Mailbox baseball, also known as mailboxing, is the act of hanging out the passenger side of a car, usually with a bat, and hitting roadside mailboxes while another person is driving.
This action exists both in and out of fictional media, being used in works to depict characters, usually teenage or young adolescents as delinquents who have little or no respect or regard for other people or the law. However, some repeat victims start to get wise and look for ways to protect their mailboxes, usually by reinforcement through steel or concrete additions, as revenge against the people who keep wrecking their property. This often ends badly for the practitioners, whether through broken bats or even broken hands, wrists, or arms.
Note that, in the United States at least, any crimes against mailboxes and the mail inside them are considered a federal offense, as they are protected by federal law. Punishments typically include fines or even jail time, so Don't Try This at Home.
This has become a Discredited Trope in some countries (like Canada) due to their governments phasing out personal home mailboxes in favor of the reinforced safe-like mailboxes set up at specific neighborhoods, where recipients gather their mail in one location, which among other things, is to prevent such stunts like mailbox vandalism from happening in the first place. As such, you'll rarely see this trope ever played straight in media set in those countries nowadays. Likewise, this trope is unlikely to show up in media set in countries where roadside mailboxes are uncommon. note
- Benchwarmers: In order to train the Benchwarmers to become better players, Reggie Jackson has them drive around the neighborhood smashing mailboxes with baseball bats.
- Dazed and Confused: Pink, Pickford, Don and Mitch go cruising while drinking beer and smoking weed, and decide to play a game of mailbox baseball. The game comes to an end when a homeowner brandishing a gun threatens to call the police. They barely escape after the resident fires at their car.
- In a deleted scene from Juno, Leah uses a baseball bat to hit the mailbox of the girl Bleeker asked to the prom while Juno drives her in the van.
- Stand by Me: One scene has Ace and his friends driving around town while smashing other people's mailboxes.
- 21 Jump Street: In "Mean Streets and Pastel Houses", Hanson has to infiltrate a punk gang responsible for a string crime and vandalism round the city. One of the acts of vandalism is a game of mailbox baseball in which a resident's arm is broken. He later dies when a blood clot from his arm travels to his brain, making everyone in the car guilty of manslaughter.
- 1000 Ways to Die: One story revolves around a young couple who often go around smashing the mailboxes of their neighbors. One neighbor, who happened to be a retired steelworker, decided to reinforce his mailbox to make it bat-proof. When the couple return, the guy is unable to knock over the mailbox, and his repeated attempts lead to his bat splintering and a piece of it lodging in his heart, killing him.
- Bones: The episode "The Donor in the Drink" features a victim named Lloyd Nesbit, an inventor whose most famous invention was an indestructible plastic mailbox in the 1990's that could resist these types of shenanigans. His death was actually an accident, and his assistant just decided to make money selling Nesbit's organs on the black market.
- CSI: The episode "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda", one of the crimes investigated by the team involves a car crash in which 2 teens named Chase Bowman and Max Poole were killed. Poole, the teen in the passenger seat, has a broken arm and splinters in his wounds that are not the result of the crash. It's eventually revealed that the teens had a habit of playing mailbox baseball, until a frequent target of theirs, Hal Jackmin, took matters into his own hands and replaced his mailbox with one reinforced with concrete. Thus when Poole hit the concrete-filled mailbox with his bat, it broke his arm, and damaged the bat (hence the splinters), but also caused Poole to accidentaly hit Bowman with the bat, which in turn caused the fatal crash.
- Freaks and Geeks: In "Tricks and Treats", Lindsay is trying to prove to her new friends that she isn't just a straight A student and all-round good girl; she does so by emulating their Halloween pranks, including playing mailbox baseball.
- Ghost Whisperer: "Excessive Forces". When the ghost of a high school boy accuses a Grandview cop of murdering him, Melinda is convinced that his death wasn't a mere skateboarding accident. It turns out his actual death was caused by him attempting to smash the cop's mailbox with a baseball bat, only the cop had filled it with concrete. The bat rebounded and struck him in the head. His friend dropped him at the ER, telling the doctors he had suffered a skateboard accident to avoid confessing to a crime.
- Alluded to in The Red Green Show when the lodge members confront a baseball player about a rash of broken mailboxes in the area. He was innocent. It was actually Dalton to drive up sales at his store.
- The X-Files: "Je Souhaite" features a man named Leslie Stokes, who has been crippled and confined to a wheelchair after an accident as a teenager playing mailbox baseball with his brother Anson.
- In Bully, Clint (aka Henry) assigns protagonist Jimmy Hopkins a mission to ride his bike around the rich part of town and smash up mailboxes with a baseball bat. Weirdly, this mission is the only time in the game Jimmy is able to hold a bat while riding a bike.
- Referenced in Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass during the empathy text for the Low-Level Goon, when Jimmy imagines himself playing the role of one. Among the many activities he imagines as a Low-Level Goon, he imagines driving down the neighborhood street with his fellow goons, smashing mailboxes with a bat.
- DC Super Hero Girls (2019): In "#Frenemies", Harleen takes Babs out on a ride with the Super Villain Girls, who indulge in mailbox baseball. While Babs leaves early, Harleen not only joins them, she does them one better by blowing up a post office.
- Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: During "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", Darth Vader (Stewie) leans out of the window of the Executor to smash a mailbox perched on an asteroid.
- Rick and Morty: In "Amortycan Grickfitti", Summer, Morty, and new kid Bruce Chutback go on an intergalactic adventure in Rick's ship. One of the planets they go to is one inhabited by sentient mailboxes. Summer takes a baseball bat to a few of them. The Stinger has the mailboxes coming to Earth for revenge and beating up Bruce.
- Robotboy: Donnie once got grounded for two weeks because he smashed mailboxes with a baseball bat.
- The Simpsons: In "Half-Decent Proposal", there is a brief scene showing Dr. Hibbert smashing mailboxes with his golf club from the passenger seat of a car, all set to the song "Wooly Bully" by Sam.
- Slugterra: In "The Slug-Out", the Hooligang ride into Quiet Lawn Cavern shooting out the mailboxes with their slugs as they go.
- In the Squirrel Boy episode "Outta Sight", resident bully Kyle is shown smashing a neighborhood mailbox with a sledgehammer.