The first time 'The Freeze' ran a race, he couldn't see out of his goggles
The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Cut4Cast podcast. To hear more of the Cut4 staff's weekly banterings about which position player is the best at pitching or how baseball would work in outer space, subscribe to the Cut4Cast by clicking here.
Last week, the baseball world was introduced to its newest (and greatest) superhero: "The Freeze," who defeats all challengers in a between-innings race at SunTrust Park. You may recall this moment:
"The Freeze," whose real name is Nigel Talton, joined Gemma Kaneko on the Cut4Cast this week to talk about his origin story and the time he ran a race nearly blindfolded:
Gemma Kaneko: Why The Freeze? How did you become The Freeze? You've been a runner for a long time, but what made this happen?<o:p>
Nigel Talton (The Freeze): What made The Freeze happen… Well, it started in 2012 -- that's when I started on the grounds crew for the Braves. Our location was the right foul pole, that's where we came out during the third and sixth (inning) to drag the field and change the bases. And third base was all the way out there.
I sprinted all the way from where we came out at the foul pole all the way to third base, and they all noticed. The people on the grounds crew were like, "Gosh, that guy is fast." People didn't want to go to third because it was so far, and you're running with the base in one hand and a rake in the other hand. People didn't want to do it. So I always ran to third base.
Last year was the final season at Turner Field, so Fan Experience gave me the chance to do the Stolen Base Challenge, which they continue to do now at SunTrust Park. You have 20 seconds to get a base from mid-field, behind second base, get there and get back. I did it at Turner Field, and I got it in, like, 13, 14, 15 seconds. They were like, "This guy, he's pretty fast." So at the end of the season, they were talking about trying to do something at the new ballpark, and they were like, "It's probably gonna be someone racing a fan, would you be interested?" And I was like, "Sure."
Two months before the stadium opened, they called me and were like, "Hey, we want you to race a fan. It's from foul pole to foul pole." So I went there and I prepped a couple of times with the marketing guys, the Fan Experience guys, and that's how I became (The Freeze). They told me the name, and they were like, "We're gonna get you a new nice little uniform to run in." I'm like, "OK, that's cool. I'll do it." So that's when it happened.
Kaneko: I'm assuming you don't normally run in basically a full superhero costume. What was it like adjusting to that?<o:p>
The Freeze: There was really no adjustment. Because those type of suits I wear for track meets -- a speed suit, or short shorts and a top. It was nothing to me. There was an adjustment to the goggles I wear.<o:p>
Kaneko: Does that actually change anything for you, wearing the goggles? Does it affect the way you see the race or anything? <o:p>
The Freeze: The first time I had the goggles on, and I had the suit under it, my eyes were covered. So I couldn't see. The only way I could see was if I looked up to the lights at the park, but I can't look up there running. <o:p>
So I just -- with me working on the grounds crew, I knew how far the fence was for me. So when I ran that time, I kind of stayed close to the wall so I knew where I was. Because I didn't know how close I was to the grass, and I didn't want to step on the grass.
Kaneko: I am so impressed. I mean, I already thought you were the greatest athletic hero of our time. But now that I know you ran your first race basically blindfolded? That's amazing.