Action Figues can be Homework!
Chances are good that anyone interested in becoming a Masterful Heckler is already quite knowledgeable about baseball. Perfect. Use your power. If not, check who is playing, and read up about them. These are the days of smart phones and search engines, so there’s no shortage of material. Heckles are most effective when aimed carefully. There is a greater chance of getting under a player’s skin when they hear something about them specifically.
One day, Masterful Heckler was visiting Toronto and went to a game where former Blue Jay Eric Hinske was on the visiting team. Heckler focused on Eric, and ignored everyone else.
For the first at bat, Heckler waited until Hinske settled, and then cried out,
“Errrrr-IC!” Heckler went on about how Hinske had won the A.L. Rookie of the Year with Toronto, and how his career had gone into decline directly thereafter. Heckler maintained the attitude of a broken-hearted parent, deriding Hinske for not living up to expectations. As this was in Toronto, the crowd quickly jumped on board with Masterful, laughing along with his criticisms of Hinske, who struck out.
Heckler said nothing until Hinske’s second at bat. Again, he waited until Hinske was set in the box before crying out, “Errrrr-IC!” This time, Masterful focused on Hinske’s famous temper, as the player focused on water coolers as objects of retribution after strikeouts. Heckler went on about the water coolers, and the abuse they received at his hands, and how many of them were now going through therapy. The tactic worked, as mocking Hinske for his short temper actually brought it out. Hinske struck out again, and glared at Masterful Heckler’s section while stalking back to the dugout.
At this point it needs to be said that this Heckler was also a collector of baseball cards and toys. He particularly enjoyed a series of baseball figurines that showed players in very realistic poses, doing awesome baseball stuff. He also owned Hinske’s figurine, pictured above.
The Eric Hinske figure was a bit of a let down compared to the others. It was not posed in mid-air turning two, or releasing a powerful throw, swatting a ball into the stratosphere, or even charging down a base-path. It showed Hinske diving forward on his stomach, with a baseball on a see-through peg to be mounted on his glove as if about to be caught.
It was a rare miss for the company that made the figures. The gimmick of having the ball in the peg did not work out well at all. Instead, the ball/peg combination continually fell out of the figure’s glove to lie on the shelf.
For Hinske’s third at bat, Heckler had saved a diatribe on the action figure. The reasoning being that there was no way Hinske did not own an action figure of himself; the figurine was really lame compared to all the others; and finally, it was a good bet that nobody had gone after him because his action figure was terrible, and he would have a tough time ignoring this.
Once again, Hinske got set in the batter’s box, only to have Heckler cry out, “Errrr-IC!” Upon hearing Heckler, Hinske immediately held up a hand a stepped out of the box. The section, now primed by Heckler’s “Eric” call, was already laughing.
Smelling blood, Heckler plunged into his bit, talking about how excited he was to hear Hinske was getting his own action figure, how cool all the other action figures looked, and his shock at how badly Hinske’s figure had turned out. As he described the figurine’s shortcomings, he kept coming back to the peg/baseball combination and, stealing a page from Jeff Dunham’s Jose Jalapeno bit, referred to it as a baseball on a stick.
By the end of his detailed description of how lame the figurine was, Heckler had the whole section roaring along with him whenever touched back on Hinske’s baseball on a stick. And, more importantly, how he couldn’t even keep a huge contraption like that in his glove.
Hinske, to nobody’s surprise, struck out for the third time, and was even removed from the game. Players on his team could be seen peering out of the dugout towards Heckler’s section. Exactly the sort of thing a Heckler lives for.
To have this much of an effect on a player, a Heckler must have their homework done. Look and see what is out there about a player, and seize upon it. The more obscure stories will have greater effect.
Accuracy is imperative. Simply repeating rumors is looked down upon by Masterful Hecklers. Besides, players will just tune out falsehoods. Heckles are meant to affect them, not to be ignored by them.