Forget the Chicago Cubs. This year’s postseason in baseball belonged to Bill Murray.
I’m not trying to take anything away from the Cubbies. Their World Series win provided the most inspiring moment of a particularly uninspiring year. But while the Cubs proved to us that anything is possible, Murray showed America that baseball can be fun again.
If Murray were running for president, his vice president would be Bryce Harper and their slogan would be “Make Baseball Great Again.” From trying out the horn on Ben Zobrist’s new car to giving Dexter Fowler drinking advice to crashing a White House Press Briefing to talk about the Cubs, Murray’s antics provided us with a plethora of improvisational comedic moments during 2016’s postseason.
While it’s that time of year where articles are flying around listing the greatest albums and movies or the biggest deaths of 2016, I decided to break the tradition and rank Murray’s greatest moments from the Cubs improbable run to the World Series title.
I hope you enjoy this mixtape of Bill Murray’s greatest moments, five in number, that I sincerely hope will increase your appreciation for America’s mischievous troubadour and inspire you to become a better sports fan like they did for me.
Murray has earned the reputation as being the master of surreal encounters. Whether it’s covering up the eyes of complete strangers on sidewalks or throwing banana peels in front of crew members on set, Murray has provided the majority of Americans with moments that nobody will believe.
So it should’ve come as no surprise when Murray took the mic during the seventh-inning stretch in Game 3 of the Series and sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in a perfect Daffy Duck voice, even stressing the S’s so he’d salivate all over the mic on delivery.
While he didn’t provide the most surreal moment in the Series – the Cubs take that honor – his rendition will live on in history as being the weirdest (yet most classic) take on the American standard.
Bill Murray is the King of the Crash. In fact, he’s so good at it, I’ve often wondered if he was the inspiration for Will Ferrell’s Chazz Reinhold in Wedding Crashers. However, I seriously doubt Reinhold would’ve had the genius to make an uninvited appearance at a White House press briefing like Murray did in October.
In D.C. to accept the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Murray decided to stop by the White House to have a conversation with President Obama. While there, Murray took it upon himself to walk out on stage and hold an impromptu press conference about his beloved Cubs. Murray was ever the gentleman when asked about his Cubs chances against Clayton Kershaw, declaring his respect for the Dodgers’ ace before saying the Cubbies had “too many sticks” to be stopped. His words proved prophetic as Chicago lit up Kershaw for five runs in five innings to punch its ticket to the World Series.
Cubs nation will forever revel in the amount of balls that it took for Murray to show up to a meeting with Mr. Obama, the most powerful man in the world – and an avid White Sox supporter – dressed in full Cubs regalia.
P.S. Bill. Your bud Hunter S. Thompson would be proud.
Forget about St. Vincent. How about St. Murray? That’s not to say Murray’s 2014 flick wasn’t a great movie. It was. One of the greatest I’ve ever seen. However, I have a hard time believing Murray’s character would’ve given away a free ticket to the World Series. Instead, he would’ve probably hawked the ticket at an outrageous price and used the money to bet on his favorite horse.
That’s not what real-life Bill Murray does, though.
After striking out – pun completely intended – on getting last-second tickets for Game 6, Cubs fan Karen Michael was hanging outside of Progressive Field when she spotted Murray walking by and decided to follow him. The encounter ended with Murray giving her his extra ticket to the game, which just so happened to be right next to him. Michel got to hang with America’s mischievous troubadour for the entire game, even getting caught giving Murray bunny ears when somebody snapped a picture.
Can we begin the process of sainthood for Murray?
If the whole acting thing doesn’t work out for Murray, he’s got a career as a sports reporter waiting in the wings. Whether it was giving Dexter Fowler drinking advice or telling Fowler he wanted his beard to be like his, Murray proved he could be the next Bob Costas.
Maybe Fox Sports or ESPN could create an improvisational comedy sports reporter position for Murray next season. I know I’d watch it. It would sure beat the hell out of watching Skip Blayless and Shannon Sharpe go at it.
On Nov. 3, sometime after midnight in Cleveland, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant fielded a slow-rolling groundball with a smile on his face. After pulling the ball out of the leather webbing of his glove, he fired over a missile to first baseman Anthony Rizzo who corralled the ball in for the third out and Chicago’s first world championship in 108 years. To quote an old ESPN Page 2 article, “the sky fell and, as George Carlin would say, huge cracks appeared in the Earth’s surface.”
In the middle of the melee, the camera panned and rested on Bill Murray who pumped his fist into the air and titled his head back in relief. After 65 years of belief and disappointment, Murray’s suffering was finally over. He could say his Cubs had won the World Series. He high-fived a couple of fans and then headed down to the field to get “the party started,” in the words of the Black Eyed Peas.
This country could learn a lot from the optimism and dedication shown by Murray and the rest of Cubs Nation. Watching Murray’s reaction should remind us why we must have faith in the darkest of times, knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe if we’re lucky enough, Murray will be there to spray champagne in our face and say, “No one will believe you.”