August 4th, 2004

Koufax

R.I.P. Bob Murphy

Bob Murphy, the long time Mets announcer, passed away yesterday. He was one of the voices of my childhood, and also my car, because when I listened to games as I was driving, it was usually Murphy doing the play-by-play. He was of the old school of announcing. He didn't yell or scream. He rarely got excited. He rarely played favorites, although you knew he lived and died for the Mets. He just genially told you what was going on. I admit that when I was younger, I thought him to be probably the most boring announcer going, but as I got older, and baseball announcers got louder and more shrill, he was the one who became like a breath of fresh air.

He never, ever, criticized anyone. And yet, perhaps the clearest memory I have of him is of a game he called while I was driving along the Connecticut Turnpike coming home from New Jersey one summer's night a few years ago. I forget who the Mets were playing (ah, turns out it was the Phillies), but it was an ugly game, full of errors and mental mistakes. The Mets were in the process of blowing a big lead in the bottom of the ninth. As the inning continued, you could hear Murphy begin to get more and more frustrated with what was going on down on the field. At last, when the Mets finally managed to win the game, Murphy exclaimed something like "And the Mets win the damned thing..." And New York baseball fans just sat there staring at their radios, stunned. I swear, I nearly drove off the road...

(Looking it up, the actual quote was "Line drive - caught! The game's over. The Mets win it. A line drive to Mario Diaz. They win the damned thing!")

So, Brad Penny threw eight scoreless innings in his Dodger debut last night. Maybe he just needed a change of scenery.
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