BALTIMORE: "...a guy just standing on a corner with no place to go and rain dripping off his hat. Baltimore's a great place if you're a crab."
LOS ANGELES: "...underpoliced and oversexed."
Murray and nuclear waste dumps have a lot in common. Everybody likes them until one shows up in the backyard.
Take the state of Iowa. When the University of Iowa got stuck on its ear in the Rose Bowl this year, Murray felt for the losers:
"They're going home, so to speak, with a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge and a watch that loses an hour a day and turns green on their arm."
That ruffled Iowans so much that two weeks later, Governor Terry Branstad began his state-of-the-state message (as if he didn't have more pressing issues) with a comment for Murray: "Jim, we're proud to be Iowans...." he said. "We're tough and we're coming back."
No, no, Governor! You're taking it all wrong. To have your nose tweaked by Murray is to be hockey-pucked by Don Rickles. Look on it as a privilege. You're one of the lucky ones. Some people roast celebs. Murray roasts America. He has zinged every place from Detroit ("...should be left on the doorstep for the Salvation Army") to Munich ("Akron with a crewcut!").
In fact, Murray maintains Spokane once got to feeling neglected and wrote in asking for the treatment. Always helpful, Murray wrote, "The trouble with Spokane...is that there's nothing to do after 10 o'clock. In the morning. But it's a nice place to go for breakfast."
Besides, if Murray had dropped dead as thousands have asked him to, sports wouldn't be the same. He has championed dozens of causes, many as stark as black and white, and they've made a difference in the nation's landscape. It was Murray's badgering of the Masters, for instance, that helped that tournament change its no-blacks stance: "It would be nice to have a black American at Augusta in something other than a coverall...."
He was incredulous that Satchel Paige was having difficulty being inducted into the Hall of Fame: "Either let him in the front of the Hall—or move the damn thing to Mississippi."