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The Freeze

From BR Bullpen

The Freeze is a character introduced by the Atlanta Braves shortly after the opening of their new ballpark, SunTrust Park, in 2017. The Freeze wears a superhero costume and serves as a promotion for a chilled drink sold at gas stations around the Atlanta area. His shtick is that he gets to race a fan around the ballpark's warning track between innings during home games, in a promotion called "Beat the Freeze". Even though the fan is given a huge head start, The Freeze usually manages to catch up and pass him before the finish line, to the huge enjoyment of spectators. The character was an immediate hit after being introduced on June 9th.

The Freeze is played by Braves employee Nigel Talton, a former top-ranked college sprinter whose regular job is as a security guard and member of the grounds crew. The Braves had come up with the original promotion in which he was simply wearing a regular track suit, but it was Talton who thought up the brilliant idea to race the fans in costume. He explains that the superhero garb is not that different from a regular athletic suit (for example, those worn by speed skaters) and is therefore not a hindrance. The whole promotion is based on the idea that a trained sprinter will make mincemeat of a regular Joe in any race that is more than a few meters long; it would be boring if the two raced side by side, but the head start given his opponents makes it look as if the Freeze has superhuman powers as he catches them and whizzes by at warp speed before crossing the finish line.

He was featured at the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami, FL racing a fan between the 2nd and 3rd inning. However, contrary to his habit, he lost the race, and by a pretty wide margin too. A baseball card featuring an action shot of one of his races was issued in the 2018 Topps set, as part of a subset on "Team Traditions & Celebrations".

Further Reading[edit]

  • Joe Posnanski: "Big chill: The Freeze blazes path to stardom: Braves' in-game attraction is hit with MLB fans, players", mlb.com, June 27, 2017. [1]