The Cyclones Host Fictitious Friday in Honor of Manti Te’o

The Mets’ minor league team in Brooklyn–the Brooklyn Cyclones take the cake with this promotion.

In light of recent events involving All-American linebacker Manti Te’o, the Brooklyn Cyclones have announced that June 21 will be Fictitious Friday at MCU Park. The Single-A Affiliate of the New York Mets will have legendary fireballer Sidd Finch on the mound, in what will be his long-awaited professional debut (What do you mean he’s not real?), when they take on Roy Hobbs and the New York Knights (Wait, that team only exists in a movie and they are actually playing the Aberdeen IronBirds). Fans should be sure to arrive early because prior to the game, The Beatles will reunite for a once-in-a-lifetime concert event. (Okay, that’s apparently not true either, but this girl I met online told me she could make it happen).

Enough joking around, now here are some true statements about the plans for the evening. Anyone who purchases one ticket at regular price will be allowed to bring their make believe significant-other to the ballpark free of charge. Fans will also have the chance to draw a picture of their girlfriend, because obviously something came up and she couldn’t make it, so that their friends can finally see what she looks like. As a special treat, MCU Park will host a unique petting zoo for those in attendance, featuring a unicorn, a mermaid, and a Minotaur. The Cyclones are also in discussions with the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to throw out a ceremonial first pitch that evening. In keeping with the tradition of Coney Island amusements, the Cyclones will put a spin on a traditional carnival game, as fans that are able to toss a ping-pong ball into a fish bowl will receive a catfish. Lastly, all of the player headshots used on the video board will just be random people whose photos we find on the Internet.

For those who don’t know, Sidd Finch was a fictitious pitcher who Sports Illustrated reported threw 186MPH and a Curve at 111mph or something like that. They published the article on April 1st and people didn’t catch on.

Roy Hobbs is Robert Redford’s role in the movie “The Natural”. And the Catfish reference is from the TV show where they set people up with fake people.

Maybe the Mets should also do this promotion since they can’t seem to win with the players they have anyway.

Did Manti Punk Us?

The drama ensuing from Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend story being a hoax is going to leave a blight on Notre Dame. Take a gander at this story on deadspin and tell me what you believe so far.

Here’s what I think: I think that the idea of being a celebrity is way too engrained in the lives of talented millennials. In other words, it wasn’t enough for Manti Te’o to be a star linebacker, he had to be more than that. He had to be larger than life. I’m hoping that’s not the case, as Notre Dame is standing by Manti’s story that he was the one taken advantage of here by someone who played on his emotions. Perhaps the ruse embarrassed him so much that he didn’t want to lose face? Other reports say Manti was in on it and if that’s true, than we have a megalomaniac on our hands.

The question that remains us why? Our consumeristic society can tell us something here, because even when we have enough it is never enough. Stars have to be superstars and what’s the difference between a model and a supermodel anyway? Sports stars like Terrell Owens and Tim Tebow have dominated headlines during the week but them often fell flat own game day. So far, we can’t say that about Te’o with the exception of the Alabama game. Yet, it is all too easy to feel like we were taken for a ride by someone. We wanted to believe in the power of inspiration and maybe that much is real, but to now find out that what was behind the inspiration is nothing more than a cheap joke, is stunning and sad.

On a retreat once, I had someone who was clearly making up stories, most likely for attention, but also because the person was mentally ill and off meds. Whenever people get a bit of attention these days it seems that they must bask in the limelight to the tenth power. The need to maximize stardom is well at the heart of this case, I think, and that is something Notre Dame should well pay attention to, because that addiction may have gotten them hooked as well.

Notre Dame and Manti Te’o are back in the headlines and I wonder if Manti, while he says he is embarrassed, isn’t still taking all of us a bit more further down the tracks of celebrity? Perhaps we are still feeding the addiction of celebrity, even while we are feeling robbed.

And maybe, just maybe Manti is laughing all the way to the bank.

Remembering Marty

My friend Phil Giubileo, over at the Play by Play blog took some time for some memories of Marty Glickman, the famed New York radio sportscaster who I came to know well during our undergraduate days at Fordham. He was invited by the acclaimed Bob Papa, now the voice of the NY Giants amongst other things, to become our broadcast coach at Fordham during our activity period. It was a rare chance for a bunch of young broadcasters to be tutored by the man known as the “Dean of Broadcasters.” Marty had invented much of sports radio play by play broadcasting and was one of the first “jock sportscasters” after being a track and football star at Syracuse and being named to the 1936 Olympic team only to be snubbed by anti-semitism.

Marty was a great guy and was a great mentor. You’d look forward to his praise but you’d invite his criticism as well. It only made you better and he was quick to make your mistakes obvious. If you fell behind a play he’d point it out. “I heard that whistle 3 whole seconds before you called that guy down!” When on the radio sometimes it’s easy to get lazy because you know nobody else is watching the action that you are–especially obscure teams that aren’t televised. You don’t have to “call the play” as closely on TV because the action is right there. But on radio, description is key and Marty gave you no slack in giving descriptions of ballgames.

Someone would say “That was a great play!” And Marty would scream, “That word doesn’t mean anything! It was a GREAT play–well, WHY THE HELL WAS IT GREAT?” You’d then sheepishly tell Marty that the player made a leaping one handed grab. And he’d say “NOW THAT’S a description. Have those words ready.”

I tried pretty hard to be a broadcaster and fell short of “the dream” of doing it full-time as a career with a major league team. The truth is that I just didn’t love it as much as some of my classmates and colleagues. I was always being pulled away by ministry. When I started to consider leaving broadcasting someone asked me why I got into the business in the first place and I was able to summon two reasons.

The first was that I wasn’t a great athlete in high school but loved playing and being around the team. I knew a lot about sports and we’d all sit on the sidelines and talk until we got into the game. So I had some natural talent that other guys would encourage in me. I kept score and knew the nuances of the game and I had a good speaking voice. I did PA announcing for the football and basketball games and would often call it play by play back then–not really understanding the difference between play by play and public address announcing, but it got me sharp. So I pursued that as a career in college.

The second came from Marty. And I tell this story in my book Loving Work. Marty was a master of description and so I asked him how I can improve this skill for myself. He said to me, “You know what challenges me? Each year I do a circus on the “radio for the blind”. Man that’s tough. I mean how do you describe an Elephant to someone who can’t see what it is?” Marty had invited us college guys weeks later to a dinner held in his honor for a Syracuse University Scholarship named for him. It was at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center and I was seated next to a man who was blind. Marty developed a friendship with him for many years and it was that night that I asked him how he knew Marty and he simply said, “Well, Marty’s been my eyes for over 50 years.”

I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. Everything else didn’t matter. I vowed to keep people like this guy in mind every time I was on the air. Description was paramount. Beth Kelly was no longer just a Sophomore forward, she was an apple cheeked Irish colleen that stood 5’8″ tall. Damon Lopez was a barrel-chested 6’8″, 240. Even names were described well. Mark Blazejewski was pronounced BLAH-JA-EFF-SKI. All stuff that Marty taught us. Uniforms–what were the colors. Michael Kay on Yankeee games talks about the interlocking “NY” on Yankee hats–where do you think he learned that? Of course, at Fordham, from Marty.

But it was my altruism that was exciting me, not the thrill of being on the air, or in sports. And I could feel Marty whispering in my ear that it was OK to leave and to follow what you were clearly more called to do.

Often Marty’s best advice was stuff that he taught us outside of broadcasting: Stay fit, eat well, always wear a hat, but never indoors to stay warm in the winter and to take care of one another. When asked what his greatest achievement was, Marty never hesitated: “Marrying my wife.” Marge Glickman was a wonderful woman and Marty had married well. He recalled that when he got his first sponsor, he took that money and Marge and him “got married on that money.” Then the sponsor dumped them. “But we stayed married!” he quipped. “For better, or for worse, for richer, for poorer. And all that stuff. We learned that early.”

Marty was a champion of seeking out higher values. Besides his experience in the 1936 Olympics, Marty was decisively anti-gambling. If you mentioned a point spread, Marty would get all over you. “You don’t need to contribute to gamblers!” he’d yell. He once told us that his father lost the family business gambling and so he had made a decision that he was not going to support gambling in any way. He hated the environment around boxing and told us to be careful around that element if we got involved with broadcasting boxing.

I wonder what he’d think of broadcasters today. He hated Dick Vitale’s style on College Basketball and the entertainment value of broadcasting is now much more paramount than the journalistic value at times. I often think he’d understand that, but hate it at the same time. I do think he’d love the internet and would encourage us to develop our own shows without the bureaucrats running the airwaves. Something about the democracy of the internet would appeal to his sensibilities I think.

A final story: I had a deja vu experience of Marty when I had graduated from Graduate School at Fordham. As many of you know, my father is an Irish immigrant. He never went to high school, never mind college. He worked hard to send me to school and I was able to make it to the next level with some help from Fordham and from the Paulist Fathers. He was very proud of me that day.

After the ceremony the Dean came over and met my mom and dad and sister and he already knew Marion, my wife. He said to my father, “Michael is one of our best students, we’re very proud to say that he’s a graduate of our school today and to have your family with us today.”

My father beamed. And then I remembered Marty telling nearly the same story about his mother and a Syracuse professor who came and said “I must meet the mother of one of my favorite students.” His mother could only afford to come to graduation from the city and Marty welled up…”My immigrant mother could never imagine that such a learned man would say anything like that to her! That’s why Syracuse is so special to me.”

And Fordham to me. Not only because of that one story.

But also, because it was there that I met Marty Glickman.

Celebrating While Black

In Super Bowl XXVII, Leon Lett started celebrating early. His team the Cowboys were blowing the doors off of the Buffalo Bills when the Bills once more fumbled and Lett recovered the ball and started running towards the end zone. As he approached he started an early celebration, holding the ball outstretched and Bills receiver Don Beebe smacked the ball out of Lett’s hands before he crossed the goal line and the ball went through the end zone causing a touchback and no score for Lett.

I was working at WFAN at the time and Bob Page was the sportscaster who was trying out for the station the next day. He remarked, “I notice that it’s only the black players who are celebrating early. Is this some kind of racial thing that I don’t understand?”

The phones rang off the hook and Page was deemed a racist for his remarks. Perhaps, however, his remarks aren’t too far afield?

Today’s New York Times asks the question regarding celebrations as it pertains to race and football less crudely and more scientifically.

A Kansas City Chiefs cornerback returns an interception 58 yards for a touchdown, then flexes his biceps in the end zone with one foot resting on the ball. A Seattle wide receiver makes a throat-slashing gesture after catching a 52-yard pass for a score. A running back for Green Bay lies on his back in the end zone and waves his legs and arms to mime a snow angel after an 80-yard scoring catch. After an 18-yard touchdown catch on Jan. 1, a Buffalo receiver exposes an undershirt that has “Happy New Year” written on it.

Each of these touchdown celebrations last season resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. But they had one other commonality: The fouls were called on black players.

The study goes on to talk about people watching black and white players celebrating and then asking them to assess not penalties but rewards for their actions. Black players were often penalized.

I have seen this happening in several other walks of life. I was once asked to move a car for a colleague who was running late and had to get on the air. The car happened to be a mercedes. I parked it in an appropriate spot and returned the keys without delay to its owner. No big deal. Two weeks later another colleague, who is black was asked to move the same car. A cop gave him the shake down:

“Is this your car?”

“No it’s my boss’ car.”

“You won’t mind if I come upstairs and confirm that, would you?”

Mind you, that same cop was in the same spot two weeks earlier, but I was just fine to move the car without incident. I’ve never seen my friend more angry. Clearly he was “helping while black” and that was reason enough for inquiry. Perhaps the officer should have questioned him, after all, he saw a white haired man park the car there just a short time ago. But why, then, would he not question me? I was just as likely to steal a mercedes.

Would I also be less likely to celebrate in the end zone?

It pays to remember that the guy who really started all the celebrating was this guy:

Mark Gastineau happens to be white.

Believe in Your Pitch

This movie looks awesome:

So I played ball in high school…or I should say I sat the bench in high school. I essentially had no arm. I could hit pretty well, but wasn’t very fast and really couldn’t throw, so I was a liability in the outfield especially.

None of us save one or two were college ball material. One of us made it to the small time minors and it ended quickly there. I guess technically speaking I got the closest to the major leagues, covering home games of the Yanks and Mets as a reporter for nearly 10 years. I was going to get there one way or another.

But back to the knuckleball. My high school teammmate Rob Riorden learned the pitch and it solidified his high school career. Rob will deny this, but I used to be able to hit Rob pretty well, not great, but I’d put the ball in play and often get on base in neighborhood games and in high school scrimmages. I hit a rocket in practice against him once for a rare double and he threw his glove in madness and concluded that “It’s just not my day if Hayes can get a double.”

Thanks, I think.

But then his junior year, Rob learned the knuckleball.

The ball looked as big as a beach ball coming in and then it practically disappeared. It would come in slow, like a bad change-up and then it seemed to speed up and have some kind of weird rotation just as it entered the stratosphere of the hitting zone.

Truth be told, I couldn’t touch Rob when he threw that to me. And he knew it. He struck me out in practice on it once and I threw my bat into the batting cage, an incident that got me the opportunity to pick up all the equipment after the game and bring it into the locker room.

Rob was a year behind me in school. So when I went off to college he ended up having a great season as a Senior. The club had a pretty good year and when I asked the coach about the season on a visit he replied. “We had an OK year, but if it wasn’t for Riorden, it would have been awful. Can you believe that junkballer went like 6-2?”

I could. The knuckleball is just what some guys need.

So I’m looking forward to the film and I’m hoping Rob is too. R.A. Dickey is up for the Cy Young this year and is one of two knuckleballers in the big leagues. He’s a great guy and I’m rooting for him and I hope you are too. Take a gander at this:

The Communion of Saints at the Gym

So I had been away from the gym for a bit. I was seeing a trainer at our on-campus gym for a bit but circumstances took him away from that location.

I tried working out alone for awhile but it simply wasn’t the same. We had a nice community going together in the gym. I liked working out with the younger guys. They pushed me and even some of the older guys were big athletes when they were in school–so it was both a challenge and a great community of folks gathered together, connecting with each other for a great purpose. We celebrated life together and tried to maintain our health.

And then it all went straight to hell.

Suddenly, nobody was there early in the morning. People chose to go to the gym at later times on their own. Sure, we knew the workout regimen, but something was missing.

That something was community.

I returned to a group workout in the morning this week and I’m down 3 pounds already. I’m a bit tired but I feel better and I’ve already got much of my diet under control thanks to some help from my trainer Tom Corradino at Absolute Performance. You can follow his tweets which often include pictures of me working out @AP_Train. Tom trains some elite athletes including James Starks of the Packers. And this is no easy workout. Think Biggest Loser stuff.

For example:

We started out Friday at 6:30AM with a series of stretching warm ups. Calf stretches for 10 yards, hip rolls for 10 yards, high knees for 10 yards, etc.

Let me just say when I found out this was the warm up and I was already winded…I knew I was in for it.

We then moved to the weight bench and warmed up with 3 quick pushes on the bar with no weight on it. Then we tied rubber bands around the bar and hooked the other end to a metal spoke beneath us, providing a LOT of resistance. It wasn’t that hard for me. But on that last set, that bar started to get real heavy. 8 total sets.

Oh you think we’re done…not even close.

We move on to circuit training. Which is kind of a combination of cardio and strength. Three different exercises which you do one after the other with little rest. I started with fast step ups. We put a rubber barbell plate on the ground and have to “step-up” on it quickly for 20 seconds. We do 8 sets of those.

Then we move on to heavy ropes. Two heavy ropes are tied to a gate. We have to bend down and shake those ropes as fast as we can for another 20 seconds. Again we go for 8 sets. Tougher than it looks.

The final exercise for me was a kettle bell triceps lift. Kettle bells are what they sound like a round weight on the bottom with a handle above it for you to grip (pictured, right). We lie flat on the ground place the weights behind our heads and then grip the handle and push straight up. I tried the 20 lb. weights and let’s just say I could barely lift them off the ground without a bit of jerking forward. He bumped me down to 15 lbs. and I was able to get through the first 5 sets before falling down to 10 lbs. for the last few sets.

Oh you thought we were finished? Not even close.

We finish with abs. Ugh! I have a gut and really want to lose it this year, so this is the hardest exercise for me. A series of different sit-ups. If I remember right we did 3 sets of 40 reps. I lay flat on my back at the end of those. Looked at my trainer and stole a line from my friend’s father after a long hike at age 70.

“I’m done! Just leave me here to die. Give me a couple of coins so the buzzards don’t get my eyes.”

There are a few guys my age in the gym, who are in far better shape than I am. A good deal of women who really work hard as well. Ingrid was at the gym when I used to attend here in the past, so it was good to see a familiar face. We pushed each other that first day. She’s better at the strength exercises and I’m a bit better on endurance things like dragging sleds with weights on it (which I could do all day and really love it).

It’ll get easier with time again. I put back some of the weight I lost but not too much. I’m hoping that with the New Year, I might be looking for some new clothes because mine are too big. I’m basically doing the Zone diet, with a few modifications. Low carbs, high protein.

But mostly, I get to look around the gym and see a bunch of people who are simply trying to become the best they can be physically. Some of them know I’m a Campus Minister while some are just beginning to get to know me. I think they are often taken aback when I trash-talk or even let a curse fly out of my mouth (one of my worst habits) or when I know the words to a song like “Highway to Hell.” But I also think they respect me simply for being among them. And it’s a great opportunity for prayer and even contemplation. Biking or dragging a sled gives one an opportunity to clear the mind and be at one with God. I get to pray for a new group of people and encourage them in their endeavors.

So today, let’s thank God for those we meet in the communion of saints. Those who push us to stretch a bit farther, be a bit better. Let’s remember them as people who we are called to love and to help. And mostly, let’s remember that we’re all made in God’s image–and we are called to take care of the temple, our body.

And when we do, as St. Paul tells us…

We glorify God with our body.

Memories of Patrick and Lance Armstrong

So the news is all a flutter about Lance Armstrong giving up the fight to clear his name regarding doping throughout his career. He was stripped of his titles and his good name, perhaps already tarnished is now eradicated from the halls of cycling history.

It would be easy, perhaps too easy for me to say that everyone’s full of it. That nobody plays fair anymore and that all athletes enhance their bodies in order to just keep up with all the others who have an unfair advantage because they are using drugs to give them a step up. It would be easy for me to call Armstrong a cheater, which he is and denigrate him further.

But my thoughts regarding Armstrong are far more personal.

For about a year, I visited a cancer patient named Patrick Giles. Patrick was a friend of my colleague, Fr. Brett Hoover and after Fr. Brett moved on from BustedHalo®, I began to visit Patrick for spiritual direction and to see if he needed anything.

And Patrick was hugely inspired by Armstrong in his own fight against cancer, a fight that Patrick did not win ultimately. He died unexpectedly after a short fight with the disease, his prognosis was good but he took a turn for the worse one week and it was over all too quickly.

On our visits, Patrick would always say at least once: “Everytime I see that guy on his bike I get so inspired.” He had all the Live Strong gear and he really rooted for Armstrong and would go to events that Armstrong would be present at just to get a glimpse of him.

Patrick deserved better.

I admire Armstrong’s dedication to people with cancer. I admire his work in bringing attention to the disease and using his celebrity for a good cause.

But today, it troubles me. Armstrong isn’t different from any other athlete who cheats here. It seems to me like there are more who are guilty than innocent these days and it troubles me that nobody cares. Fans keep coming out to see the show even though these athletes are killing their bodies and the integrity of the sports they play.

And I think Patrick would agree with me and be greatly disappointed in his hero.

Patrick was a very critical person and he held everyone to a higher standard. I remember reading a story one time in a writer’s group we were in where a story was being critiqued about a man who was in a wheelchair and how it was such an effort for him to make sandwiches for his kids. In painstakingly detail, he told of the steps it took for him to make each sandwich. The author then compared the making of the sandwich to a sacrament.

All of us in the room were enamored by the story…that is except Patrick.

He whispered to Fr. Brett and I, “Can you JUST MAKE THE SANDWICHES ALREADY!?” Which evoked much laughter from us. Later on he would tell the group, “I’m sorry a sandwich is NOT a sacrament.”

Again, the higher standard applied.

I’ve been wondering what Patrick would think of Armstrong today. My guess is his disappointment would run deep, but I also think that he would be angry and ask good questions. Does his celebrity and good works entitle Lance to a free pass? I don’t think Patrick would think so. But I also think that Patrick would find a moment of gratitude in seeing someone so flawed also try to do good with his life.

You see, we all have something to hide. Something we hope nobody ever finds out about us. And often that gets uncovered in embarrassing ways. I know I’ve been red-faced on a few occasions and there was nothing to do but simply accept that I had been caught.

Armstrong’s monicker “Livestrong” should really be a message for all of us. It’s not how strong we live that matters, but rather it how we deal with those moments where we are most weakened by our own temptations that matters. Armstrong’s penchant for fame and maybe even his passion for beating disease led to the sin of arrogance. I see young doctors go through this all the time. Anyone who has a bit of power to inspire others can get caught up all too easy.

Even us ministers.

So today, I’ll pray in Patrick’s memory that we might be able to find a higher standard again and that many can find their way to altruism without the temptation of being a media star.

After all, it’s when nobody’s looking that the true measure of a person is most accurate. And Patrick always looked in the places that nobody else did. And if he were doing so today, he’d find Armstrong as a fallen hero, with the weight of everyone’s disappointment weighing him down.

And I think he’d offer to pray with him.

Memories of Munson, Murcer and My First Game

My first “in-person” baseball game was at Yankee Stadium in 1979. I went with my little league team. We were awful. I don’t think we won a game all year if memory serves. To make matters worse, I grew up a New York Mets fan, after watching Steve Henderson hit a home run on TV the moment I turned the game on. Little did I know, the Mets stunk and the Yankees were on top of the baseball world.

That was until 1979.

Thurman Munson, the team’s captain and catcher was killed in a plane crash that year. The plane was his own. He bought it to get home to Canton, Ohio to be close to his family and one night while practicing take offs and landings he lost control of the plane and it crashed.

A few days later. I attended my first game at Yankee Stadium. Controversy swooned around the stadium because that morning was Munson’s funeral. The Yankees chartered a private plane and the entire team went. The League office was upset because they had a game that night against Baltimore. What if they didn’t make it back on time for the game.

Owner George Steinbrenner put his foot down. “Tough shit. We’re going. If we don’t make it back, we forfeit.” Steinbrenner was often crazy but he had his principles and he wasn’t going to compromise on this.

I was 9 years old and Thurman was the first young person I ever heard of who had died. I had planned to root for the Orioles for weeks but then Munson’s death changed my mind.

“These guys have been through a lot,” my dad reminded me. “We should show them some respect.”

There was a small moment of silence at this game. A few days earlier Cardinal Cooke eulogized Munson at the Cathedral known as Yankee Stadium.

The Yanks had been through an emotional day. They had been to their teammates funeral and then trotted out on the field. Bobby Murcer gave one of the eulogies. Manager Billy Martin offered to sit him out for the game but Mercer told him “No, I think I need to play tonight.”

The result was astounding. Mercer homered in the 7th and then drove in the tying and winning runs in the 9th with a hot single. He had done it for his friend, in his memory. And he made me a memory that night as well.

Mercer never used that bat again. He gave it to Munson’s widow, Diana.

An amazing man mourning and amazing friend.

Mercer died not all that long ago after suffering from brain cancer. He returned to the broadcast booth (Mercer became a Yankee broadcaster after his playing days were done) and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

When you’re a kid you don’t know the magnitude of a night like that. It was a good game. I had no real rooting interest. I didn’t realize Munson’s funeral was that morning when I went to the game but was sad by many posters and signs mourning him around the stadium. Looking back now, it was a heck of a first game for a nine year old kid.

Baseball can transcend life in that way and I hope you have some baseball memories that are just as memorable. This one is one of my favorites.

Rest in peace, Thurman and Bobby.

Anti-Semitism and the Olympics

There was a large outcry at the London Games because there was no memorial shown by NBC for the athletes killed by the terrorists in the 1972 Olympic Massacre.

Jim McKay told the story better than anyone else:

Sad. Terrorism is now a part of our everyday life in the world, for some, especially those in the Middle East, it’s rampant. To not mention the 40th anniversary of this tragedy is indeed distasteful. And thoughts of whether this could have been done purposefully because of anti-semitic tendencies could be accurate.

The IOC themselves have a long history of anti-semitism unfortunately. It dates back to Avery Brundage the head of the IOC for many years. In 1936, Hitler had come to power and Berlin was the site of the Olympiad. Two Jews, Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman (who later became a famed sportscaster in New York and was my broadcast coach at Fordham) were members of the American 4×100 relay. They were told they would not run. The excuse was that Brundage told them that the Germans were hiding athletes and that they needed their best athletes out there. Namely the famed Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalf.

Owens objected. “I’m tired. Marty and Sam deserve the chance.”

“You’ll do as your told.”

Glickman also objected: “You can’t hide world class athletes. We’ll beat them by 5 yards!”

Jesse Owens has captured a bunch of medals already and Hitler, already embarrassed that a black man had won medals, wasn’t about to be embarrassed by two Jews. Brundage, later revealed to be a Nazi sympathizer, put the act in motion.

Glickamn and Stoller were told that they wouldn’t run and with World War II breaking out, they never got another chance.

Fast forward many years later and the New York Football Giants played an exhibition game in Berlin. They invited Marty to the game, played at the same stadium he would have run in. He even got to sit in Hitler’s box, in a nice twist of irony. While walking on the track, Glickman reported that some kind of “spell” came over him. And he began to curse and yell and cry out all kinds of things. Perhaps it was an old wound that needed to be reopened in order for him to have closure.

I once said to him, “But two good things happened!”

He looked at me with some disdain and said “What!?”

“Well, how many people can say that Jesse Owens stood up for them?!”

“Fair enough!” Glickman said.

“And the second one is more important.”

Glickman looked puzzled.

“Dude! You pissed off Hitler! How many Jews would want to have THAT experience!?”

He laughed heartily, patted me on the back.

“You just made my day!” he said. “But I really would’ve loved to stick it to him by winning that race.”

Marty had a lot of old stories from his sportscasting days and he loved to tell them. Many with a smile on his face and a lilt in his voice…

But he never, EVER, told that story with a smile on his face. He always referred to Brundage and Dean Cromwell, the track coach as “the American Nazis.”

Here he tells the story:

Glickman refers at the end to the countless Jewish athletes who were later killed in the Holocaust many years later by the Nazis.

I hope NBC the Olympic television committee overlooked the 72 disaster because they plan to do something bigger on it for the 50 year anniversary.