Philadelphia Inquirer - October 25, 1980
Tug puts heart into his work
By Bill Lyon, Inquirer Staff Writer
Kill a little time now and then. After all, that's what time is doing to us....
There are a few million people who are aware by now that Tug McGraw is on the, uh, emotional side.
You have seen his exuberant leaps off the mound, his attempts to give himself a permanent limp by banging his glove against his thigh as he swaggers to the dugout.
But would you believe that when he is not pitching, his central nervous system is only a couple of beats shy of comatose?
"My pulse rate normally is only in the 50s," he said. "Honest. If I get excited without exercising, it gets up to 80 or 90 beats a minute."
And would you believe that down in the bullpen, the first thing McGraw revs up is not his arm but his heart?
"It's important for a relief pitcher to learn how to warm up efficiently," he said. "You're up and down like a yo-yo in the pen, and it's easy to burn yourself out. So I get loose, but I make sure I get my pulse rate up to between 120 and 140. 1 know, from experience, that's my good exercise rate."
And how does he know when he's pumping to the proper beat?
"Take a finger, hold it at my throat to feel the heartbeat. It only takes six seconds to know."
And he knows what's the right rate because in the winter, he runs.
"I was up to eight miles every other day last winter," he said. "Hey, no way I'd put myself through all this tension (the playoffs, the Series) without being conditioned for it."
You never have a second chance to make a good first impression....
Only a media-saturated event like the World Series could produce an exhaustive examination of such monumentally trivial items as a relief pitcher's pulse rate... or a.390 hitter's bout with hemorrhoids.
And so before George Brett is allowed to spend the winter in privacy, sitting and soaking, we pass along this unique assessment of the painful malady that felled him. You will not find hemorrhoids explained in any medical text in a manner you can understand.
But here is a priceless explanation offered by Dudley (Waxo) Green, a Tennessee sportswriter who, periodically, has had to sit on a rubber doughnut while composing before a typewriter:
"Hemroads is lahk Yankees. If’n they come down for a li'l while and then go back up no'th, they not too bad. But if’n they come down and decide to stay, they can be a real pain in the rear."
There is nothing to bring out journalistic desperation like an off-day during the Series. Hence, the highly respected Washington Post devoted some 40 inches last week to such items as how Pete Rose spikes the ball at the end of each half inning; a discussion with a dentist about the potential dangers inherent in U.L Washington's sucking on a toothpick while playing, and a dissertation between McGraw and Brett on relative spitting styles.
Finally, Bob Boone was interviewed by the Post. And why not? The Phillies' catcher is articulate, gracious, a Stanford graduate, with a degree in psychology yet. So what was the subject? How to chew tobacco.
Well, it can't be Watergate every day.
A budget is a thing that helps explain why the money ran out on Tuesday....
And what, perhaps you're wondering, is the average major league baseball salary these days?
According to the Player Relations Office, it was $149,700 in 1980.
Which was better than his brethren on skates. Pro hockey players are averaging $108,000.
Football? The NFL says no figures are available for this season, but in 1979 the average salary was a paltry $68,893.
And the highest-paying sport? Teach your son to dunk, momma, because the average (actually, median is the correct term) salary of a pro basketball player is $180,000.
Paying alimony is like having the TV set on after you’ve fallen asleep....
Yogi Berra has become legendary for his malaprops. Like, speaking of being behind in the World Series, "It's not over 'til it's over." And, explaining why he was late for an appointment, "I got caught in transom. You never saw so many cars."
Now it is said tha Johnny Logan, once a shortstop for the Braves, had some beauts. After watching Macbeth, he said: "They've got this new Shakespeare play, McBride. It's got a lot of suspension."
And when he received an award: "I will perish this forever."
And, introduced to someone: "I know the name but I can't replace the face."