Seems like everyone in Charleston has a Bill Murray story these days. My Dad has a pair of them.
Dad has been a City of Charleston reserve police officer since the mid-1970s. Reservists work a set number of hours each month without pay, but they do the same jobs and receive the same training as regular cops on the force. They often fill in for cops who are sick or on leave and serve as backup for the regular force at large public gatherings like parades and sports events.
Dad has always enjoyed working baseball games. Games are usually fun to do because your main job is just to be visible–and eject unruly drunks if need be. Dad likes wandering around the Joe, watching the game, chatting with people, and keeping the tipsy fans in line.
At some point, enter Bill Murray. As everyone in Charleston knows, he bought the local baseball team a while back. I don’t know how much time he spends actually managing the RiverDogs, but he does like to hang out at the Joe and watch home games.
One time my Dad was working the ball game. He was standing at the entrance before the game started, being seen and watching people streaming into the park. Cops call this crowd control.
Bill Murray walked up and began to collect ticket stubs from people. Dad recognized him right away because he sees him at the Joe a lot, but the people coming in didn’t. Bill had a baseball cap pulled down low over his face and people just overlooked him. Besides that, who really pays that much attention to what’s going on around them?
Eventually, someone who had their ticket torn by Bill walked a few feet past him, stopped dead, turned around slowly and stared hard at him. Dad could tell that he’d been made.
Bill looks at my Dad and said, “Oopse. Time to go!” He adjusted his cap and wandered off into the crowd.
During another game maybe 15 years ago, Dad caught a foul ball and happened to run into Bill shortly afterwards. Bill signed the ball for Dad, who came over to my house after the game and handed me the ball.
And that’s how I ended up owning a RiverDogs baseball signed by Bill Murray.
What’s your Bill story? If you don’t have one yet, it’s only a matter of time. Just go to the Joe and keep an eye out for a familiar face at the gate or behind the concession stand.