Batman would seem to be a perfect baseball player. He’s got the strong, lean body, the quick twitch athleticism, and the grit, want, and desire that are all 80s on the 20-80 scouting scale. Unfortunately, the vow he made to himself the night his parents were gunned down in Crime Alley was not to crush hanging curveballs, but to strike fear into the hearts of criminals.
Fortunately for us, Batman does occasionally have to show up to a baseball game as evidenced in Batman #411, with DC Comics helpfully warning us that THIS IS NOT FOR KIDS.
The comic begins with Two-Face pulling off a bank heist (because it’s the Second National Bank. Everything has to be in pairs for Two-Face), but he does it in the middle of the day. Why? Because that blasted Batman wouldn’t dare come out then.
It’s a flawed premise to begin with because, after Bruce Wayne meets with some charitable donors, he quickly changes into his Bat gear and awkwardly climbs in through Commissioner Gordon’s window:
It’s almost as if everyone assumes Batman has a 9-5 desk job that he can’t step away from. Guys, he’s Batman. He’ll show up.
After speaking with Commissioner Gordon and assessing that since there were two robberies in two days, Two-Face will need to make it four in four days, Batman returns home to find the new Robin, Jason Todd in bed.
Those damn teenagers, wasting the day away with their video games and nudie mags and sleeping. Don’t they know there is a war on crime going on?
The crimefighters head out and somehow, it’s not really explained, deduce that Two-Face’s next target will be at the Gotham Mammoths baseball game. Why? Because there are two Gotham baseball teams* and the Mammoths are playing a double-header that day. Makes perfect logical sense to me.
*And for continuity freaks, here things get a little confusing. According to a DC guide, Gotham’s baseball teams are the Griffins and the Knights, not the Mammoths. Meanwhile, Minneapolis exists in the DC Universe and they have their own Twins there. Just assume there were some ownership and team name changes.
Also, by looking at this image, I can easily scout the pitcher and say that he’s allowing the batter far too much time to see the ball coming out of his hand and, because of the early separation from the glove, there is undue stress on the arm and shoulder as he has to “whip” it around to throw with velocity. If any Major League teams need a comic book baseball scout, please contact me.
Naturally, because of the robbery, Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd are unable to use their season tickets. Rather than protect innocent people and just eat the seats, they throw caution to the wind and Alfred and Commissioner Gordon get to take in a game together.
Yeah, that sounds about right. Also, what are the chances of a 2-2 count in the second inning with two men on base? Does Tango Tiger have an expectancy chart for this?
With Two-Face apparently waiting in the wings for just this moment, he rushes the ticket window, pulling a gun on the teller.
For someone who has planned his heists so well in the past, this seems incredibly reliant on luck. I’d have to imagine he’s due for a crime-related regression on future heists.
Fortunately, Batman and Robin are there to put a stop to the plan and put a start to the great baseball puns. Like:
Wait…other than Ty Cobb, I’m not sure choking a man out is part of baseball.
Because of Jason Todd’s rage issues, Two-Face is able to get away thanks to his stair-running abilities. Seriously.
The two then rush onto the field and, if this was an actual baseball broadcast, the at-home viewers would be treated to a commercial break or views of the city skyline from the Goodyear Blimp.
After Two-Face knocks out Batman and a ballplayer for a “doubleplay” he takes off for second base, sliding in safe, and completing a boyhood dream. But proving that Two-Face is not a true fan, probably one who calls up sports talk radio stations to discuss made-up trade rumors, he sprints out to centerfield instead of rounding the bases.
And, wouldn’t you know, Two-Face is able to escape thanks to a well-placed ladder.
While you would think this is the most unrealistic part of the comic, because how could Batman or security not be prepared for this, a Houston Astros game from May 2011 proves it can be done. Jon Bois even made a helpful diagram:
With Two-Face gone, Batman reveals that he’s got plenty in common with Ervin Santana, allowing home runs to be easily scored off of him:
Defeated, Bruce and Jason return to the Batcave to regroup, with no mention of whether this game would be suspended until a later date or not. There, the two have an argument that’s very similar to one you’ve had with your own parents:
“Son, because of your anger and rage, a deadly criminal escaped.”
“Dad, you didn’t tell me that this criminal is suspected of killing my father.”
You know, normal family stuff.
The two quickly patch up their differences and return to the scene of Two-Face’s first crime, The Lucky Dollar casino, that just so happens to have the World’s Largest Roulette Wheel. Funny how that works out.
With Jason Todd now channeling his anger correctly, he kicks the giant roulette ball at Two-Face, surely killing a normal man, and the Dynamic Duo defeat him because he gets dizzy and starts seeing double. Sadly, Foreigner’s Double Vision is not playing at the time,
While everything seems to be buttoned up pretty well, I’m left wondering just how the hell Retrosheet accounted for that Mammoths-Twins game. Did Two-Face get credit for a steal? How is Batman’s UZR rating affected by not capturing Two-Face on the field of play? Does anyone care about the important facts?
If this wasn’t enough for you, check out more of our Batman and baseball posts, by clicking here.