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Sports

Posted on Sun, Sep. 19, 2004

Collector of heckles fires away




Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Michael Tolley knows a good heckle when he hears or sees one. The 35-year-old from Toronto offers 2,001 heckles on his Web site, http://www.heckledepot.com/.

Tolley traces his collection to 1996, when he and a few friends sat behind the Minnesota Twins' bullpen at a game at SkyDome and heckled the players with good-natured lines.

"Very lame stuff," Tolley said.

Their best effort focused on reliever Greg Hansell.

"Hey, Hansell," they yelled. "Where's Gretel?"

After a few innings of enduring worse lines than that one, Twins catcher Matt Walbeck stood up and told Tolley and friends they were the worst hecklers he had ever heard.

Inspired to improve, Tolley searched for good heckles. He found none in a library. He picked up a few from movies. But he knew more existed.

After purchasing his first computer, he began soliciting contributions through newsgroups.

Heckles poured in, and they keep coming. Three have been added from Monday's incident between Oakland fans and the Rangers bullpen, including, "Go ahead and throw the chair; everything you guys throw ends up in the seats anyway."

Tolley lists three criteria for good heckles: They must be topical, witty and original.

These are 10 of his favorites:

 "That ball's going over your head, just like Sesame Street!"

 "You've had fewer hits than Vanilla Ice!"

 "I've gotten better calls from my ex-wife!"

 "Nice play, Shakespeare!"

 "Flip over the plate and read the directions!"

 "Cinderella gets to the ball faster than you do!"

 "You couldn't save anything at a Wal-Mart sale!"

 "I've got Internet stocks in better shape than you!"

 "I've seen snakes with better hands!"

 "This guy couldn't hit a shift key!"

Sound bites

Heckling has been taken to a high art in the movies. Unfortunately some of the best lines aren't printable, but here are some that are:

Celtic Pride

"You guys are so bad, Nike should take away your shoes."

"How 'bout you go back to Utah and get yourself some more wives?"

Tin Cup

"I should recommend you work on your short game, but I think you should get drunk."

Slap Shot

"What did the old man trade for those guys? A used puck bag?"

Rocky

"Beethoven was deaf; Helen Keller was blind. I think Rocky's got a good chance."

Victory

"You don't kick well, you don't dribble well, but you could be a good goalkeeper."

Rocky II

Interviewer: "What's your prediction for the fight?"

Clubber Lang: "My prediction? Pain."

Major League

"Heywood leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When this guy sneezes, he looks like a party favor."

Willie Mays Hayes: "I'm Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays, and I run like Hayes."

Manager Lou Brown's reply: "Well, you may run like Mays, but you hit like ..."

"Saw your wife last night. Great little dancer. That guy she was with? I'm sure he's a close personal friend, but tell me, what was he doing with her panties on his head?"

http://www.heckledepot.com/ and http://www.imdb.com/