You might recall from an earlier PITB piece that Ballard is a noted prankster; he just happens to be terrible at it. It's true. He's worse than Jeff Bridges. You also might recall that Atlanta, where the Canucks play tonight, is the site of his worst prank ever: a two-handed baseball swing to the mask of Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
Obviously, bludgeoning your goaltender in the ear is a pretty ill-conceived prank, and Ballard's had a hard time living it down since he came to Vancouver. Recall this bit of ribbing from earlier in the year:
On the wall in the visitors room there often is taped a sheet for players to sign up for tickets for friends or family in the road city. Among the handful of requests for tickets to tonight's game, someone wrote K. Ballard in the 'donor' column and T. Vokoun under 'recipient.'
With that in mind, it was a no-brainer that a return to the scene of the crime would mean an uptick in jokes at his expense. His teammates have been giving it to him all day, pretending to break their sticks on the goal post in warmup, and providing awesome quotes like this one, courtesy Roberto Luongo (via Brad Zeimer):
"I try not to make eye contact with him at all," Luongo said. "He might snap at any second. Hopefully, he won't be on the ice when we get scored on."
It's pretty clear that everybody knows Keith Ballard is the sort of guy who can take a joke. Yesterday, Kevin Bieksa described Christian Ehrhoff as serious, focused, and "basically the opposite of Keith Ballard." In other words, Ballard's got a pretty solid sense of humour. Not since Marc Bergevin have the Canucks had a guy in the locker room so dedicated to keeping things light, and please keep that in mind the next time you rip the Ballard acquisition. He's an invaluable team guy who should really help the team come playoff time, when things get uncomfortably serious.
Keith Ballard brings the funny. If his impeccable comedic timing wasn't already apparent, consider this line, dryly delivered by Ballard when asked about the infamous baseball swing: "I'm fast so I would have got a double out of that."
If you think he's taking a pretty serious situation lightly, keep in mind that, when you prank as regularly and woefully as Keith Ballard does, you're going to have more than a few go a bit pear-shaped. You get used to it. Here, for example are ten more crummy Keith Ballard pranks you might not have known about:
- Convinced hundreds of people to invest in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
- Told Matt Cooke, "Seriously, Colin Campbell has a crush on you. You need to give him a reason to call you."
- Convinced a roomful of producers that people were clamouring for another Sex and the City movie.
- Planted an undersized leather glove at the home of OJ Simpson so that Simpson would think he was becoming a giant.
- Put peanut butter on the roof of Darren Pang's mouth just prior to a TSN panel segment on PK Subban.
- Launched season-long scheme to trick Alain Vigneault into thinking Aaron Rome was a top-four defenseman.
- Broke massive NHL head office e-mail controversy under his online pseudonym, Tyler Dellow.
- Wrote a song called Friday. Mailed it to Ark Music Factory from Sarah McLachlan's house.
- Told everyone his contract includes a no-trade clause.
- Gave a glowing recommendation for John McLean as the next New Jersey coach from the office of his completely fictional hockey team, the Lowell Devils.
There was also this one time he tried to release joker venom gas on Gotham Square at midnight, but he was thwarted by Batman, so it never happened. Yes, Keith "Why So Serious" Ballard is a pretty awful prankster.