+ John Gordon
Wednesday, November 10,
1999This Jekyll of heckle can help you
bring out the Hyde in any baseball fan
Tolley used to be a hapless baseball heckler. A few years back,
taking in a Toronto Blue Jays game with a few friends, he tossed a
particularly lame barb toward the Minnesota Twins bullpen. And Twins
catcher Matt Walbeck turned around with a biting retort. "He said,
'You're the worst hecklers I've ever heard in my life,' '' remembers
Tolley. "And he was right. We just felt like idiots." Tolley decided
he needed to improve his powers of harassment. But when he observed
a lack of literature devoted to bleacher banter, he designed a Web
site devoted to the lively art of the ball-diamond tongue lashing.
At "The Baseball Heckle Depot" (www.heckledepot.com), Tolley has
collected and displayed reams of one-liners -- from the viciously
witty to the not-so-cleverly cliched. And he's received a passionate
reaction from some of the sport's most renowned mouthpieces. During
this year's playoffs, he was getting 200 hits a day. "There's
nothing obscene on the site," he says. "Unfortunately, that's the
sad state of heckling these days, especially in New York. They're
known for their vulgarity. This site is a backlash to that." Indeed,
along with a long list of ammunition -- "I've seen better hands on a
snake!" and "I could time your fastball with a calendar!" are two
zingers -- Tolley also offers a primer in heckling ethics. (Rule No.
1 is "Don't Get Personal ... especially about their mothers.") Alas,
Tolley, a Toronto fire-alarm technician, hasn't had the chance to
put his pet project into practice. "My wife doesn't allow heckling,"
says Tolley, who's currently working on The Golf Heckle Depot.
"She's embarrassed by it. And if I was sitting next to someone who
heckled like I used to, I'd be embarrassed, too."
| Ron Kuntz,
So you want to really give
Orioles' Roberto Alomar the raspberry? Check out James
Tolley's Web site.