Now that his performance art has taken a back seat, allowing him to concentrate on other art and design projects, Nick Mahshie, also known as Tranqui Yanqui, has managed to make some space in his world for another passion: baseball.
A member of the Shankees baseball team, Mahshie got involved thanks to his alter ego.
“Shankees founder, Paul Perry, wrote to Tranqui several years ago, asking him to be a mascot. He said ‘we’ve got a tough game coming up against the Cubans, so why don’t you come out in your Tranqui gear and support the Shankees?’ So I turned up and afterward I was throwing the ball about, and remembered I’d played as a kid. And Tranqui was pretty good, actually!
“Paul said they needed a short stop so I got promoted from mascot to a player on the team!
“This year I’ve been playing every week, but I am a bit hit and miss. But now I’m red hot and getting RVIs!”
Set up by Perry, the team competes in one of the two Buenos Aires leagues, and as Mahshie explains, not all members are from the US.
“Half our team our Venezuelans, and we have a Canadian guy, plus a German who is probably the only German in the world who plays baseball.
“One Venezuelan started playing, and he got his friends involved — it’s a nice irony I love! We play against the Cubans, the Koreans, the Japanese and a couple of other Argentine teams. They all practise every week, while the Shankees show up hungover, thinking ‘we’re American, we don’t need to practise’ so we usually get slaughtered.
“We played at the National Baseball Stadium last weekend! But usually it’s on a patch of grass that is a baseball field in Parque Roca. It’s a bit Little League.”
Given that it might prove complicated to get hold of baseball equipment due to the low demand, where do the Shankees get their kit from?
Mahshie says: “If the bat breaks, the coach gets pissed. We depend on people coming down here for most things but we met a guy outside the gas station last Saturday who sold us a bat! He was a carpenter who had made it in his studio! I think it cost 250 or 300 pesos. But he explained everything to us, which was the ash side, where to hit with it. Because bats are so expensive, Coach wrote on the bat ‘this side up’ with an arrow!”
Although the Shankees turned their mascot into a player, the team is still lacking someone dedicated to the position, so hopefuls should apply within.
For The Expat: Tranqui Yanqui, click here.
Photo courtesy of Tranqui Yanqui