There was the once famous and formerly funny comedian, Bill Murray, serving up his usual tiresome brand of shtick, running around the bases like a hyperactive kid and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch like an old woman. He would later bellow out a loutish version of Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the always excruciating 7th inning stretch before joining TV broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly for some uninspired banter that lasted into the 8th inning.
My uncle used to get awesome seats at Shea right next to the visiting team’s comp section, about 10 rows up between home plate and the visitor’s dugout in the Field Level — the orange seats. One time I sat right next to Bill Murray for a Mets-Cubs game. I actually know the date: April 15, 1998. I’ll tell you why in a second.
At that game, some drunken moron a few rows in front of me spent the entire time loudly harassing every Cub that came on-deck. It might have been funny if he were, but mostly it was just grating and awful. For whatever reason, he took particular interest in two Cubs: Mickey Morandini (to whom he sung the “Mickey Mouse Club” theme multiple times) and Sammy Sosa (or, in his words, “Sammy So-So”).
I realized Murray was next to us a couple innings in, but he was enjoying the game and I didn’t want to bother him. Still, seeing as he was a hero of mine, around the third inning I worked up the courage to ask him for an autograph for my friend Cara.
“Mr. Murray,” I said. “I’m really sorry to bother you, but my friend Cara has seen What About Bob? at least 100 times. Is there anyway I can have your autograph for her?”
“Is she… OK?” he asked. He signed: “To Cara: Be careful! Bill Murray.”
At one point, while the drunk guy was standing on his seats trying to get the entire section to chant “Sammy So-So,” he noticed Murray. He called everyone’s attention to the former Ghostbuster, then, when Bill Murray did the ol’ pretend-to-scratch-my-face-but-give-the-guy-the-finger thing, the guy yelled out, “Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Murray is giving me the finger!”
That guy sucked. Bill Murray rules.
Oh, and Sammy Sosa hit a home run that game, his third of 66 that season.