Murray's actions spoke louder than his few words

July 31, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

The anticipation's killing me. I'm about to burst.

You must be feeling the same way these days.

Major League Baseball trades, NBA deals, NFL camps, preseason college football polls, upcoming court cases ... there's nothing to do but look ahead.

Projection, anticipation, projection, anticipation.

So let's slow things down for a minute of reflection on some recent events.

Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die!

The Memorial Stadium chant mesmerized me as a 10-year-old boy making his first trip to a big-league game in the summer of 1982. It was like the very spirit of the city itself was being called upon from another world.

If there was ever any Oriole Magic, Eddie Murray personified it.

When No. 33 stepped to the plate, his puffy afro and sideburns bursting from the edges of his helmet, anything seemed possible.


On a sunny September afternoon the next season, when I was back at the ballpark with my parents, it no longer just seemed that way.

In the most dramatic sports moment I have ever witnessed, Murray brought the Orioles all the way back from a 7-0 deficit against the Milwaukee Brewers, capping an improbable eighth-inning rally with a grand slam over the wall in right-center field.

As he rounded the bases, I couldn't possibly imagine a more superhuman feat. For years, my dad joked to my mom that that was the happiest he'd ever seen her. And from that day on, Murray's baseball cards became some of my most prized possessions and - even though I was never very good at it - I became a Wiffle Ball switch-hitter.

It never mattered to me that Eddie often ignored the media. The voiceless greatness only added to his mystique.

Plus, his fans made plenty of noise for him.

Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die!

The chants were loud and clear at Cooperstown Sunday.

  • American distance-running legend Steve Prefontaine once said, "If you're a runner, you're never really satisfied unless you set a world record."

    While that probably explains a lot of my disappointment at some of the area 5Ks, it may also hold true for swimmers - at least for American Michael Phelps.

    The 18-year-old Baltimore native set five - FIVE! - world records at the World Swimming Championships last week in Barcelona.

    If you want to argue that today's top athletes aren't the best ever, Phelps could probably convince you otherwise, especially after another likely satisfying experience next summer in Athens.

  • Earlier this week, a sports columnist in Virginia asked, "So how many Americans cared about bicycle racing on Monday?"

    Wednesday morning, as I headed home from a mini-vacation at Virginia Beach, I saw roughly a half-dozen beer-bellied guys grinding away on their bikes, decked out with all the high-tech accessories. And every single one of them, I swear, was wearing a yellow jersey.

    I'd give it one more week. Two, tops.

Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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