MIAMI – The Florida Marlins are looking for some footloose fat men.
The National League team is creating an all-male, plus-size cheerleading squad to be dubbed the Manatees. Tryouts were scheduled for Sunday.
The team hopes to recruit seven to 10 tubby men to dance, cheer and jiggle during Friday and Saturday home games this season.
Real manatees, 1,200-pound mammals sometimes referred to as "sea cows," are not considered the most agile of creatures and often get caught in boat propellers.
The Marlins want their Manatees to have the same dimensions, but to be decidedly more agile. Men will be judged on how well they dance a choreographed routine.
The Marlins already have a cheerleading squad, the considerably more svelte Mermaids.
Men selected for the Manatees won't be paid. They'll get tickets to games they perform at, and the honor of dancing in front of crowds that have been smallest in major league baseball for the last two seasons.
The Marlins aren't the only pro sports team capitalizing on Americans' expanding waistlines. The Chicago Bulls basketball team have the Matadors, a big-man dance troupe that's entertained fans at home games since 2003.
And although cheerleaders might be an unfamiliar site in baseball, big men aren't, as fans have long cheered on the likes of Babe Ruth and Kirby Puckett.