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Take Me Out at the Ball Game

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"Take me out at the ball game,
Take me out in the crowds;
Hit me with poison and a car jack,
I don't care if I'm stabbed in the back.
Let me die, die, die on the home plate,
If they don't weep, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three hits, you're dead,
At the old ball game."

A person getting murdered at a sporting event. Creates a situation where there might be hundreds of witnesses, thousands of suspects, but isn't necessarily easier for the detectives.

Title is a reference to the unofficial anthem of baseball. The quote is Troper Silent Hunter's re-write of the lyrics of the chorus.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Three episodes of Case Closed and one movie feature crimes that take place at sports events.
    • One occurs at a pro soccer game. A criminal calls the TV station covering the event and try to extort money out of them by claiming to have a gun. The criminal demands a large sum of cash, threatening to start shooting randomly into the crowd if it is not delivered in time. The police attempt to catch the criminal when they come the claim the money, but it turns out that the person had an accomplice who was observing the retrieval and are forced to let her go until they can find the accomplice. Conan eventually finds him and confronts him in a risky showdown with the criminal that nearly gets him killed. Of course, he is the titular character, so he lives.
    • The second case takes place at the high school baseball championships, an all-day event that covers the semi-finals and finals all at once. A mad bomber has decided to destroy the entire stadium and everyone in it, and it is up to Conan, Hattori, and police inspector Nakamura to find the cell phones the bomber has scattered throughout the stadium containing clues that eventually lead to him. In the end, the bomber's motive was some kind of convoluted revenge for his son's accidental death. Of course, it the fault actually rested largely with the son, who had overworked himself training and thus was unable to avoid getting run over on his way home, but the man still blamed the sport anyhow and planned to destroy the stadium as a form of symbolic revenge.
    • A third takes place at Wimbledon. A man blamed the defending champion for his mother's death because he had hoped to get enough money to pay for her operation by betting on the other competitors the previous year, and as a result could not afford the operation when the person he bet on lost. He planned to blow up the champion's mother at the end of the final match in revenge. Conan managed to identify him and took him out before he could activate the detonator.
    • The 16th movie occurs at a pro soccer game. During a J. League promotion event to play soccer with children, a bomber calls Mouri and sends clues where he will strike. Conan finds the explosives on a scoreboard and rearranges them to fall at a safe location with little time. The bomber then sends a letter that he will strike during a game with the highest viewership.
  • One of the first chapters of City Hunter involves Ryo shooting a boxer during a match. It's one of the very rare cases where Ryo kills a target.
  • This is the entire plot of the second Izaya Orihara spin-off light novel of Durarara!!. As payment for a job, Izaya is given several baseball tickets and he decides to bring along Himari, Haruto, Sozoro and Nec. While the game is going, one of the guards is found murdered and everything is thrown into chaos as everyone gets involved. The entire book takes place in one night during the baseball game and involves assassins, kidnapping, hacking and attempted murder, which unsurprisingly makes Izaya a very happy man.
  • One episode of Golgo 13 has the title character killing a star football player in the middle of a game. It's implied (but never directly stated) that the hit was ordered by the guy behind him on the depth chart. Another episode had him take out a horse during a horse race, because a stable owner couldn't stand that a steed of ostensibly inferior breeding was winning races.

    Comic Books 
  • A one-shot Batman villain called the Sportsman was murdering famous athletes. One of them was an ice hockey player he murdered on the rink during a game by throwing him an exploding basketball.
  • In one Golden Age Captain America story, a player is murdered on field during a baseball game. Somewhat unbelievably, the game continues with Cap and Bucky subbing.
  • In G.I. Joe: Special Missions #24, the Joes have to protect the President from an attack from Cobra at a baseball game.
  • The infamous Haunt of Fear story "Foul Play!" has a dirty baseball player kill a member of the opposing team by spiking him with poisoned shoe spikes. The victim's team takes a memorably gory revenge— so much so that this was one of the stories specifically cited by Fredric Wertham in his book Seduction of the Innocent (which would ultimately lead to Senate hearings and The Comics Code).
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: In the Paranoid comic Freddy kills a boy attending a pep rally by causing him to explode in a mess of blood when he nods off.
  • Averted in an issue of Power Pack. An embittered former baseball player plants a bomb at a baseball game when his home run record is in danger of being broken. The kids stop the bomb and save the day, at the expense of Jack's respect for the old man, who was previously his favorite player.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: In #2, the Earl of Greed attempts to kill Wonder Woman during a baseball game by having one of his agents pitch and an exploding ball at her.

    Film — Live Action 
  • There are numerous sports-themed slasher films, such as The Catcher, Gutterballs, Devon's Ghost: Legend of the Bloody Boy, Night of the Dribbler and The Greenskeeper.
  • The Arsenal Stadium Mystery is a murder mystery set at the home of the Arsenal Football Club. The backdrop is a friendly match between Arsenal and The Trojans, a fictitious amateur side; one of the Trojans' players drops dead during the match, and when it is revealed he has been poisoned.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, when Bane takes over Gotham, he and his men announce their takeover by blowing up the bridges and the underground tunnels, trapping Gotham's police underground and cutting Gotham off from the outside world. He started his plan during a pro football game. Just after kickoff at the top of the first quarter, Bane and his men hit their detonators, causing not just the aforementioned explosions, but also causing the entire playing field to implode, swallowing all but one of the players (the exception being the kick returner, who manages to make it to the endzone intact). Bane and his men march onto the field, where Bane presents the nuclear reactor bomb, and "interviews" Dr. Pavel on live TV for the crowd of 60,000 to watch. After getting Dr. Pavel to admit that only he knows how to disarm the bomb, Bane snaps his neck.
  • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, the terrorists claim they want John McClane to go to Yankee Stadium to collect a clue to stop the bomb that will blow up a school. In truth, there is a sniper at the stadium who will shoot him if he shows up. (Zeus appears at the stadium, but given the orders were to kill both, he lives).
  • A variation comes at the end of Experiment In Terror, where it's the bad guy who gets shot and killed by cops on a ballfield immediately after a game.
  • In Iron Man 2, Whiplash makes his first appearance in Monaco, where he tries to kill Tony Stark in the midst of a Grand Prix race.
  • James Bond
  • The main plot of The Last Boy Scout culminates with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans trying to stop a corrupt senator from getting assassinated at a football game. In addition, the movie starts with a player Billy Cole (portrayed by Billy Blanks), high on PCP, bringing a gun onto the field and shooting the opposing defense's players on the way to the end-zone, shortly before killing himself.
  • Murder at the World Series, a 1977 made-for-TV film.
  • In The Naked Gun, the Queen is going to be assassinated at a Angels/Mariners game, but Drebin and company save her in time. Rather than dispatching an ordinary hit man that the Police Squad was already on the lookout for, the villain uses mind control to make Reggie Jackson commit the deed.
  • The Pink Panther (2006) has the owner of the eponymous gem being killed at a soccer game.
  • In Ronin (1998), Gregor, while doing a money-for-MacGuffin-type trade, tries to buy security against a double-cross by having an accomplice threaten the figure-skating girlfriend of the Russian mobster he is making the switch with. The Russian lets her die anyway, kills Gregor, and keeps the case.
  • Shadow of the Thin Man. Although it's with a horse race. Nick and Nora Charles are looking forward to a relaxing day at a racetrack, but when a jockey accused of throwing a race is found shot to death, Police Lieutenant Abrams requests Nick's help.
  • Snake Eyes opens with an assassination at a high-profile Atlantic City boxing match.
  • Sudden Death is a terrorist thriller set in Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
  • A boy is cut in half with a chainsaw just outside a baseball field in Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness.
  • The movie Two-Minute Warning involves a sniper at a Super Bowl-like football championship game.

  • There was a series of crime novels that literally was based entirely on this trope, titles included Bleeding Dodger Blue, Tigers Burning, Fear in Fenway and Murder in Wrigley Field.
  • Thomas Harris' novel (and later film) Black Sunday involves terrorists, the Super Bowl, the Goodyear blimp, and a large bomb.
  • The Spenser Robert B. Parker]] novel Double Play is a fictional account of a man hired to be a bodyguard to Jackie Robinson as he breaks major-league baseball's color barrier. The main concern is that Jackie will be attacked on the field by racists trying to send a message, and the bodyguard does end up killing a would-be assassin during a game in the middle of a packed stadium.
  • Father Brown in 'The God Of The Gongs'
    "For an intelligent murderer, such as you or I might be, it is an impossible plan to make sure that nobody is looking at you."
    "But what other plan is there?"
    "There is only one," said the priest. "To make sure that everybody is looking at something else. A man is throttled close by the big stand at Epsom. Anybody might have seen it done while the stand stood empty—any tramp under the hedges or motorist among the hills. But nobody would have seen it when the stand was crowded and the whole ring roaring, when the favourite was coming in first—or wasn't. The twisting of a neck-cloth, the thrusting of a body behind a door could be done in an instant— so long as it was that instant."
  • Dick Francis' novel Nerve begins with a jockey shooting himself in front of a big racing audience.
  • In the Phryne Fisher novel Death Before Wicket, the killer attempts a murder during a university cricket match, with a shoe rigged to inject poison into the target while he is on the pitch.
  • Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears has terrorists bringing a nuclear weapon to the Super Bowl. In the movie adaptation the President of the United States is also at the game (which is never referred to by name as "the Super Bowl", due to another trope). Part of Elizabeth Elliot's nervous breakdown was due to her thinking that the attack on the stadium was specifically targeting her and President Fowler, further escalating an already tense situation beyond the machinations of the antagonists.
  • In Trigger Mortis, James Bond is tasked with preventing the death of famed British racing driver Lancy Smith during a race at the Nürburgring. In the unpublished Ian Fleming manuscript on which the novel was partially based, the driver 007 was asked to protect was real life racing legend Stirling Moss.
  • In "Undertaker Song" by Damon Runyon, a character at the big Harvard-Yale game is mistaken for a Harvard supporter in a red scarf, but in fact his throat's been cut.
  • Murder mysteries set at yacht races are so common that The America’s Cup Bibliography summarizes their “Fiction” subsection as “Not all of these are murder mysteries.”

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Burke's Law episode "Who Killed the Man on the White Horse?", a cowboy star falls off his horse at a rodeo, dead of a broken neck — sustained before he went out into the arena.
  • Cannon: In "Scream of Silence", a gang of kidnappers attempt to abduct a boy who has temporarily been struck mute at a ball game, so they can eliminate him before he regains his voice and can identify them.
  • CSI
    • A boxer dies during a match in “Fight Night.”
    • In "Long Ball," a golfer dies on the course from being stabbed in the neck by a broken club. Subverted in that he caused his own injury.
    • Another episode has a hockey player die during a match.
  • CSI: Miami has an episode where a street racer is beheaded during a race.
  • CSI: NY:
    • A man drops dead on the court after winning a million dollars via a basketball shot. ("Personal Foul")
    • A man is killed in the parking lot of a MLB game. ("The Closer")
    • A young woman dies during a roller derby match. ("Jamalot")
    • A man is murdered while running the Big Apple Marathon. ("Love Run Cold")
    • A driver dies from injuries after his sabotaged car explodes during a Formula One exhibition race. ("The Formula")
    • A boxer dies after a bout in "Tales from the Undercard."
  • In the Season 2 episode, "Hustler", of FBI: Most Wanted, the team's fugitive of the week plants explosives in the timing chips for a charity race, maiming several runners before the rest remove their shoes.note 
  • In Grimm, someone gets murdered by a Mellifer in the middle of a flash mob.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: A visiting fan is found beaten to death during an Orioles/Mariners game. The culprit turned out to be a Yankees fan, who beat his friend to death because he'd read the schedule wrong — the Yankees weren't supposed to be there until next week.
  • In the Inspector Morse episode "Deceived by Flight", one of the murders happens at a Cricket match.
  • In an episode of Married... with Children, while Al is in the the middle of a prank war with his neighbor Jefferson (who is frequently implied to be a former CIA spy), a man comes up to Al and tries to convince him that Jefferson is dangerous and is actually spying on the United States. Furthermore, the man offers Al a large sum of money as a reward for any information on Jefferson. After Al spends most of the episode freaking out about this, Jefferson claims that the whole thing was his latest prank on Al, and the guy is an old friend of Jefferson's. Al is relieved and accepts this, but the episode ends with Jefferson watching a baseball game where the guy who offered Al the money suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances, and all the while Jefferson's expression might as well say "Just as planned."
  • An episode of NCIS has homegrown terrorists setting off a bomb at a Little League game. Fortunately, Team Gibbs has already evacuated the area surrounding the bomb, so there are no casualties.
  • Underbelly centering on the Melbourne gangland war does indeed center as one of the episodes the execution of Jason Moran. In a move that shocked Australia drug kingpin Carl Williams ordered he be murdered in front of his children at a Auskick (preteen football coaching and games) clinic.

    Myth and Legend 
  • In Greek myth, some versions of the story of Perseus say that he was competing in athletic games when his discus veered off course, striking and killing an old man. The victim is revealed to be his grandfather Acrisius, who was prophesied to die at Perseus' hands and whose efforts to avoid that end kicked off Perseus' legend, showing that You Can't Fight Fate.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Modesty Blaise: In "Sweet Caroline", Lord Toby is murdered while batting in charity cricket match with a bomb disguised as a cricket ball. This is the first of the attention-grabbing murders staged by Sweet Caroline to establish their credentials as a Murder, Inc..


    Tabletop Games 
  • The opening fight of the Feng Shui adventure "Murderer's Row" in the supplement In Your Face Again has the PCs trying to stop a hit attempt on a young girl by the Lotus at a baseball game. The girl turns out to be a MacGuffin Super-Person whose powers a whole lot of people (those who don't want her dead anyway) want to use for their own ends.

    Video Games 
  • In the web game Blaseball, players are sometimes incinerated by rogue umpires mid-game.
  • In the Hitman 2 mission "The Finish Line", the two targets to be eliminated are a race car driver and her father during the former's big race.
  • Both the novel and the game Rainbow Six include a level where terrorists attack the Sydney Olympics.
  • Criminal Case: In the penultimate case of World Edition, the Bureau has to investigate the sudden death of the Canadian Prime Minister during an exhibition hockey match between Canada and the UK in Montreal, eventually revealing that they were assassinated by SOMBRA.

    Western Animation 
  • Tex Avery's "Batty Baseball" has a fan in the crowd yelling "Kill the umpire!" quite forcefully, and off-screen his request is granted. At the end of the cartoon, the catcher who keeps creeping up past the batter to catch a pitch as the batter swings and misses fatally suffers an off-screen fate as the camera zooms in on the batter, whose swing bashes the catcher in the head. (Catcher's sign as he floats to heaven: "Sad ending, isn't it?")
  • One episode of Ben 10 involves a conspiracy to eliminate the President of the United States and replace him with a robot duplicate. By ambushing him at the Little League World Series. By signing up a little league team comprised entirely of superhuman robots (under the names of famous dead MLB players) and winning the whole season.
  • King of the Hill: Cotton Hill attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro while he was visiting New York and decided to take in an American Baseball game, a ballgame Hank wound up being born during in the women's restroom.
  • At the end of Avery's W-B short "Screwball Football," a toddler in the stands guns down the man who keeps sneaking licks of his ice cream cone.
  • The trope gets a direct Title Drop in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, "The Unnatural," said by Shaggy after the chase song.
    Shaggy: I've heard of take me out to the ball game, but never take me out at the ball game.