Nigel Talton ran track in college and has hopes of sprinting at the Toyko Olympics in a few years.
Dee Gordon says he can take him.
“For sure,” the Marlins’ speedy second baseman said with a grin. “He’s slow.”
Talton has become an internet sensation and a fan favorite at the Atlanta Braves’ new SunTrust Park by racing different contestants before the third inning starts.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Known as ‘The Freeze,’ Talton wears ice blue spandex with a pair of oversized ski goggles — an obvious homage to the Frozone character in Disney’s ‘The Incredibles.’
The not-so-secret identity of ‘The Freeze’ is the 26-year-old Talton, whose speed was discovered last season at Turner Field.
Talton, who ran at Iowa Wesleyan, works on the Braves’ grounds crew and showed off during a ‘stolen base challenge’ at Turner Field.
Gordon, like many in baseball, has taken notice of Talton and his alter-ego — and it’s hard not to.
Last week, Talton was racing a fan — the race goes from one foul pole to the other along the warning track with a random contestant getting a nice head start — when the contestant got a little cocky coming down the home stretch.
The fan, identified by Atlanta’s WXIA-11 as Alex Arrowood, was doing a little celebrating as he closed in on the finish line when Talton blew right by him.
Arrowood ended up stumbling and hitting the dirt, the video going viral and ending up on ESPN.
On Friday night during the opening game of the Marlins-Braves weekend series, a speedster was brought out to challenge Talton. This time, the challenger won going away.
On Saturday, a slower contestant came on and ‘The Freeze’ was back and won easily.
Gordon, considered one of the fastest players in baseball, took notice of the difference in competition.
“They found someone he could definitely beat,” Gordon said with a laugh.
As far as Gordon taking on ‘The Freeze,’ don’t bet on it.
First, Marlins manager Don Mattingly doesn’t want his leadoff hitter and starting second baseman getting hurt sprinting along the warning track.
“That’s a pretty long run,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think we need Dee to be doing that, don’t need him out with a hamstring.
“He definitely would win if you give him that lead, though.”
Gordon, who has been estimated at getting up to 21 MPH by MLB.com, does admit that the Braves and Talton have hit on something.
“It is a pretty sick idea and [Talton] has great form,” Gordon said. “He has really good form and that’s something I don’t have.
“I swing the bat and then I run as fast as I can for 90 feet.”
UP NEXT FOR THE MARLINS
▪ Monday: Washington Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.39 ERA) at Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (0-1, 4.15), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Tuesday: Washington Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-1, 2.89) at Marlins RHP Edinson Volquez (3-7, 3.72), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.