Last week, Heim BBQ made news on ESPN and a host of other local and national news outlets when the Fort Worth barbecue spot offered Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor free barbecue for life after he infamously punched Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista. In case you haven't already watched the Punch Heard 'Round the World several dozen times, here's a refresher:
Along with offering Odor all the meat he can eat, Heim even sold a limited-edition run of 200 "Rougned eats free" T-shirts, which sold out fast. Rangers fans loved the free barbecue offer almost as much as the punch itself.
"I just thought it would be funny; I didn't really think he'd show up," Heim says. "We're huge Rangers fans and after the awful end to last year's season, and how Bautista celebrated his home run, it was satisfying when he got punched in the mouth."
But once the story went viral, things took an ominous turn. Heim suddenly found himself inundated with angry Tweets and messages from Blue Jays fans who didn't find Heim's offer so funny.
"I knew our customers would think it's funny — I talk baseball a lot with people who would come to the trailer, but once it got on ESPN, the whole thing blew up and then we started getting ridiculous messages and phone calls from the absolute worst people," Heim says.
At first, Heim laughed off the angry Tweets, but then Canadians who've clearly never been to Heim Barbecue started leaving angry voicemails (listen to this profanity-filled rant at your own risk) and negative reviews on social media. "I think we're up to six fake one-star reviews on Facebook now, all by people who live in Canada," Heim says. "But the worst was a guy who said him and his wife got food poisoning and were sick for weeks, urging people not to come to our place."
The situation took another ominous turn when Heim, who has always used his personal cell phone as the Heim Barbecue business line, started to receive death threats — and not just against him.
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"Well, we did make a funny shirt, so it's understandable that people would want to 'murder my whole family' in response," Heim says. "I guess this is just the cost of going 'viral.' I understand people are assholes, especially on social media, but the death threats and saying they are going to come to Texas and murder my whole family?"
Heim, who's putting the finishing touches on a brick-and-mortar location slated to open in mid-June, says he's been forced to change his business number after incurring the wrath of unreasonable Bautista supporters.
"Toronto fans are brutal," Heim says.