soon turned deadly serious, he said, notes The New York Daily News. A Secret Service agent looked right into the giant baseball head’s mouth (approximately where Mass’ eyes would be) and said that there are snipers all around Shea Stadium. He could do the normal Mr. Met act, “But approach the President, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?” Mass said he was told.
“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,” Mass recalled in the book. “‘Approach the President, and we go for the kill shot,’ he repeats. ‘ARE — WE — CLEAR?’”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Mass was Mr. Met from 1997 to 1997. Clearly, he didn’t want to have a job where foul balls aren’t the only work hazard.