Creating a Social Network: How To Handle A Heckler...

How To Handle A Heckler...

Photo Credit to Meawpong3405 from freedigitalphotos.netI've never been one to heckle, it's just not in my blood.  In fact, I get massively embarrassed just being around hecklers.


This past weekend, I went to a Seattle Mariners baseball game (They played the Texas Rangers...and lost).  Yes, they might not have the best record, but the games are still a blast and I try to make at least 4-5 games a year.

Someone on the executive team for the Mariners thought it would be a brilliant idea to place the away team's bullpen in the beer garden.  This, of course, breed for the worst and meanest hecklers.

I heard it all.  Heckles about how a guy's 90-year-old grandma could throw better than him.  And how the tennis balls on his walker moved faster than that baseball (yes, several were about being elderly and these of course were the mild heckles). One person even heckled about a guy's, er, promiscuity.

All of the pitchers warming up handled these hecklers in a stoic fashion, never letting on that the home crowd was getting to them.  One pitcher, Darren Oliver, truly took advantage of the situation.


What's that age-old idiom? Oh, yes.  Kill them with kindness.


That's exactly what Oliver did.  He killed the entire crowd with kindness.  After finishing his warm-up, Oliver walked over to one fan, handed him the ball he was pitching with, and with the most sincere voice said "That was a new one I hadn't heard before.  Thanks for making me laugh."

(Unfortunately, I didn't hear the exact heckle that won the ball...)

The crowd was absolutely astonished and instantly began cheering for him.  I've never seen anything like it.  He turned an entire crowd that was heckling at him into a crowd that loved him just by killing one guy with kindness.


Yes, this may be baseball, but we all have our own hecklers in life.  It's just a good reminder that killing them with kindness can completely make the difference in your interaction.

Comment balloon 29 commentsKelly Anderson • July 19 2011 10:49PM


Kill 'em with kindness! Well put, and well written blog. Thanks for the read...

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 9 years ago

Smart Guy, but did he get a home run???

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) over 9 years ago

Now that's a lesson we all could learn from. The old adage that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar rang true in this scenario.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 9 years ago

So true.  Sometimes we just need to be shocked into remembering these words to live by by seeing it in action.

Posted by Kelly Anderson (ActiveRain) over 9 years ago


Thanks for sharing your insights. The best ones do come from life experience.



Posted by Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain (Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain) over 9 years ago

Thats a good and fun story. Im not a big baseball fan, but I applaud the pitcher for the way he handled it. I think I would have personally had a few comments towards the fan.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 over 9 years ago

Kelly, it's nice Darren Oliver had some class with it... a Texas Rangers fan.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Back in a previous life I used to be one of those guys standing on the fence of the bullpen at Safeco heckling. I know, super juvenile of me......but those guys get paid enough to take some good natured abuse from the fans.

Keeping it good natured and fresh is the key. I'm sure those guys have heard the same tired lines over and over again. Good for Darren Oliver but maybe better for the fan that was able to come up with a heckle he's never heard before.....Oliver has been in the majors for 18 years so you would think he's heard just about every heckle in the book.

Of course, I never realized the beer garden was over in that same area.....strange :-)

Posted by Bob Stewart, ActiveRain Ambassador (ActiveRain) over 9 years ago

Kelly - Very smart guy indeed. And a nice guy... You gotta love that kind of a sports figure...

Posted by Robert Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

Great post Kelly.  Nothing is ever accomplished by responding with anger.  Gotta remove your ego from these situations.

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) over 9 years ago

My first broker told me if you can't kill 'em with kindness, dazzle 'em with bullshit!

Posted by Bob Marsh, Broker,480-529-2936, Warm Weather Real Estate (Warm Weather Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Great story! Love the way he handled that.

Posted by Jesse Madison, List For Less...Sell for More | 1% List Fee! (One Point Plus Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Darren Oliver has been around for at least 15 years. You don't last that long without a good head on your shoulders. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 9 years ago

Gary - It's probably must more fun to be a Rangers fan than a Mariners fan these days!

Bob - You? A one-time heckler?! No!  I just can't picture that ;)

Lisa/Robert - It's got to be hard for some of those sports figures to hold back their emotion.  You know they must hear it from every angle.

Howard/Susan - Very true on the ego part.  It's a little hard to swallow sometimes.

Bob Marsh - I have never heard that phrase, but it is instantly going into my vocabulary!

Jesse - It was so great to watch.  He really did handle it flawlessly.

J. Philip - If people were heckling me, I'm not sure if I could last a season...let alone 15+ years!

Posted by Kelly Anderson (ActiveRain) over 9 years ago

So true Kelly!  Stopping by to say hello!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 9 years ago

What a great story! For once, a guy with real class! We used to live near Seattle and had season tickets for five years... we miss them now that we're in Oregon.


Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Kill them with kindness ? 

I almost let them kill me!


I realize I have long way to go. Thanks for the reminder, Kelly and AR community.


Posted by Susan& Charlie Ahern, Owner & Broker, Coronado Real Estate 4 Sale 619-92 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties) over 9 years ago

Thats what I generally do when someone is being a horse's behind and then they feel bad about being an ass and they start to be nice! Haha I love reverse psycholgy!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Kelly, that sure was one way to put down a heckler. Kindness always wins out. Thanks.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 9 years ago


Great post. I bet the fans will leave him alone next time he is in town.

Posted by Scott Fogleman, Greater Good Group (New Home Team 804-573-9592) over 9 years ago

Love it! Kindness can turn a situation around for sure - thanks for sharing.

Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) over 9 years ago

Kelly, you don't look like a heckler.   Good stuff.  Thanks for posting and big kudos to Oliver.  A class act!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 9 years ago


Very timing for me, I videotaped a hecklers showdown when I went to a Barcelona soccer game. .

Check it out.

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 9 years ago

Hi Kelly! I loved your post! Darren Oliver is one of my favorites, primarily because he is a class act.

I love my Texas Rangers and even had the fun of watching them win in Seattle a couple of years ago.  ;0) Fell totally in love with the city, the market, and the water. But, alas, how could I live there and be away from my beloved Ranger's Ballpark? Although....I've never been to a baseball field that had chocolate covered strawberries as fan food. Wow.

If you ever find your way down to Texas during baseball season, give me a holler. We'll go to a game!

Go Rangers!

Posted by Deb McNeill, Fort Worth Real Estate (Flying M Team Small World Realty Fort Worth, Tx) over 9 years ago

Oh...for heaven's's baseball ;-) In Austin, Texas where we are know for our hospitality there is a special section reserved by a group called "The Wild Bunch" for UT games. And like Bob said, those guys are paid enough to take a bit of abuse... real life,we should be able to take some heckling too but it does have it's limits!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Love comment #11!  Definitely made my side hurt with laughter :-)

Posted by Tamara Inzunza, Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living (Realty One Group Capital) over 9 years ago

What a great post... and lesson. What's sad is to see heckling at children's games, coming from the parents, no less.

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Oh, that is awesome! I wish I could have been there to see that and would have loved to see the hecklers reaction to it. I did enjoy the game I got to see before Raincamp on Father's Day, but of course they won that day..

Posted by Todd Clark, Principle Broker Oregon (eXp Realty LLC) over 9 years ago

Hi Kelli,  So true.  It's always best to take the high road.  

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago