Mon, 21 May 2007 15:57:07
Don’t be fooled by the smiling faces above. Neither Rudy Giuliani nor Leo Durocher was/is or could ever be described as a nice guy. Leo the Lip’s most famous snarky sound bite was aimed at NOLA’s own Mel Ott: “Nice guys finish last.” He believed it too y’all.
I guess I should backtrack and tell the non-baseball fans in the crowd and those too young to recall Leo Durocher who the hell he was. As a player Leo was the prototypical scrappy lippy good field-no hit shortstop who was best known for playing with the world champion St Louis Cardinal team nicknamed the Gashouse Gang. They were a bunch of roughnecks and Leo had the roughest neck of all. Durocher later managed the Brooklyn Dodgers New York Giants Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. He was still kicking dirt at umpires insulting his players and leering at strippers when I was a tadpole. There’s nobody in modern baseball to compare him to: nobody would stand for Leo’s antics. Crazed Yankee skipper Billy Martin was the last manager to be Durocheresque but Leo was like Billy Martin with roid rage. (Local connection: Billy Martin was a close friend of former NOLA Council President Eddie Bad Hair Sapir.)
Back to the Giuliani-Durocher analogy. Here’s the bottom line: Leo was an asshole and so is Rudy. Calling them jerks would be an insult to jerks which is why Rudy Giuliani will never be President. It has nothing to do with his trying to be Dick Cheney on defense and Barney Frank on social issues. Rudy Giuliani will never be President because he is an asshole and proud of it which is why he gets on so well with fellow creep Louisiana Senator David Vitter.
In my lifetime we’ve only elected one raging gaping asshole to the White House and that was Richard Nixon in a year that any Repub could have beaten any Democrat. It’s true that LBJ was an asshole 60% of the time but he knew how to hide it. Then there’s the Current Occupant who bamboozled many voters into thinking that he was a goofball instead of a creepy and cretinous frat boy. In short we may elect a covert creep but never an overt creep absent historical imperatives and 2008 will likely be a Democratic year. Thanks President Beavis.
Back to the Lip/Mayor Combover analogy. There’s a wonderful quote from the great baseball writer Bill James about Leo Durocher that fits Rudy Giuliani by analogy as well:
“Durocher didn’t give a shit what you thought of him. He didn’t make any pretense to being a nice person. <snip> He was a rogue. He dressed in flashy clothes drove flashy cars drove too fast took a punch at anybody who crossed him made a pass at every woman he took a liking to and bragged when he scored.”
Leo or Rudy? You decide.
Finally, in the early days of television Leo Durocher was a coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leo always liked the show biz life so he did several cameos on some camp classic Sixties sitcoms. It’s hard to imagine Mayor Combover with Mr. Ed or Herman Munster BUT he is fond of wearing a frock so ya never know. Heeere’s Leo: