Forget about Bryce Harper almost hitting someone with his helmet, the baseball highlight of the season is some dude chasing down another dude in the Atlanta Braves outfield.
Beat The Freeze is a contest held between innings in Atlanta where a blue-green morphsuit-wearing speedster gives a regular dork in the crowd a 200-foot lead in a race. Then he takes off to see who wins. Friday night’s Beat The Freeze contest will go down as not only the best version in the race’s history, but it’s likely the highlight of the Braves’ season.
“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,” an announcer on the Braves broadcast says because the clip is so good that they showed it during the game itself. That’s because it’s the most exciting thing to happen at a Braves game by far this season. At this point there’s a very good chance it winds up on the team’s season highlights DVD.
The fan gets off to a good start here—he’s well past the 375 sign on the wall in left center field by the time The Freeze takes off. But our intrepid fan participant seems to slow down a bit as he reaches centerfield. Or maybe that’s just an optical illusion, because the Freeze is motoring. The crowd is roaring as the gap between the two is narrowed as the two runners approach right center.
The Freeze somehow seems to pick up speed as he runs. He is cruising around that warning track. By the time the fan is in the home stretch, it’s clear that The Freeze will win this race. It’s just a matter of how much he wins it by, and how the fan handles this brush with greatness.
Everyone knows victory for The Freeze is imminent except for the poor fella running toward the tape. Thinking he’s got it in the bag, the fan actually raises his hands to get the crowd going. But Braves fans are not cheering for him. They’re cheering for the blur that’s going to make him regret his interactions with the gameday promotions department of the Atlanta Braves.
He doesn’t know what’s coming until it’s too late.
Oh my, does he biff it good. Finally, we have an Agony of Defeat highlight for the 21st century. What’s so compelling here is that the clip really does have it all. Athletic excellence. Premature hubris. A swift comeuppance. It’s a cautionary tale that’s heartwarming and pure—a masked hero we don’t deserve making us believe in justice once more.
We need The Freeze to heal this nation and make us whole again.