After all of the advice I’ve doled out over the past few years (at zero cost to you the consumer, mind you), the time has finally come to return the favor. No, I’m not trying to sell my daughter’s Girl Scout cookies. And I don’t need your votes in some online poll for “Best Fantasy Baseball Advice Writers, Fictional.” (Although, if such a category exists, please consider yours truly.) All I’m asking is for you to do a little heckling.
At 3-5, my fantasy team is currently third (out of four) in my division and in desperate need of a nonsteroidal shot in the arm. The Illusionists(!) started the season with three quick losses, regrouped—thanks mostly to the resurgent Carlos Beltran—to climb back to the .500 mark, before losing another two, and, frankly, this sixth week isn’t looking too promising.
It’s not that these players lack talent, but it seems like they’re not giving it the unrealistic 110 percent out there. And, as manager, it’s time for me to take some action. Or, more accurately, you.
So, if you happen to see any of the following players at a ballpark near you, please send a heckle their way, before this season gets out of hand. Don’t do it for me. Do it for my wallet.
Johnny Estrada, C
While his rebirth in Arizona is doing a nice job of erasing memories of last year’s poor season, one thing he can never erase is his last name. Evoke repressed memories of grammar-school recesses from long ago, when kids tormented him with insults laced with references to Officer Ponch. Before heading out to the ballpark, pack your tight shorts, motorcycle helmets, tan shades, large puff of healthy hair, and, most importantly, your Latin charisma.
Prince Fielder, 1B
Sing an a cappella version of “When Doves Cry,” substituting the chorus for a recitation of his father’s career totals in home runs (319) and RBIs (1,008). At the end of the performance, call him fat, and wonder aloud if that’s the reason his father doesn’t attend his games.
Jeff Kent, 2B
Make a large pie chart illustrating that, while Kent has made close to $60 million during his long and illustrious career, Barry Bonds has made over $150 million. When he mulls this over, let him know that his mustache was in style during the ’80s. Mostly, in porno movies. Exclusively, gay ones.
Edgar Renteria, SS
Offer him comfort and understanding that not everyone has the inner strength and Colbert-sized testicles to succeed in Boston. Most people do. But not everyone.
David Wright, 3B
Let him know that, while you’re in awe of the statistics he’s put up in his young career, you’ve seen your fair share of young stars burn out. Especially when they happen to be playing in New York. There’s something about that metropolitan atmosphere. The pressure of those millions of people, watching your every move, every day, every night. (Stop delivering this pressure-laden tirade when the first bead of sweat drips from his forehead. After all, we don’t really want him to burn out. He’s one of my keepers.)
Brian Giles, OF
Reminisce with any nearby youngsters about the Brian Giles of old: the All-Star who frequently showcased his muscles by sending high-arcing moon shots into the night. “Back then, he was the better Giles brother,” you’ll tell them. When the kids retort by suggesting that his power decline came after he started playing half his games in the spacious dimensions of Petco Park, loudly express faux amazement of the coincidence that his power decline coincided with a more stringent steroid-testing policy. That’ll shut those brats up.
Barry Bonds, OF
No need to worry about him. Thirty thousand people are taking care of him every night.
Jeff Francoeur, OF
Is it just me, or does his last name sound a bit French? (He was born in Atlanta, but don’t let “facts” get in the way of a good heckle.) Attack him with a brand of O’Reilly-like blacklisting. Stitch “Freedom” onto the back of a replica jersey, right over his name. Let him know you’re boycotting any goods imported from Jeff’s house. While this will confuse him more than anything, confusion means victory in the Book of Heckles.
If you squint just right, Lackey kind of looks like John Rocker. Use this observation how you see fit. I suggest a variety of posters, limericks, T-shirts, websites, and nonsupported accusations of possible maternal infidelities.
As clearly as you can, make him aware that pitch counts are for pussies.