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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • The simple truth about lying

  • As a young radio announcer at a small station in southwest Missouri over three decades ago, I was “encouraged” every summer to make a pilgrimage to Royals Stadium in Kansas City. But I wasn’t going for the fun of it. Because the radio station I was employed by was a member of the Royals Radio Network...
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  • As a young radio announcer at a small station in southwest Missouri over three decades ago, I was “encouraged” every summer to make a pilgrimage to Royals Stadium in Kansas City. But I wasn’t going for the fun of it. Because the radio station I was employed by was a member of the Royals Radio Network, I was expected to bring home player interviews that could be utilized during news broadcasts for several days after my return.
    A dream come true?
    To be honest, it was a bit intimidating talking to pro athletes, whose names I would hear mentioned during broadcasts of Kansas City games.
    While I don’t recall the names of many of the players I interviewed so long ago, I do remember one memorable interview with the Royals manager at the time. His name? Whitey Herzog.
    I know, I know. For most Cardinals fans, the “White Rat” wasn’t a blip on their radar until hired by team owner Gussie Busch in 1980 to straighten out the floundering Redbirds. But Herzog did a masterful job of leading the low-budget Royals to the playoffs, even though that led to heartbreaking losses to the New York Yankees in the post season.
    I tried to have always done my homework so that no matter who I wound up interviewing I could ask intelligent questions and not sound like some rube who fell out of a turnip truck on nearby I-70.
    That was my interview “game plan” when talking to Herzog. And things were going along swimmingly until I popped out what I thought was a pretty insightful question.
    At the time, the Royals had a young phenom in the minors by the name of Clint Hurdle. Yes, Cardinals fans, the same Clint Hurdle that eventually played in St. Louis.
    A little background. Hurdle, who was tearing up the minor leagues, was called up to Kansas City during one of George Brett’s many injuries. However, with Brett due to come off the disabled list any day, I wondered if Hurdle would be the player heading back to Omaha when Brett was ready to play.
    I posed that very question to Herzog who glared at me and growled, “I didn’t call him up to send him down.”
    Interview over. Thank you Mr. Herzog.
    And while I would later interview St. Louis managers such as Vern Rapp and Ken Boyer, never again did I have the fortitude to approach Whitey Herzog for another question-and-answer session.
    Even though he scared the pine tar out of that pup announcer years ago, that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the job that Herzog did as manager of the Royals and Cardinals.
    I found it interesting last month when St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel did a story about a meeting that took place between the Hall of Fame manager - Herzog - and St. Louis’ rookie skipper - Mike Matheny.
    Page 2 of 2 - The most insightful part of the story was Herzog’s advice to Matheny in regard to honesty.
    “... I know he’ll be honest with the press. I told him, ‘Be honest with your players.’
    “I told him, ‘If you’re honest, you can always remember the truth.’ You can’t remember lies. One lie leads to another one and you don’t remember what you said.”
    Herzog’s take on telling the truth wasn’t far off from a Mark Twain quote on the same topic: “If you can tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
    The truth about lying is that unless you’re equipped with the memory of an elephant, enabling you to remember every stitch of a falsehood you’ve woven, you’re playing with a fire that will eventually scorch your credibility.
    Because there seems to be so much for an individual to remember in the world today, for people like me who have trouble remembering what they had for lunch yesterday, sticking to the truth seems far less memory taxing.

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