Before every Bradenton Marauders home game I spend several hours going over information about the batters for the opponent team that day. Almost all of the information is gleaned from the opposing team's website and from that treasure trove of information I pluck little gems that can be used to heckle the batters that night. I look for things like how long the batter has been in the minor leagues (an indication of whether or not they will ever make it to the major leagues), their batting average and whether or not its rising or falling, the number of strike outs the batter has endured and any other thing that might be useful in getting in their head and more importanly under their skin. The key to heckling is to distract and / or annoy the batter to the point that he does something stupid like listen to me rather than pay attention to the game. When that happens then my team has an advantage because Batter A is thinking about me and what I'm saying behind home plate and not what's happening on the field. All of the information I glean I put in a one-page heckling information data sheet that I use throughout the game. Copies of the information sheet are handed out to several other heckler friends to help them get ready for the game.
Sometimes heckling works and some times it does not and there are certainly times when you know you're getting to the batter and its affecting their performance. Like the night in 2009 when I assisted a St. Lucie Mets batter (from the Dominican Republic) through two strike outs in his first two at bats. Then in the 7th inning with the count 2 balls and 2 strikes I bellowed out at him just before he swung at a pitch that was obviously going to be called a ball "Tiene le pene del nino, mericone" which means "You have the penis of a small boy you faggot." The batter heard me, swung and missed, and then conveniently let go of the bat and let it race toward my face! Then there was the night in 2010 when, also against the Mets, I had the entire Mets team heckling me from their bench. They were more concerned with me than with what the Marauders were doing on the field and that night the Marauders won 8-1.
Below is the heckler information data sheet I put together for tonight's game between the St. Lucie Mets and the Bradenton Marauders. Following it are lists of heckles that I use against opposing batters and with great gusto against the umpires. Some purists do not approve of heckling but it is a part of the game just like hitting a ball is a part of the game. If players can't handle our small cadre of Marauder fans who engage in heckling here then they will be putty in the hands of major league hecklers in places like Philadelphia, New York and Cincinnati. To paraphrase the late comedian Sam Kinison, "we're letting them off light" at this level.
St Lucie Mets Player Heckling Information
August 8 2013
BOYD, David. #15, 1B. Catonment FL, FSU. 2nd year in minors. Brooklyn in Short Season in 2012. Recent promotion in 2013 from Savannah Sand Gnats (Low A) where batted .361. Now batting 283 with 20 K. Maybe a return to Low A is your best career move at this point? Batting only 207 over last 10 games. 0-3 last night.
DE LA CRUZ, Yacabert. #1, 2B. Santo Domingo DR. We need to get you a new name, Bert. 5th year in minors and batting only 191 with 45 Ks. Hitting only 133 over last 10 games and went 0-4 last night. I think the numbers tell the message Bert. Time to go home.
GOMEZ, Gilberto. #17 CF. 5th year in minors. 68 K’s at Low A Savannah last year. .212 batting average this year with 90K. Team leader in Ks. Average dropped 48 points since May. Batting .143 over last 10 games. Gil things are not looking good.
LAWLEY, Dustin #38 LF. Adger Alabama. 3rd year in minor leagues. 0-3 last night. Batting .264 this year with 86Ks. 2nd on team in Ks. Average was .284 in Rookie League at Kingsport. Maybe that’s your calling Dustin? Northeast Tennessee is pretty this time of year.
MARON, Cammy #7 C. Huntington Long Island. 5th year in minors! .238 Batting Average 44Ks this year so far. Batted .300 in Low A Savannah last year. Maybe its time to return?
PLAWECKI, Kevin. #35, C. Carmel Indiana, Purdue. First round pick in 2012. Number 17 Mets prospect in 2013. Sort of a dubious honor given the team. Batting .315 with only 14K since promotion from Low A earlier this year. Dangerous.
REYNOLDS, Matt. #23. SS. Tulsa. 2nd year in minors. .259 at Low A Savannah last year. Batting .229 this year. Down 40 points since May. Went 0-3 last night. 68Ks this year 3rd on team
RIVERA, Tom. #2 SS. Da Bronx. 3rd year in minors. Do you have one of those funny accents? “Wok da dog on lawn guylund?” Batting .289 with 63Ks this year so far. 4th on team
SANDOVAL, Ryan. #5 2B. Hayward, CA. 4th year in St. Lucie! Some kind of a record? Just not getting the hint are you Ryan. Handwriting is on the wall. Batting .286 this year. Hasn’t played since July 27. Why are they keeping you around?
SHIELDS, Bob. #4 2B. Dade City Florida. 5th year in minors. Third round pick in 2009 and here you sit in A ball! Batting 233 with 55K this year. Must be keeping you around to promote to bat boy?
THURBER, Chuck. #20 RF. Elmira, NY. 3rd year in minors. Batted .223 at Low A Savannah last year and still promoted to high A? How does that work? Batting 203 this year with 57Ks. Hasn’t played since July 7. I think they’re sending you a message Chuck.
§ DH? Does that stand for Don't Have talent?
§ I wish my golf score was as good as your batting average.
§ Your hostess will seat you!! (following a strikeout)
§ Designated What?
§ I've seen better cuts at a deli!
§ Why'd you even bring the bat?
§ Here comes the Human Strike-Out!
§ (After fastball) If you think that was bad, you should see his fastball.
§ (After a swinging strike) Whew! Feel the breeze.
§ Think you can get this one past the pitcher's mound?
§ Do your parents know you do this for a living?
§ I've seen better bats in a cave!
§ You should get two called strikes for that swing!
§ This guy couldn't hit a shift key
§ You want some pepperoni on that slice?
§ How did you make the team?
§ The ball is that thing the catcher has!
§ Drop your purse and pick up a bat!
§ Save that swing for the mailbox league
§ You call that a swing?
§ Everybody move in!
§ Its the hit less wonder!
§ You're more of a batting practice hitter!
§ Know what a batting average is?
§ Do they have the strike out sign on?
§ Use your bat next time!!
§ Pitch him underhand!
§ DH means Doesn't Hit?
§ Take the donut off! (late on a pitch)
§ Swing Hard! Just in case you hit it!
§ Try the other side of the plate!
§ Just put the stick down and nobody gets hurt! (ugly swing)
§ Do you guys actually practice or do you just show up for the games?
§ I thought you were the team mascot!
§ I hope you paid to get in!
§ Go start the bus!
§ Do you think you'll like this game once you catch on?
§ It's time to hang up those spikes
§ Does your husband play too?
§ Biggest contribution you could make to this team is to go on the DL
§ Try breathing through your eyelids, meat!!! (Bull Durham)
§ What position do you play?, left bench?
§ Maybe you're left-handed and you don't know it
§ The steroids aren't working
§ I thought only horses slept standing up!
§ Is your rule book written in braille?
§ Hey Ump, how can you sleep with all these lights on
§ If you're just gonna watch the game, buy a ticket
§ Flip over the plate and read the directions
§ You couldn't call a pitch out right
§ How about some Windex for that glass eye!
§ Hey ump, diarrhea has more consistency than your strike zone!
§ You need to go to confession after that call!
§ Mix in some consistency once in awhile!
§ How do you sleep at night?
§ I was confused the first time I saw a game too
§ I've gotten better calls from my ex-wife!
§ Admit you lied!
§ When your dog barks twice, its a strike!
§ Kick your dog, he's lying to you!
§ Hey Blue, were you looking for the curve?
§ So which one of you is the designated driver?
§ Look through the mask, not at it!
§ You couldn't call a cab!
§ The circus is in town and the clowns are wearing blue!
§ It’s a strike zone, not an end zone!
§ You really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!
§ You can go home blue, we'll take it from here!
§ Ump – did you flunk out of tollbooth school?
§ It sure sounded like a strike!
§ You can open your eyes now!
§ Do you get any better or is this it?
§ You're blinking too long!
§ Do you feel guilty?
§ If the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask him to slow it down
§ Your strike zone is a moving target
§ You're getting better, you almost made the right call that time
§ Punch a hole in that mask, you're missing a good game
§ You're like a bat without sonar!
§ If you need the money this badly, get a paper route!
§ You flipping coins?
§ Is that your final answer?
§ Take off that welding mask
§ Open your good eye!
§ Can I buy you another beer?