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Turning on the Jets

There’s no question that Nabih “Nino” Dandan, BS Health, Fitness, and Recreation Resources ’17, now has a foot in the door in the business of minor league baseball.

It’s Dandan’s swift feet, in fact, that have recently brought so much attention to his employer, the triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, the Atlanta Braves’ top minor league affiliate based in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.

Nino “The Fridge” Dandan. Provided image.

By day a corporate partnership trainee, on game nights Dandan dons a skintight gray racing suit, goggles, and gym shorts as he transforms into his between-innings entertainment persona, “The Fridge.” At six feet two and around 300 pounds, fans seem to expect Dandan to be a slow runner as he begins his footraces that take place along the Stripers’ outfield fence. But there’s more to this College of Education and Human Development graduate than meets the eye.

Dandan plays to the crowd’s expectations as he pretends to be winded and lumbers slowly as each race starts, allowing his opponent a lengthy head start.

That’s when, to the crowd’s surprise, he “turns on the jets,” as the former high school football player from Richmond, Virginia, puts it. The twist parodies a more earnest footrace promotion that the Braves do down the road in Atlanta, and the crowd loves it, Dandan says.

The promotion has taken off. After the initial video featuring The Fridge received millions of interactions on Facebook, Dandan was even featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Dandan’s experience has been unique, to say the least. “It’s been a long season and my body hurts, but it’s been an awesome experience and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Greg Sullivan