Suffice to say, he has some fascinating perspective on the evolution of statistics and the NFL, which I’ll get to in an upcoming print/online Q&A that’s running Sunday.
But he also told an amazing story about his first time in Minneapolis, working for Monday Night Baseball (that was a thing) in the 1970s. It was too long and frankly way off-topic to include in the Q&A, but my goodness I can’t stop thinking about it. So here it is, from Hirdt:
“I think the first time I came to Minnesota was the late 70s for a baseball game at the old Met stadium. I think the Twins played the Red Sox and they had a pitcher named Paul Thormodsgard and Cosell loved saying the name.
“The thing I remember is after the game, there was a hotel we stayed in, very small hotel that was walking distance to the stadium, and after the game we came back and there was a little lounge. You might be too young to remember this but back then there was a character on Saturday Night Live played by Bill Murray where was kind of a lounge singer. … That type of thing was going on at this place. There was a small-town lounge singer, and this was Monday Night Baseball so it was Monday night in Bloomington Minnesota. The guy is performing in front of 15 people or so.
“We take a table in the back. Cosell was there and Bob Uecker was on the broadcast. Ueck realizes there is a spotlight on this guy that is kind of running right through our table. He starts by putting up like one finger or two fingers while the guy is performing, in this tuxedo, and you see these magnified images. Uecker starts to do a show of someone running or swimming, and then a shark coming to get them with the other hand. The guy had no idea what was going on. He was in the middle of some Sinatra song. I’d never seen Cosell before or after laugh so hard. It was just typical of something Uecker would do.”