MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins are looking for some footloose
The National League team is creating an all-male, plus-size
cheerleading squad to be dubbed the Manatees. Tryouts were
scheduled for Sunday.
The team hopes to recruit seven to 10 tubby men to dance, cheer
and jiggle during Friday and Saturday home games this season.
Real manatees, 1,200-pound mammals sometimes referred to as
"sea cows," are not considered the most agile of creatures and
often get caught in boat propellers.
The Marlins want their Manatees to have the same dimensions, but
to be decidedly more agile. Men will be judged on how well they
dance a choreographed routine.
The Marlins already have a cheerleading squad, the considerably
more svelte Mermaids.
Men selected for the Manatees won't be paid. They'll get tickets
to games they perform at, and the honor of dancing in front of
crowds that have been smallest in Major League Baseball for the
last two seasons.
The Marlins aren't the only pro sports team capitalizing on
Americans' expanding waistlines. The Chicago Bulls basketball team
have the Matadors, a big-man dance troupe that's entertained fans
at home games since 2003.
And although cheerleaders might be an unfamiliar site in
baseball, big men aren't, as fans have long cheered on the likes of
Babe Ruth and Kirby Puckett.