Billy Martin, Sixty Feet, America discussed on Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network
Usa here's rhonda. Jane levy is with us here on sports. Byline we're talking about her outstanding journalism career. She's an award. Winning journalist author she has authored a number of books bestselling books. I might add you. Were telling the story about phil jackson. Pick it up where it was the first time that i Went into a professional locker room. And i was needless to say quite nervous and I was writing a story for the new york. Daily news magazine about Jocks having gotten all pretty side you know like using cologne and dry their hair with hairdryers. I think that was a result of the famous joe. Hepatoma bringing a hairdryer into the locker room in the sixties and and scandalizing. Everybody so i'm walking around. And i knew enough instinctively not to get in the way of guys who are on deadline. Who really needed to get a quote and get out so. I'm walking around with a very large legal pads face. And while i'm standing there said a days this very thin white wet apparition of a person with a very long with thin white arm. Put his arm around me and said is this your first time and because i'm was well raised I it is. He said he patted me on the head and said well. I just want you to know you're doing really well. And it was little checks and he disappeared back into the shower. Still quite weapons and still quite Naked and he came back still standing there in a day and he says what are you doing here anyway. So i explained that idea the story and he started at me. And he goes over to earl. Bond rose sitting they I guess he was like a locker chef of some sort and says yo pearl you got some smells pearl. Get his face. Brightens oh man. He's like he's got a customer. So you get off the chest and he starts taking out. He had forty seven different kinds of shea butter and cologne and do rags and yet they're so phil start spraying himself with every manner of cologne and then going around the locker room and spraying everyone else and you know and and doing this whole routine for me. with you of just it was hilarious and And generous and then he winked at me and said got enough so you know this was a guy who knew what a story required and he just handed it to me and that kind of That set the tone for me. So did i have difficult moments. His locker rooms after that. Yeah you know. And i would say men do as well as women but within more often. But that's so much set the tone. My expectations were set by him. And i didn't expect the worst all the time. And maybe that's what you know Made it not so bad a lot of the times where we talk about you going to yankee stadium in throwing out the first pitch I know your hero was mickey mantle and in one thousand nine hundred eighty three. You had an opportunity to meet him. I'll let you pick up the story from there. Well yeah. I was in making guy and my dad was a willing guy because he was a giant sky and every day i would my dad come home and i think that would make you did. And then he would throw down the new york post or whatever paper you had with them and say yeah look at willie did so I was attracted to mantle for all the reasons that i think everyone else in america was he. He had a smile. That radiated a kind of post world war two optimism. Where you know. It seemed like we could do anything including bring a kid from nineteen year old kid from commerce oklahoma and make him a starring yankee stadium. Anyway so i get this thing in the mail saying he's hosting a golf tournament charity golf tournament at the claridge hotel in atlantic city which i might add is where my parents had their one. Night honeymoon On december twenty fifth nineteen forty one before my father shipped out. So i'm waiting for him and they had this meant buffet. Set up for all the daytrippers soon. Come down the jersey turnpike or the guard state to gamble and you didn't show up on time and i'm like writing and rewriting all my notes. And finally he comes you know basically stumbling in. And he's standing by a chafing dish filled with eggs that have returned to their powdered state and Sausage that are marinating fat and and sticks out and he says hi mick. And i said hi. I'm nervous nationwide. You think i was gonna pull on your titty. That's a real opener. isn't it it. It was actually funny as it sounds now. It was devastating. And in the course of the next twenty four hours Would say more than twenty four hours my childhood before my eyes and i really was forced to grow up and to see him as the flawed human being that he was Rather than the venerated you know and fallen hero But i i actually kinda liked him. Better you know in human dimension He also of course passed out in my lap late night but You know and remember in the hotel where my mother walked. Virginity was very over. What i went up to my room and cried. Let me ask you about this story because you cover the oakland a.'s. For a period of time. And i understand that the as one time slip to you something in your beer. What's the story there. I was on assignment. Billy martin was a manager and they had reeled off. I think it was twenty. One straight wins. It was like a record and they were you know they were on the cover of time magazine. One news still mattered. And so i got sent out there to do a thing on billy ball which is what everybody was talking about and you just one thing you reach accommodation with guys if you cover them every day you know there. There are ways kind of choreography of preserving people's dignity and privacy Then it's very actually very easily managed if you want it to be but when you walk into a clubhouse this guys you've never met it's a whole different schmear so i'm in there and cliff. Johnson was part of that team then. and i'm trying to ask them questions and while i'm standing there these four guys he was one of them surround me and they say come on in have a drink and you know. That's like a firing offense and i'm like no no no thank you and they go. Now come on just just you know. Have a little bit of a drink for this and i was feeling quite threatened in my on my They were very big. I was very small And so in my fast thinking well. I thought okay. I'll take a sip of whatever it is. They're offering me in this cup and You know and then. I'll be able to say i say i had some and i can go on with my business. Sem questions so. I took a sip. And the next thing i remember was the next thing i knew it was the next morning and I i don't didn't know how i got back to the motel didn't i couldn't nothing. I do a complete blank. And i had to go back to the ballpark the next morning and interview billy martin and i go in his office and he's sitting there in a t shirt and a pair of cowboy boots and that's it with his feet up on the desk. So that kind of gives you an idea of what my choices or i can either walk away or look at that what she wanted me to have to look at And the first thing he out of his mouth was did you sleep. Well jane and it was at that instant that i knew what had happened and i never told anybody i never told my boss. I thought i'd get fired if i if i told him what had happened. and I wrote it fictionally in my novel about my my putative life of female sportswriter. But i never told anybody until just Publicly until just Just before the night. The night. Throughout the pitch yankee stadium fact. Let's move forward to that. Because forty years after in two thousand eighteen the fortieth anniversary of new york court ordering the yankees to open their clubhouse to female reporters. You were asked to throw out that first pitch. Tell me a little bit about how you approach that. And and your thoughts about that experience. Well the first thing i did was call sandy colfax and asked if he would come in and relief until i got in trouble and he he said no and i said what do you coach me. And he said no and i said what he advised me and he said. How far can you throw it this. I knew this back in june And I said well i could probably throw it forty forty five feet now I a practice. And he said stand thirty so Okay i can do that I practiced all summer. I worked out with a trainer by the end of august. I could throw sixty feet six inches and then my arm went dead. I called back. And i i think i think i have a dead arm. He's a he's a dead arm that that's a very good short. That's a. that's a very very good sure. So anyway I took his advice. He said whatever you do. Don't go to the mound I really wanted to. And i was of course feeling intimidated because there was underneath on the internet every day the non from chicago showing off that she can throw from the pitching rubber so i was really tempted But it happened so fast they wouldn't even let me warm up. I was like wait a minute to go out there and not have not have thrown a ball. All you know all day. So but that's the way they do so I go out there and the guy says you know now as they call your name just going out. That's it just don't they'll they'll go. So i remembered to hop over the you know first based on and hop over the truck so that i wouldn't mess up the lines and i went out and tyler tyler teller waiter tire off. This is horrible. I can't remember Number twelve was my catcher. We took a quick picture. I was wearing a yankee jersey with the number sixty from for babies home. Run record And i my. I threw a pitch that i'm not particularly proud of but it got there now. Somebody at the new yorker said it bounced by looked at the videotape from a different angle. I don't think it bounced. And he did not have to get out of his crouch. It was as my daughter said mom you through a curve. We only have a couple minutes left. Then just briefly as you think back on your career. One of the things. I've always said to people. Is that the stories association with our profession is something so very special but In about a minute and a half and you look back on your your career. The moments the things that have been said the things you've had to live with and everything what sticks with you the most jane. Oh boy You know i think. I came of age at that moment in time where women were entering all sorts of professions that had previously been all male and going into the locker. Room is just a you. Know seemingly sexier version of that. Of course you know. It's not sexy at all. It's grotty and dirty and gross smelling And i've always felt that that they're real Bar having women is not so much momentum. Lock i should say it's not so much literal being seen for who you are because women are more likely to not buy into All the competitive stuff that you see that i would see. I don't know that it's still true. But you know. I'd see male reporters trying to say. Oh so tell me about that. Slider pitcher would say. That wasn't a slider. You something guy would be trying to prove his bona feedings where as a report of the question should have been. What did you throw and why did you throw it. You know and so. I think there's a certain advantage of via woman which is to say you. Don't pretend to know what you don't know you don't Pretend to had an experience of at whatever level that you didn't have. I wanna thank you very much for sharing your career and your life and you should be very very proud of jang. Come back and visit with us again anytime on yours. Okay jane levy again award winning journalist and author fascinating to hear talk about her career. Have you written a book. You can become a published author with dorrance publishing. The nation's publishing services company countless authors have trusted dorrance for one hundred years to bring their book to the market.