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Help on an old Jim Murray column...

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by huntsie, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Watched a bit of the Fox broadcast last night and they talked about the obstructed seats at the Trop. Brought to mind a column written by Jim Murray in which he was stuck in the alternate press box, behind a foul pole.
    Can't remember the year, can't be more specific than that (Sorry), but the phrasing was brilliant.
    Can somebody help?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'd hate to imagine the event where Murray was in the auxiliary box.
  3. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member


    SECTION: Sports; Part 3; Page 1; Column 1; Sports Desk

    LENGTH: 873 words

    ST. LOUIS --It was in 1938 that I saw my first World Series. I can remember it as if it were yesterday.

    I sat in the center-field bleachers in Yankee Stadium. It wasn't much of a seat. It wasn't much of a World Series, either. One of those in which the old Yankees swatted the opposition, the Cubs, as if they were a fly on a window sill. They won in four straight. The games weren't even close.

    I sat behind a center fielder named Joe Marty of the Chicago Cubs that day, and he spent his day chasing extra-base hits all over the outfield statues. The New York center fielder was a guy named DiMaggio. No. 5. He spent the day catching extra-base hits.

    It was almost Lou Gehrig's last game as a Yankee, although we didn't know it at the time. It was almost the last game Dizzy Dean would ever pitch. But the only thing I remember most clearly about the whole game is Joe Marty's number. I think it was 25.

    I bring this up because I told myself that day so long ago that it would be the last time I would sit that far away from the World Series action ever again. I would get rich and famous, I said, and, by God, I would sit right back there behind home plate with all the big shots and I would smoke cigars and arrive by limo instead of subway. I made a promise to that kid he would never have to sit and look at a Joe Marty's number ever again.

    Well, now, it's almost 50 years later and I went to a World Series game Tuesday night and there I was sitting in the outfield once again. The game was just a rumor, played by a lot of dots on the horizon. The only thing I could see real clearly was the right-field foul pole. It's yellow and got this little screen attached to it. The only thing I got to see real good all night were foul balls and Gussie Busch riding around on a beer wagon. The pole kept getting in the way of everything else -- like the ball. Also, the pitcher.

    I'm told the Kansas City Royals won the game, but don't take my word for it. I mean, a chicken rancher from Petaluma with a nine-inch screen got a better view of the game than I did. From where I sat, the game appeared to be a giant pantomime. Marcel Marceau was never better.

    The guy on my left was no big help. He was a radio news guy from KRES in Moberly, Mo., so he wasn't under much pressure.

    He was a pleasant-enough companion, but not to be confused with Vin Scully.

    I feel I let you down. I mean, here you don't want to be in St. Louis in the first place but, if you have to be, you might as well get to see the game and tell people about it. I guess I've gotten to see, oh, 250 World Series games from behind the foul lines over the years. I got a watch last year for having covered 25 straight years, but they may take it back. They don't give watches to guys who sit in the outfield. I don't know who the guys sitting in all the good behind-the-plate seats were, but I'll bet none of them ever saw Dizzy Dean pitch to Lou Gehrig.

    Just when you think you're getting to be a big shot, they stick you behind a foul pole.

    So, I'd like to give you the inside scoop on Kansas City's first win in this tournament but the right-field foul pole is not exactly the place to do it from. I'm told George Brett got on base five times in a row, but that's hardly news. That's Orange-County-votes-Republican stuff.

    Oh, I did get to go down to the locker room and ask, along with 500 other journalists, "What kind of a pitch did you hit, George?" or "What's the name of that kid who jammed the bats up the Cardinals' ears again?"

    I got to see that kid who pitched the six-hitter and struck out eight Cardinals. He's harder to believe than my seat. He's the fifth-youngest ever to start a World Series game. He looks like what he once was -- a newspaper boy delivering the Herald in the San Fernando Valley. He's got this little brush on his upper lip that has a chance to be a mustache in a year or two, and he looks so young you don't know whether to burp him or buy him an ice cream cone.

    Usually, you can tell a starting pitcher before a World Series game. He's usually the one biting his lip or hiding in the trainers' room, or putting on his game face like a guy just asked to solve the Middle East question.

    Bret Saberhagen was running around like a guy running for office. You'd think somebody had just promised to take him to the circus. He was button-holing newspapermen, instead of the other way round.

    Only three years ago he pitched a no-hitter against Palisades High in the city championship for Cleveland High in Dodger Stadium, and the Cardinals looked to him like just another bunch of guys who couldn't handle the low inside slider.

    He struck out Jack Clark three times. He's the fifth-youngest pitcher ever to win 20 games and may be the youngest ever to win the Cy Young American League Award. "He's got a 20-year-old body with a 40-year-old head," Rival Manager Whitey Herzog conceded after the game. "I never saw anybody that young do so much with a baseball. Dwight Gooden overpowers you. This kid moves you out of there."

    He was so good, one of these days I hope to see him pitch myself. But for that to happen in Busch Stadium they're either going to have to move the foul pole or the pitcher's mound. Or me.

  4. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Murrray was great a lot of the time, but this was one of the times he wasn't.

    The readers, who don't get to go to World Series games at all, don't give a shit where you sit, Jim.

    Some readers may have been aware of Murray's vision problems, which may have made him a little more pissed-off at being stuck in a shitty seat, but in a way that makes it even worse -- in the cold crusty world of 1985, handicap-sensitivity had risen to the point that if he had bitched he couldn't see the plate (or the mound), he undoubtedly would have been put somewhere else.

    More than anything else, you get the impression Murray was pissed off at being stuck in a shitty seat, was either too proud to bitch to the PR people about it, or figured, "I'm Jim Goddamn Murray, I shouldn't have to ask," and retaliated by writing a pissy column.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Wow, you're so far off in so many ways it's truly frightening.
  6. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. I can have my opinion, and you can be wrong.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Jim Murray was one of the classiest writers this profession has ever seen.

    I'm not going to argue that that was one of his best columns, but this whole he was pissed off about where he was seated and wrote that column as a result is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.

    "I'm Jim Goddamn Murray"

    Wow, I'm just at a loss at how truly idiotic that is.
  8. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I I I I I I I I I I I.

    How many times does he use "I" in that column??

    Starman is correct. That column sucks. Murray even writes that he should have a better seat:

    Plenty of people pay for worse seats than that and are happy to do so. Big-time sportswriters remain completely out of touch with the general sports fan.
  9. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I think you have to judge a writer's body of work when you judge this column, and put it into context. Murray, as Mizzou appropriately points out, was one of the classiest writers of his time, or any time. If Jay Marriotti wrote this column, it would come off as insufferable. But Murray is doing it very much with a twinkle in his eye, not a grouchy complaint, and when he wrote it, there was much less distrust of the media an anger that it had lost the voice of Joe the fan. Murray is joking that he "felt I let you (the reader) down" by being so far away from the action.

    Throw in the fact that, by 1985, he was 64 years old and had been writing for the LA Times for 34 years, and I'm going to guess that most Times readers thought it was just a playful, whimsical take on something inconsequential.

    People who are reading this column today, for the first time, and judging it in the context of 2008 are whiffing worse than Jack Clark.
  10. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    I thought it was a great column. Bitching -- or playfully pointing out where he sat -- is what made an impression on me and why I asked for somebody to point me to it. The man was an artist.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Well-said. I grew up reading Murray and I've worked with several people who have worked with him. I've never heard any of them say a bad thing about the guy and these were guys who would dish on anyone if you gave them a couple beers.
  12. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Exactly. Grew up reading Murray and the World Champion. Was fortunate to meet him twice, once at an APSE get-together and another at the L.A. Open. A very classy person.
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