|McAllister: This site takes
offense, and gives it right back
Mike Tolley wasn't surprised that Alex
Rodriguez was showered with boos and fake money two months ago
in his return to Safeco Field. And he fully expects Seattle
fans to continue giving A-Rod the same treatment at next
month's All-Star Game.
"I think Texas will win the prize this year for most
heckled team," Tolley said.
Consider that an expert opinion. As creator of the Baseball
Heckle Depot (www.heckledepot.com
), Tolley greatly appreciates the razzing hometown fans give
visiting teams. In fact, when Tolley, a Canadian, attends a
ballgame with friends, he likes nothing more than sitting
behind the visitors' bullpen and scatter-bombing the opposing
players with barbs.
Such was the case in a 1996 game at Toronto's SkyDome. The
Minnesota Twins were in town, and Tolley began throwing verbal
jabs at catcher Matt Walbeck and pitcher Greg Hansell. At one
point, Tolley yelled, "Hey, Hansell, where's Gretel?"
Walbeck couldn't leave that groaner alone. So he shot back
that Tolley and his friends were the worst hecklers he had
Tolley took Walbeck's criticism to heart. Lacking a good
resource for heckles, however, Tolley soon produced and
launched his own reference Internet guide. His site now offers
more than 850 different heckles, and site visitors still
submit a dozen or so each day. But "there are not too many
original ones out there we haven't already catalogued," Tolley
said. "'Hey, ump, if you had another eye, you'd be a Cyclops!'
has been submitted hundreds of times."
A recent top-10 list included: "You couldn't hit sand if
you fell off a camel," "Swing the bat yourself, batteries
aren't included" and "I've seen snakes with better hands."
But the site isn't simply a list of heckles. The home page
includes a Patsy of the Day that is updated every time the
page is loaded. A Heckling Hall of Fame showcases the most
ardent hecklers. Directions on how to build an air horn are
available. And users can send in their own heckling stories.
In addition, there are links to other heckling-related
sites, including two college baseball sites: www.techhecklers.com
(created by rowdy Texas Tech fans) and www.sectionb.com (a
site that celebrates Florida State's "Animals of Section B.").
The Heckle Depot doesn't receive a lot of traffic (about
500 visitors a day), but Tolley isn't doing it for the money.
He just wants to celebrate the art of heckling and give users
a chance to share their new barbs.
Unfortunately, Tolley's own heckling voice has been
silenced. He relocated from Toronto to Ireland six months ago,
which pretty much limits his opportunities to attend a
baseball game. And even if he were back home, his zinger days
are over – at least when he and his wife are in the stands.
"It embarrasses her to no end," Tolley said, "and the truth
is, unless I have some moral support, I'm not too loud."
Just browsing ...
NBA.com is offering a
live cybercast of Wednesday's NBA draft starting at 6 p.m.
offering visitors a chance to vote in a mock draft.
...Wimbledon started this week, and the tournament's official
site, Wimbledon.org, is
again offering plenty of real-time coverage. The site is
updating every point as it happens, and a link to Radio
Wimbledon is also available. ... PGATour.comis offering
live streaming video of the 15th hole Thursday and Friday at
the Canon Greater Hartford Open. The hole is a 296-yard par-4
that should entice players to try driving the green. ... Want
to follow baseball's return to Brooklyn? The Brooklyn
Cyclones' official Web site, BrooklynCyclones.com,
offers live Webcasts of games. ... ESPN.com's new outdoors
section is offering fantasy fishing leagues. No word on if
game players are having trouble deciding whether bass or
catfish will put up better numbers this season. ... The last
vestiges of the defunct XFL are disappearing on the Web. After
having a blowout sale on merchandise a couple of weeks ago, XFL.com is
now forwarding visitors to the WWF e-shop link.
Mike McAllister, DallasNews.com assistant sports editor,
writes about sports on the Internet for The News.
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