Hobnobing With Mask-Donning Fans As They Break World Record
by Alex P. Vidal
Arriving in California from Las Vegas, Nevada together with fellow journalists Eddie Alinea and Robbie Pangilinan May 9 evening last year, I immediately hied off to the Orange County from Baldwin Park, California the following day as baseball fans at the Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California set a new Guinness World Record in the “largest gathering of people wearing costume mask” by donning the masks for 10 consecutive minutes.
Almost everybody in the crowd of 40,128 that cheered for the Angel’s 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox had been given glittery, red, Lucha Libre-inspired wrestling masks bearing a white haloed “A” logo to have a chance to join in smackdown history.
As the countdown clock reached its final 10 seconds, thousands of fans raised and participated in “ten, nine…” Just as the clock striked “0:00” and masked fans cheered, they cheered wildly, doubly because the Angels’ Howie Kendrick drilled a double into left field scoring Hunter for the host team’s 6-1 lead.
The Angels established the world record in the top of the fifth inning by rallying fans to become part of the record-breaking avalanche witnessed by Guinness World Record adjudicator Amanda Mochan, who had been flown in by the Angels from New York.
Mochan made the record official and gave a plaque to masked Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl in a quick ceremony in the Diamond Club. “This was one of the more entertaining records, and yes, I did laugh,” remarked Mochan.
Fellow journalist Marcia Smith, who also donned a mask, said it took about 10 seconds for most fans to tear open the plastic bag stamped “Made in China” and removed the giveaway mask.
“I couldn’t resist trying mine on and going under cover,” she said. “After a brief contact high and chemically loaded whiff of the synthetic fabric, I pulled and tugged the one-size-fits-all mask into place.
“I felt ready to pull off a bank heist – or challenge Lesley Ross, the psychiatrist sitting next to me, to a table match. But I feared being put in a straitjacket. On their count.”
According to Smith, “most of the crowd that had resisted putting on the mask threw on the throw-down apparel when the giant video board over right field featured a clip from ‘Nacho Libre’ and instructions, ‘Put on your masks!”
The crowd roared and it wore, added Smith. Corners of the board devoted to ads and extra statistics became home to the Guinness World Record 10-minute countdown clock. Ushers moved through their sections counting the few fans who abstained from looking like an extra from “Nacho Libre.” /MP