Fifteen minutes of fame… as a Sauce packet
By Rachel Frey
In its second season, the Saucy Sprint is a live promotional race at the top of the 5th inning of Houston Astros home games. It is sponsored by Taco Bell, one of our corporate sponsors, and features their iconic sauce packets: Mild, Hot, and Fire.
Staff members and interns volunteer their athletic talent to participate in the race throughout the summer, and I ran the race on June 15. My competitors were Greg, another intern who wore the “Fire” sauce packet, and Chris, a full-time staff member who suited up in the “Mild” sauce packet. Chris has veteran experience with close to 50 races under his belt, and Greg is tall, so he can cover ground more quickly than I can. With these competitors, my chances to win looked slim.
Even though this event is fairly new, it has already become a fan favorite with people cheering on their favorite sauce packet to the finish line. I was the “Hot” sauce packet, and just getting prepared for the race was fun. Since I had been in the press box before the contest, I had to change clothes and put on black tights and awesome orange Chuck Taylors. I then carried the sauce packet costume through the tunnels to the field entrance near the home bullpen.
As shown in this video, suiting up in the costumes is quite a process, but I managed to get inside it and make my way towards the field. Running in the suit is very challenging- I could not hit my full stride because of how far the packet came down. Trying to see through the eye slots was another adventure- I was so scared of running into a player or tripping over a forgotten bat. But the scariest part of the race? Traveling down a flight of stairs as a sauce packet!
After I won, I returned the sauce packet costume and put my slacks and shirt on before I returned to the press box to finish tweeting the game. I thank my followers who sent encouraging tweets, and I especially appreciate this tweet from Alyson: “My Hot (Sauce) Twintern @RachelFrey won the Saucy Sprint!”
Thanks for the ego boost, boss! Also, special thanks to the sponsorship department and their interns for running this contest every home game. Thinking outside the bun, while on the run, has become a part of the fan experience, and I am happy to share a behind-the-scenes look at it! Please comment and enjoy!