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February 23, 2011

Wezen-Ball

Some Colorful Language

by Larry Granillo

Last week, Google announced that they had just added the complete archives of Spy magazine to its excellent Google Books section (along with, say, Baseball Digestand Popular Science). This means that you can easily search for any term or terms to ever appear in the magazine's ten-plus year history. Naturally, then, I started poking around the archives for some fun baseball-related content.

And, boy, did I find something wonderful. In the June 1990 issue, there's a one-page article called "Talking Motherf---ing Baseball, Godd--- It!" The subtitle is "SPY salutes the Tardy 1990 Baseball Season with a Piece of 13-Year-Old, Unauthorized Oral History".

The article highlights an, ahem, colorful conversation that Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda has with starting pitcher Doug Rau in the second inning of Game Four of the 1977 World Series. Rau has not had a good start to the game and Lasorda goes out to the mound to pull him:

Lasorda: F--- no. You can't get the f---ing left-handers out for Christ All-f---ing-mighty.
Rau
: I feel good, Tommy.
Lasorda
: I don't give a s--- you feel good - there's four motherf---ing hits up there.
Rau
: They're all f---ing hits the opposite way.
Lasorda
: I don't give a f---.
Rau
: I got a left-handed hitter. I can strike this motherf---er out.
Lasorda
: I don't give a s---, Dougie.

The conversation goes on for another three minutes or so of back and forth, with Tommy raising his voice a few times while expanding his vocabulary. It's quite the amazing read.

I was, understandably, quite excited to find the record of such a great conversation. These types of exchanges aren't made public all that often, after all. It turns out, though, that this particular recording isn't all that rare. It's easy to find on YouTube, for example. (If you enjoyed the transcript, then you'll really love hearing the audio!)

There is something unique to the Spy article, however. It begins:

An unusual audiocassette recently made its way into our possession. The tape - recorded and passed on from enthusiast to enthusiast over the years, a kind of sonic chain letter - offers a true baseball fan's delight: actual, uncensored recordings of ballplayers caught in the act of cussing.

There's an entire audiocassette filled with more recordings like this? And it was passed around in the pre-Internet days for more than a decade? Is it still around? What else is on there, just waiting to be discovered?

Spy does give us a clue of what else we might be able to find if this 20-year-old tape is ever discovered again:

As a sort of bonus, the tape also includes Kansas City Royal George Brett's frank assessment of his progress battling a case of hemorrhoids...

On second thought, I'll let you read the rest of that anecdote yourself (and, no, it isn't this Brett story). Needless to say, I'd love to know if anyone has ever heard of this tape's existence before. It must be pure gold.

Related Content:  Cussing

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