Meet Your Minor League Performers: The King of Sports
"Meet Your Minor League Performers", in which touring ballpark entertainers are interviewed, will be an occasionally recurring feature on this esteemed blog. Today we speak with none other than The King of Sports, the alter-ego of gameops.com founder Jon Cudo. The King is a detestable individual who is designed to be disliked, and he does his job well. Everybody loves a good villain, right? Additional information on the King of Sports can be found here, and an entertaining essay on his origin as a character is located here.
How would you describe your act, and what can people expect from it?
The King of Sports is the most innovative touring act in sports. A bold claim, but I back it up every night. Every night I play the role of the visiting team’s mascot who challenges the home fans to live up to the standard of my fans. The entire show is built up to make your mascot the star when he saves your fans at the end of the night.
How often do you perform at Minor League ballparks? How does it compare to performing at other types of venues?
I have limited my appearances in recent years, and baseball was never the strongest sport for my unique show. I always enjoyed the challenge of getting a strong response out of typically placid baseball fans. The larger setting, compared to basketball or hockey, also creates some unique opportunities to roam and interact with fans. I enjoyed searching out different locations to perform. It’s more spread out, but there are a dozen spots in every ballpark that can be used for performing.
Your talents are unique, to say the least. What are its origins, and how long have you been performing?
The act started in the early 1990s as a foil for an NBA mascot in a skit when their team played the Sacramento Kings. The fan response guaranteed return visits each year. Around 1998, I started offering the show to other teams and sports and it quickly became recognized as the most innovative show with my unique ability to draw a strong response from even the most conservative crowds.
I always enjoy hearing the host mascots re-telling how they felt during the performance, since much of the show is built to make them the stars of the evening. Hearing a veteran NBA mascot say he got goose bumps when the crowd reacted to the time out is a pretty high compliment. The first couple of baseball games might have been the low point. Baseball is a very different game setting, so it took a few games to really adapt the show to the slower pace and more relaxed fans…the shows weren’t at the level I wanted but it was a great learning experience.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring Villainous Mascot Royalty who may be reading this?
I tell any aspiring act to get out and perform as much as possible. Baseball is hungry for new effective acts, but skeptical. They liked to hear a show worked from a few teams before they are ready to pay for entertainment. Spend a summer working as cheap as you can, to both fine-tune your show and build a network of teams who will speak on your behalf. And don’t market yourself as the "Greatest Mascot of All Time". That moniker is already taken.