How To Handle A Heckler...

Education & Training with ActiveRain

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.

Comments (29)

Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL

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

Aug 16, 2011 10:35 AM
Bob Marsh
Warm Weather Real Estate - Mesa, AZ
Broker,480-529-2936, Warm Weather Real Estate

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

Aug 16, 2011 10:54 AM
Jesse Madison
One Point Plus Real Estate - Laguna Niguel, CA
List For Less...Sell for More | 1% List Fee!

Great story! Love the way he handled that.

Aug 16, 2011 11:01 AM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

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

Aug 16, 2011 01:06 PM
Kelly Anderson
ActiveRain - Bellevue, WA

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!

Aug 16, 2011 01:37 PM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

So true Kelly!  Stopping by to say hello!

Aug 16, 2011 03:49 PM
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

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.


Aug 16, 2011 04:40 PM
Susan& Charlie Ahern
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Coronado, CA
Owner & Broker, Coronado Real Estate 4 Sale 619-92

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.


Aug 16, 2011 05:09 PM
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

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!

Aug 16, 2011 05:33 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

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

Aug 16, 2011 11:47 PM
Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
Greater Good Group


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

Aug 17, 2011 12:04 AM
K.C. McLaughlin
RE/MAX United - Cary, NC
Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC

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

Aug 17, 2011 12:13 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

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

Aug 17, 2011 12:28 AM
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA


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

Check it out.

Aug 17, 2011 12:53 AM
Deb McNeill
Flying M Team Small World Realty Fort Worth, Tx - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

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!

Aug 17, 2011 02:18 AM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

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!

Aug 17, 2011 02:24 AM
Tamara Inzunza
Realty One Group Capital - Alexandria, VA
Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living

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

Aug 17, 2011 04:05 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

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

Aug 17, 2011 04:16 AM
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

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..

Aug 17, 2011 08:56 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

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

Nov 17, 2011 10:14 AM

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