Be careful who you heckle in MLB. Your words may just earn you a free gift.
Yes, although it’s too early to call it a trend, it seems the hot new way for MLB players to quiet their haters is to hand them baseballs inscribed with sassy messages. Last month, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips gave a heckling fan a signed ball after a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates that read:
“Dear Drunk Guy, Thank you 4 all the love & support!! Now take this ball and shut the [expletive] up!! :) From yours truly, Brandon Phillips #4 ‘DatDude’ “
Now, the Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel is following suit. After being disparaged by a man in the stands throughout the game against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, Keuchel gave him a ball featuring his own sassy message.
— Nick Wong (@nickw888) July 24, 2014
Not as enthusiastic as Phillips’s missive, Keuchel’s message lacked both exclamation marks and smiley faces. More importantly, though, Keuchel also left his signature off the ball, which could make the heckler’s souvenir much less valuable. But at least the pitcher remembered to sign off with a heart. As the saying goes, kill ’em with kindness.