Mars is much in the news lately — with NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter flying on the Red Planet and manned missions in the planning stages — and the Kenosha Kingfish have their own Marz rover.
Namely, Marz Timms.
As the team’s new on-field personality and emcee, Timms roves around Simmons Field during the team’s home games, overseeing all the non-baseball action, from Toilet Bowl Races to helping lead “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
The comedian — whose sister gave him the name “Marz” when they were young kids growing up on Chicago’s Westside — is no stranger to playing the host for sports fans. His earlier gigs included stints with the Chicago Bulls and the Rockford, Ill., Ice Hogs hockey team.
Though he’s more of a football and basketball fan, ranking baseball his No. 3 choice, Timms enjoys all sports.
“I love rugby, too, and women’s indoor volleyball,” he said when we talked inside the team’s office before the June 5 game against the Traverse City Pit Spitters.
Working a crowd
At Simmons Field, Timms oversees the on-field hijinks that take place between the actual baseball action.
It’s a role that suits the longtime standup comedian’s talents.
“I love that I get to ad-lib with the fans,” he said. “I love spontaneity and interacting with people.”
Hearing the roar of a crowd “is what I missed in 2020. The energy you get from a crowd, and the power you get from people who are just laughing and having a good time.”
Simmons Field, he added, “is such a intimate space, as opposed to the United Center. You get to really see people up close here.”
So far, so good
After his first two Kingfish home games, Timms’ early favorite “bits” are the Ribbon Dance, with two very enthusiastic fans showing off their moves, and leading crowd on “Sweet Caroline” and “YMCA.”
“It’s all fun,” he said.
As he walks around the field — in flashy apparel from Mike Bjorn’s in Downtown Kenosha — Timms said fans love to come up and grab selfies with him.
It’s something he very much encourages.
“Any time I’m able to connect with fans is great,” he said. “I like to have fun and meet people.”
A born entertainer
Timms — who jokes that “I’ve always been in show business, since the day I was born at Cook County Hospital” — describes himself as “a quiet watcher” as a kid.
That trait has served him well in comedy.
“I’m still that way,” he said. “With comedy, you get a lot of material by sitting back and watching people.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live performances in 2020, Timms stayed busy.
“I did some Zoom corporate shows and started a video series,” he said. “I’m very self-motivated and am always thinking of bigger and better things. If I have an idea, I want to get it out there.”
Timms also filmed a commercial for Lowe’s, which ran nationally and provided a steady stream of residual checks.
Before his Kingfish role, Timms remembers being in town “performing a show in a lakefront park for, I think, a Pride festival.” This summer’s Kenosha Pride event is Aug. 22 in Veterans Memorial Park, 625 52nd St.
Going back to his childhood, however, brought Timms to this area for a very different reason.
He’s a serious snowboarder and performs in Colorado frequently as a way to feed that passion, but he first learned how to ski much closer to home.
“I taught myself to ski by sliding down our front steps,” he said. “And then, in grammar school, we went to Wilmot Mountain to ski. I’ve also been to Alpine Valley and Devil’s Head,” but his heart — at least when it comes to winter sports — belongs to Colorado.
About his game-day duds from Bjorn’s, Timms — who’s also a model and “likes to flash it up” — said he’s going “for an Elvis look, because of King Elvis here and the Elvis connection. People at the games have been saying I look like Liberace or Little Richard. But it’s Elvis-inspired.”
Speaking of King Elvis — the team’s giant yellow fish mascot, who ziplines onto the field to start every home game — Timms said he and “the King” have been getting along famously.
“We’re like Thing 1 and Thing 2; we’re tight already,” he said.
Such a bargain
When asked why folks should head to Simmons Field for a Kingfish game, Timms quickly cites “the food, the drinks, the games: it’s so fan-friendly here. And the gear looks great, too.”
Even more amazing to a Chicago resident? Parking is free.
“The prices here are amazing,” he said, still sounding dumbfounded that beer can be had for less than $10. “I’m blown away by the prices. It’s really great for a fun night out.”
As for the team, they’re thrilled to have Timms in the house.
“Marz is a fantastic addition,” said Steve Malliet, the Kenosha Kingfish team president. “We feel very lucky to have him here. It’s not often we get a talent like Marz to run our on-field show.”
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