It's always fun when celebrities are hardcore baseball fans. Jon Hamm loves the St. Louis Cardinals. Paul Rudd is a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan. Kevin James bleeds New York Mets' blue and orange (and don't you question him about it). But they all fall short of legendary actor and comedian Bill Murray, lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and baseball raconteur.
Murray was in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday for the finale of the game between the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves, and made appearances in the Cubs' and Braves' broadcast booths. In both appearances, he flashed his trademark wit.
- He commented that Turner Field was not only warm ("it's a wet heat" were his exact words), but it also smelled like hamburgers.
- A woman apparently called him "Mr. Akroyd" and asked for an autograph, not realizing that Murray wasn't his "Ghostbusters" co-star Dan Akroyd. Not only that, after he corrected her, she didn't believe him.
- Murray has visited Turner Field just one other time, for the last game of the 1995 World Series. He sat by former president and peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, and ate some of the peanuts that President Carter brought from home. "To this day, best peanuts I've ever had."
- At that game in 1995, he autographed a napkin for Gabe Caray, the son of Braves broadcaster Chip Caray, with the message "Dear Gabe, learn to drive a tractor. Bill Murray." Wise, wise words.
- Murray even got to call the action for a moment or two, yelling at a Braves outfielder to hit the wall and drop a long fly ball hit by Ben Zobrist instead of catching it.
That's just a small sampling of Murray's delightful broadcast appearances. All told, he spent nearly 10 minutes in the Cubs' booth and nearly seven minutes in the Braves' booth. You can watch the full Cubs appearance here, and the full Braves appearance here.
But I'm leaving out the most notable moment of his time in either of the broadcast booths. The Braves broadcasters asked him The Question that all Cubs fans are getting: "Is this, finally, the year?" Here's Murray's answer in full.
"This is the year. I think you know that. I think we all know that. The folks at home know that, the American people know that. This is the year. They're really having a lot of fun, they're just having so much fun. It started last year. They weren't quite ready to win it all last year, but gosh they had fun, and they're really having fun now. And they have an amazing amount of talent put together here."
Murray is a lifelong Cubs fan who has only missed a handful of games in the last few years. But his words aren't just wishful thinking anymore. The Cubs have a record 43-18, and that's the most wins in all of baseball. They have a nine game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. Anything can happen between now and September, but Bill Murray's hope is the hope of all Cubs fans.
Watching Murray hold court during Sunday's game was so much fun, it makes me wish he could do that once for every team this season. Does anyone know his agent? Because I have this dynamite idea...
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