August 13, 2013

I was breathing like Id been swimming
perhaps the slope of twilight made it so
death has a piano but its keys are broken
i feel the way i did ten minutes ago

Maggi Brown, Void of Course, 1999

* Excellent long piece on Yankee great Thurman Munson. excerpt:

And wham, Thurman Munson becomes that player. He wins the Rookie of the Year award in 1970. He takes the starting job from Jake Gibbs as if the guy's handing it to him and plays catcher for the next decade, the whole of the seventies. He's named the Yankees' first captain since Lou Gehrig forty years earlier and shows up at a press conference in a hunting vest. He wins the Most Valuable Player award in 1976, and he still wears bad clothes: big, pointy-collared shirts and dizzying plaid sport coats.

Not even disco explains his wardrobe. He helps lead the Yankees from a season in which the team ends up twenty-one games out of first place to the 1976 World Series, where they fall in four straight to the Cincinnati Reds despite the fact that Thurman Munson bats over .500. Then he helps take the Yankees back to the Series in 1977 and 1978—two thrilling, heaven-hurled, city-rocking, ticker-tape-inducing wins!

And shoot if those seventies teams weren't a circus. The Bronx Zoo. Manager Billy Martin dogging superstar Reggie Jackson, superstar Reggie Jackson dogging pit bull Thurman Munson, pit bull Thurman Munson dogging everyone, and then George—you know, Steinbrenner—the ringmaster and demiurge, the agitator and Bismarckian force who wants to win as badly as Thurman Munson. Birds of a feather. And alongside, a hardnosed gaggle of characters—Catfish Hunter, Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Lou Piniella, Sparky Lyle, Mickey Rivers, Goose Gossage, Bucky Dent, Willie Randolph—who are fourteen and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox in late July 1978 and come screaming back to beat them in a one-game playoff to win the division, then trounce the Royals to win the pennant and thump the Dodgers to win the World Series. One of the greatest comebacks of all time.

And since this is New York, the press has an opinion or two. They call Thurman Munson grouchy, brutish, stupid, petty, greedy, oversensitive. It becomes a soap opera: Thurman Munson pours a plate of spaghetti on one reporter's head and nearly kicks another's ass. But the fans—all they see is this walrus-looking guy who plays like he's a possessed walrus. During a game against Oakland, when he commits an error that scores Don Baylor and then he subsequently strikes out at the plate, they heap all kinds of abuse on him, and, heading back to the dugout, he just ups and gives them the finger. Hoists the finger to everyone at Yankee Stadium. That's not family entertainment! The next day when he comes to bat, when his name is announced and Thurman Munson steels himself for a rain of boos, the same fans begin to applaud, then give him a tremendous ovation.

* Fun City 69, a Super 8 reel shot in NYC in spring/summer 1969.

* "My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can." -- Frank Zappa


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home