Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Say It Ain't So Larry, Say It Ain't So

HBO Comedy Will Find Discomfort in Baseball
Larry David was fretting about Derek Jeter. “What do you think?” he asked as he arrived at breakfast in Manhattan on Thursday, when Jeter’s career hit total was 2,997. “Do you think he can do it?”
But then came a neurotic thought. Jeter, David said, fares better when he doesn’t watch him. If he were to go to Yankee Stadium, he contemplated the karma of leaving his seat whenever Jeter batted.
“Maybe I’ll call him up and see what it’s worth to him,” he said.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which begins its eighth season Sunday night, does not often delve into sports. If any sport matters in the series, it is golf. Early this season, when a newly spiritual Jewish friend tells him he will not play golf with him at a tournament on the Sabbath, David complains, “You’re Koufaxing me!”
But baseball was the focus of an episode in 2004 when David found a way to use the carpool lane to drive to Dodger Stadium by picking up a prostitute. This season, David turns to baseball again in the ninth of 10 episodes — and Bill Buckner, the former Boston Red Sox first baseman, offers empathetic counsel after a ground ball rolls between David’s legs at a key moment of an important softball game.
“I wrote the outline and then called him,” he said of Buckner. “He’s a very quiet guy. It’s not like you’re talking to one of your friends. He’s quiet. He has a cowboy quality. You sense that he’s a decent guy.”
Without giving much away, Buckner hears familiar taunts from louts on Park Avenue, attends a hastily assembled minyan, is shouted at by the show’s foul-mouthed character Susie Greene and becomes a goat again.
The ending is weird but sweet vindication for Buckner. “He’s such a good guy,” David said. “What happened to him should have happened to a jerk.”
David is an eclectic sports fan. He grew up in Brooklyn loving the Yankees, but he doesn’t mind the Mets.
“It’s one of my few instances of magnanimity,” he said.
He roots for the Jets but tolerates the Giants.
He said he wept at age 13 when Bill Mazeroski hit the home run to beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Then he changed his mind about the recollection. Another, different memory of weeping came to him, when the Yankees blew a second-inning 6-0 lead to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the ’56 World Series, and lost, 13-8. (At least the Yankees won the Series.)
David loathed the Dodgers in Brooklyn, and his animosity only grew when Walter O’Malley moved them out west. When Fox acquired the team, the hatred swelled; he does not like Rupert Murdoch, he said. Now he doesn’t root for the Dodgers but doesn’t hate them, either. A Yankee bias mellowed him. First Joe Torre managed the Dodgers, then Don Mattingly. “I was a Mattingly freak from ’84 to ’94,” he said.
But he was displeased when the Yankees did not hire Mattingly to succeed Torre as manager.
“It was a mistake not to hire Mattingly, 2009 notwithstanding,” he said. “I was very disappointed.”
As for the Boston Red Sox, a team he should detest, he said, “I don’t hate them as much as I used to.”
Indeed, he attended the recent wedding of John Henry, the Red Sox’ principal owner. “He’s my favorite Yankee fan,” Henry said. Henry said he and David had mutual friends on Martha’s Vineyard.
“And I like their politics,” David said of the Red Sox ownership. “They’re Democrats.”


basura said...

"Henry said he and David had mutual friends on Martha’s Vineyard"

How Jejune

Joe De Pastry said...

Is one of those friends Diane Keaton?

Donald Trump said...

you'd think with all of his money, John Henry could get a better toupee.