Do you like boring human interest stories that are only tangentially related to sports? Yes? Fuck you.
CATCHING UP WITH THE MAN WHO CAUGHT 756
When he was at the bottom of a pile of bodies, suffocating, with unknown hands clawing at his face and clothes, his leg pinned against a stadium seat, and blood gushing from his nose and mouth, Matt Murphy was just hoping he wasn't about to die over a baseball.
That's some very nice prosey stuff. Really sets the mood nicely. Too bad it's a huge crock of shit. If Matt Murphy were really concerned about his physical well being, he would've let go and gotten out of the scrum. But in reality he cared much more about getting paid, not that I blame him, but cut the shit.
It was a thought Murphy revisited a few times in the days following his life-altering catch -- between the appearances on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and the "Late Show with David Letterman," his fourth hotel change in two days and his father's warning he should give up the baseball if nefarious figures put a gun to his head.
This story is so lame and uninteresting that Jemele Hill has to add an anecdote about a warning of a possible armed robbery. Riveting stuff.
With his new sneaker business opening Friday in New York's trendy Tribeca neighborhood, the 22-year-old Murphy can look back and see the absurdity and humor in everything that's happened to him since he caught Barry Bonds' historic 756th home run ball a year ago in San Francisco -- which made Bonds baseball's all-time home-run leader and solidified Murphy as a high-level thousand-aire.
"Let's just say I've got a really great conversation-starter," he said.
Or we could say "You caught a ball that made you a lot of money. THE END."
Between that last quote, and this picture of Murphy, he gives off a real douche-vibe. A good sports journalist wouldn't indulge him in his bullshit, but this is Jemele Hill we're talking about.
As you might have heard, Murphy and a friend detoured to AT&T Park en route to Australia, to see Bonds on Aug. 7, 2007. In the fifth inning, Murphy emerged from that pile of bodies with a ball that eventually was purchased by designer Marc Ecko for $752,467.
Murphy's take was half of that. He paid the taxes and gave his buddy, Amir Kamal, who was with him when he caught the ball, the remaining half.A year ago, who would have guessed that the owners of the historic ball would be much better off than the guy who actually hit it and broke arguably the most hallowed record in professional sports?
Matt Murphy, ~$350,000 richer from last year > Barry Bonds, omnipresent in discussions about greatest basball player of all time, and career earnings of $188,245,322, not including endorsements/appearences.
The opening of Solefood NYC allows Murphy to fulfill his lifelong dream of being an entrepreneur.
And his lifelong dream of making the lamest pun of all time.
Meanwhile, the 44-year-old Bonds is out of baseball in what appears to be a result of unofficial collusion. Not a single team, contender or otherwise, will take a chance on a player many feel is the best of his generation.
Say what you will about why no team will take a chance on a player with a career 182 OPS+ (I personally wouldn't be surprised if there was collusion on this), but what the fuck is "unofficial collusion?" Every team is either officially colluding with each other and not signing Barry Bonds, or, as Jemele says, they don't want to "take a chance on [him]." In which case it is not collusion at all.
God, she's stupid.
"I thought [Ecko] was either a really smart businessman or a complete idiot," Murphy said. "Turns out, he was a really smart businessman."This could be true, or it could be a complete lie, but we can't know for sure because Jemele Hill backs it up with nothing, save for "Ecko received enormous publicity for asking fans to vote online about what he should do with the ball." Nothing about increased sales or anything. Journalsim at its finest.
But Ecko wasn't the only one who deserved that kind of credit. Murphy knew the ball was a commodity he could milk for some serious financial comfort.
Wow, super savvy on Murphy's part. No one had ever sold a homerun ball for a ton of money before. Never.
After securing the ball in a safe deposit box, he turned down some initial weak offers, including one from Topps trading cards that guaranteed him $100,000 and free tickets to baseball's All-Star Game and the Super Bowl. Another businessman offered him $200,000 for the ball, but Murphy went with premier auction house Sotheby's, which auctioned the ball to Ecko in January.
He did what anyone with a half a brain would do. Whoopee! Will your next column be about a guy who didn't accidently shoot himself while cleaning his gun?
Murphy has done his best to lead a normal life. He still works as a contract supervisor, overseeing renovation projects around New York City. He still hasn't bought a car. He moved into a Manhattan apartment, but nothing ultrafancy. He invested in the stock market. The only big-ticket item he purchased was his sneaker store, which he shares with two other partners. The one fact he kept at the front of his mind is that nearly one-third of all lottery winners go broke.
"Even if I made $6 million off the ball, I'd still be at work every day," Murphy said. "My mentality is: Don't spend it. That money can make more money, and then I can live off that money."
My guess is Murphy has to pay around $2,000 a month for his apartment. In addition, I did some reasearch (journalsim...gasp) and found that he put $60,000 into the store. So for those keeping track at home, Murphy will have spent 1/3 of his money by the end of next year.
And while selling high-end shoes may be his dream, I wouldn't say sinking a large chunk of your cash into that is the best idea during a recession, but that's neither here nor there in this bafflingly unnecessary puff piece.
About the only thing that's different is his love life, and he admits his faith in people is somewhat shaken. Asked what the dating scene is like when you've got a couple hundred thousand dollars to play with, Murphy laughed and said: "It's like fishing with dynamite. It's a very good closer at the end of the night. Let's just say I've got a good winning percentage."
His faith in people is shaken because he takes advantage of would-be gold diggers. I guess two wrongs make a right.
The money has exposed the ugly side of people. Murphy has gotten an advanced tutorial on hidden agendas and greed. Some of his so-called friends took money from competing auction houses who wanted them to steer Murphy in their direction.
Yes, none of these guys are paragons of virtue like Murphy, who held a historical baseball hostage to the highest bidder and bangs chicks who only dig him for his money.
"A lot of freeloaders," he said. "I understand now why people with money watch their backs. Everybody is out to get you. Everyone is trying to get something out of me."
Murphy just wants the chicks to give up the pussy and everyone else to BACK THE FUCK UP. Is that too much to ask?
In that way, being a New Yorker is perfect for Murphy. He's living in the one place where the famous and infamous go largely unnoticed.
First of all, saying that the famous and infamous go largely unnoticed in New York is beyond stupid. Ask A-Rod or Angelina Jolie about how unnoticed they go in NYC.
Furthermore, Murphy isn't famous or infamous. Had it not been for this incredibly asinine article, I wouldn't know his name or be able to pick him out of a lineup. The only way people know he's rich is because he brags about his wealth to pick up chicks.
He just wants his new store to do well enough so that he can eventually quit his day job and live out the rest of his days as an unassuming businessman.
Wasn't the supposed point of the article to show what an unassuming businessman he's managed to remain?
"I don't want to be recognized," Murphy said. "I don't need the attention. I just want to live a normal life. In that way, mission: successful."
"And yet I went on Jimmy Kimmel, and had a national read columnist write an article about me and my recent good fortune. In addition, a Google search of '"Matt Murphy" Solefood' yeilds 266 hits. I am a douche and Jemele Hill is a terrible writer."
p.s. Here is an article about sports and finances that's actually very well written and researched.