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From Barberians to ‘crazy bat dude’: Toronto restaurateur hit by wild baseball bat

Local restaurateur Aaron Barberian waves a stray bat at the Blue Jays home opener, April 2, 2013. SPORTSNET/MLB

He’s well-known in the local restaurant scene but Aaron Barberian, of Barberians Steakhouse on Elm Street, may now be better known as “crazy bat dude” after a baseball bat mishap at the Blue Jays home opener went viral online.

The longtime Jays’ season tickets holder was hit in the back of the head with a bat when Cleveland Indians’ second baseman Jason Kipnis accidentally let go of his bat after taking a swing at an R.A. Dickey knuckleball in the first inning.

The bat flew just past the visitors’ dugout, where Barberian has held season tickets for decades.

“I kind of bent down — I didn’t want to get hit,” he told CityNews. “A few years ago I’d actually broken a finger on a pop fly.”

His teenage daughter, who’s been attending games with her dad since she was a baby, got up to get a hot dog when the bat landed in their seats.

He said he suffered “a tiny bump … really nothing.”
Click here to watch the video or watch in the game wrap below.

Barberian picked up the bat and jokingly waved it at Kipnis and then tossed it back to game officials.

“It’s a game bat,” he said, noting he hopes he can take it home as a souvenir when he shows up for Sunday’s game.

“I’d like that bat. I’ll put it on display at Barberians on the wall, and people can point at it,” he said.

Barberian said his cellphone started buzzing shortly after the bat toss. It aired live during the broadcast of the game and MLB posted a clip on its website immediately after.

“My phone like exploded  — 60 texts and emails within the first minute afterwards,” he said.

“I feel more sorry for more daughter, who’s got to go to school this morning ….I’m already known as kind of the crazy dad and now I’m super crazy … the crazy bat dude.”

The Barberian family has been operating the well-known steakhouse since 1959.