Michael Keaton knows a thing or two about rising to the occasion. The Academy Award-nominated actor has played the part of a do-gooding right-fighter a time or two in his noteworthy career, including a memorable run as Batman and the 2014 film Birdman. But even off the screen, the 63-year-old actor still has the spring of a superhero in his step, as he recently demonstrated when he leapt to the defense of one of his favorite baseball players and confronted a heckler.
An avid fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Keaton was on hand at Turner Field in Atlanta for the Pirates’ away game against the Braves on Friday night. Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports noted that Keaton was seated near the Pirates’ dugout during the game. Via Instagram, the actor shared a snapshot of Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen warming up for a turn at bat.
Throughout the game, a disgruntled Braves fan reportedly directed his ire at McCutchen, showering the All Star player with not-so-subtle critiques of his playing abilities. Pittsburgh area news source TribLive noted that McCutchen, who engaged in some back-and-forth with the vocal fan, later described their rapport as “PG-13” in nature.
Despite the fact that the big-time ball player held his own against the heckler, superfan Michael Keaton took it upon himself to get involved in the verbal fisticuffs, evoking comparisons to the cloaked vigilantes he has portrayed on the silver screen from time to time. Rising from his seat, Keaton confronted the boisterous Braves fan, deriding him by drawing his attention to the scoreboard in center field. Of course, the Pirates were leading at that point in the game.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 6, 2015
Keaton’s gesture resonated with Pirates’ fans and after the game, McCutchen discussed his philosophy regarding hecklers.
“People sometimes think we are animals in a zoo that don’t speak, and they can hit on the windows and don’t think we are going to do or say anything,” McCutchen remarked in comments published by TribLive. “They get a little surprised when we actually do respond. A lot of times it’s like you’re talking to a 3-year-old. They just want some attention.”
For defending the honor of his favorite team, Michael Keaton garnered accolades from the Pirates’ faithful. He also received an autographed baseball from Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett at one point in the evening. Keaton later showed off the prize via Instagram.
Much to Michael Keaton’s delight, the Pirates held on to beat the Braves by a score of 10 to 8. Then again, it’s tough to beat a team who brings Batman to the game. Maybe next season, the Braves can make a few trades to bring Dark Knight’s nemesis Bane to their bullpen.
[Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for SeriousFun Children’s Network]