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Posts Tagged ‘Bill White’

Paul O’Neill’s Phil Rizzuto Moment

Posted by keithosaunders on August 25, 2010

Those of my generation – I turned 50 today – are too young to remember the great New York Yankee, Phil Rizzuto, as a player. We are, however, fortunate to have experienced him as an announcer.

Rizzuto was knowledgable, inciteful, and charming and he had an eccentric side to him that was both funny and unpredictably zany. His long time booth-mate, Bill White, was adroit at drawing out Rizutto’s quirky side and he expertly play the instigator.

One day White was peering at Rizzuto’s┬áscorecard when he asked, “What is DSP?”. Rizzoto, without missing a beat replied, “Didn’t see play.”

My best friend, Jeff, supplied this anecdote:

As the season went on, Bill White made Rizzuto promise to never use DSP again. Rizzuto promised, and that seemed to end it. Several games down the road, he was on with Bobby Murcer who brought up the promise, and Rizzuto said he didn’t break his promise.

So Bobby Murcer says, “Let me ask you something. If a batter walks, do you put down a “W”?”

Rizzuto: “Yes”

Murcer: “If a batter is walked intentionally, do you put down “IW”?”

Rizzuto: “Yes”

Murcer: “Then what is “WW”?

Rizzuto: “Wasn’t Watching”

Murcer: “So WW is just camouflage for DSP—a loophole”.

Rizzuto: “Don’t tell White.”

But from that point forward, WW became part of the Yankee vernacular, and White didn’t try to hold Rizzuto to any more promises. What a character Rizzuto was.

Paul O’Neill is following Rizutto’s route from hard-nosed ballplayer, to engaging, yet befuddled announcer. Thanks again to Jeff we have the forthcoming anecdote. Here is Paul O’Neill’s story as he is relating it to Michael Kay:

Paul O: “So I get home late last night after the game, pour myself a glass of wine and get ready to watch a movie I taped on HBO only to discover that I somehow pressed the SAP button, and the whole thing was in Spanish.”

Michael K: “Do you speak any Spanish?”

Paul O: “All I know in Spanish is how to say, ‘Please give me a beer’ ”

Michael K: “Why didn’t you go to HBO on demand?”

Paul O: (after a brief pause) “Feel free to stick your finger deep into the open wound” (background laughter from John Flaherty)

Well, it felt like a Rizzuto moment to me. And Phil always used to say that long stories lead to Yankee rallies, and the next inning, they came from behind with a 9 run inning. So to the memory of Phil Rizzuto, this cerveza is for all good huckleberries.

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