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Best Of Jim Murray / Cities

August 18, 1998|Jim Murray

* Spokane: "The only trouble with Spokane, Wash., as a city is that there's nothing to do there after 10 o'clock. In the morning.

"But it's a nice place to go for breakfast.

"I had really intended to quit the habit of knocking cities. Hang up my guns and go straight, as it were. But they wouldn't let me.

"A delegation of leading citizens met me when I arrived in Spokane. After I ascertained none of them had a rope, I asked what I could do for them. 'Knock Spokane!' they yelled.

"I saw my reputation had preceded me. I felt like the old gunfighter who gets challenged by a punk kid in each cow town he hits."

* San Francisco: "San Francisco is not so much a city as a myth. It is in the United States but not of it. It is so civilized, it would starve to death if it didn't get a salad or the right wine. It fancies itself Camelot, but comes off more like Cleveland. Its legacy to the world is the quiche."

* Brookline, Mass., for the 1988 U.S. Open golf tournament: "Welcome to the 1910 Open!

"Please turn your clocks back about a century. We're in New England. . . .

"I won't say this place is stuffy, but if you ever want to play here, bring your monocle. If your folks came over on the Mayflower, you can get on--for nine holes. The club roster should be a honeycomb. It's full of WASPS. John Kennedy was born here, but if you mention their ex-President, they'll say, 'Yes, I knew him and Mrs. Coolidge very well.' "

* Cincinnati: "They still haven't finished the freeway . . . it's Kentucky's turn to use the cement mixer."

* St. Louis: "It had a bond issue recently and the local papers campaigned for it on a slogan 'Progress or Decay,' and decay won in a landslide."

* Baltimore: "The weather is like the team. Gray. Colorless. Drab. The climate would have to improve to be classified as merely lousy. It would be a great place to stage 'Hamlet' but not baseball games. It doesn't really rain, it just kind of leaks. You get a picture of Baltimore as a guy just standing on a corner with no place to go and rain dropping off his hat. Baltimore's a great place if you're a crab."

* Long Beach: "The seaport of Iowa."

* Minneapolis-St. Paul: "They didn't like each other and from what I could see, I didn't blame either of them."

* The Metrodome in Minneapolis: "Wait a minute! This is a World Series! C'mon! They gotta be kidding! . . .

"You should see this ballpark. It looks like a whole bunch of trash bags of hangers. The roof looks like a quilt comforter. If it had a swastika on it, you'd think it was the Hindenburg. The world's biggest hot-air balloon. You'd be afraid to light a match in it. It's kept aloft by air. If they ever turn off the fans, you'd have the world's biggest pile of Teflon. If it slips its tether, you'd half expect to find yourself floating over downtown Chicago. You keep looking around for Cantinflas and David Niven. . . ."

* Best of Jim Murray compiled by Tim Kawakami.

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