“Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. ARE-WE-CLEAR?”
That’s the message the former man behind the giant baseball head in New York said the Secret Service sent him during the late 90s when then-President Bill Clinton visited Shea Stadium to attend a baseball game.
A.J. Mass played the part of the iconic Mr. Met — the mascot for the New York Mets — from 1994-1997. When Clinton visited the stadium in 1997, the president’s security detail pulled the mascot aside and warned him about getting too close to Bubba.
“Now listen to me very carefully. … We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” a Secret Service agent told Mass, according to an excerpt from Mass’ new book. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”
The agent then reportedly repeated the threat: “Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” the agent told Mass. “ARE–WE–CLEAR?”
Mass told the New York Daily News that the incident occurred after he set out to get a photo with the president:
Mass was angling to get a picture with Clinton on April 15, 1997 — the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic first major league game.
Accompanied by two female college interns, the costumed Mass set off in search of his presidential prey: “The holy grail for all mascots — a photo op and meet and greet with a sitting President,” he wrote.
His hopes were soon crushed by the Secret Service agent sporting a dark suit and a darker mood.
Mass recalled the agent started eyeballing him after Mr. Met’s head failed to fit through an on-field metal detector.
— AJ Mass (@AJMass) April 18, 2014
The details are included in Mass’ book titled, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots.”