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Sports heckling on the Web

By NATE CROSSMAN, Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 4, 2000 -- Heckling has been around since the citizens of Rome pointed their fickle thumbs to the ground, telling their gladiators it was time for "sudden death."

The English heckled Shakespeare's players, hurling rotten fruits and veggies when they deemed the show unworthy of their hard-earned shilling.

And today, baseball fans heckle their overpaid heroes, pelting them with bawdy suggestions - some that would make even a truck driver blush.

Now, for those baseball fans who regard heckling as an art worthy of perfection, there is http://www.heckledepot.com/, a Web site clearly aimed at making the average fan more obnoxious.

At this site, heckling is categorized into headings like "umpires" and "batters." Click on a banner and get 100 or so one-liners, ready to try out at your next ball game (Timely for those with a team in the Divisional Series, but painfully useless for Red Sox fans.)

The heckles range from cute to moronic to "did he just say what I think he said?"

A favorite under the heading "fielders" is, "You couldn't catch a cold if you were butt-naked, sitting with your feet in a bucket of ice."

Aside from heckles, heckledepot.com also allows fans to download rosters of opposing teams, assuring there will always be plenty of ammunition in the heckle-holster.

In the spirit of fair play, however, heckledepot.com offers an extensive list of comebacks for aggravated outfielders, ranging from the very polite "Thanks for sharing," to the thought-provoking "Looks like there's one alcoholic who doesn't want to remain anonymous."

Players also offer insight as to how certain heckles have made them feel. Chicago White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas said it became "real aggravating" when a certain group of opposing fans repeatedly referred to him as "The Big Skirt," instead of the "The Big Hurt." If Thomas had previously logged onto heckledepot.com, he could have retorted with, "When you jumped in the gene pool, the lifeguard wasn't looking."

Heckledepot.com even has a hall of fame, featuring Yankee bleacher creatures, Florida State co-eds, and the famous Chicken mascot.

Veteran hecklers may find this site a bit pedestrian, because it features many of the same, tired one-liners that have been around since Babe Ruth was getting razzed.

But it does feature several interesting chants, far removed from the days of "we need a pitcher, not a belly itcher."

So log on and catch some of the entertainment on heckledepot.com - but I bet you couldn't catch a cold if you were butt-naked with your feet in a bucket of ice.

Sports Page Wednesday, October 4, 2000 Front Page

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2000 Daily Hampshire Gazette