Thursday, July 14, 2011

Larry David Produces Reasonable 'Fax Simile

If the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm is any indication, Larry David still has, as the saying goes, his fastball: Larry helping a young girl in the neighborhood figure out how tampons work, Larry dropping the n-word in an office building lobby, Larry pushing Super Dave Osborne, a.k.a., Marty Funkhouser, to get a divorce. (Successfully, we should add.)

The new season of Curb on HBO has a lot of baseball in it, notes Richard Sandomir of the NY Times. The premiere riffed on the nasty divorce involving Frank McCourt, owner of the Dodgers, and an episode toward the end of the season involves a guest appearance from Bill Buckner, counseling David after the saturnine funnyman's horrific softball error. (Best known as a bow-legged Bostonian, Buckner broke in with the Dodgers in '69 and spent more time with L.A. than any other team.)

The Dodgers also get name-checked in an upcoming episode when David plans to golf with a pal, and coins a unique expression when the date falls through.

Writes Sandomir:

When a newly spiritual Jewish friend tells him he will not play golf with him at a tournament on the Sabbath, David complains, “You’re Koufaxing me!”

(This is not to be confused with "Faxing me," an archaic method of telecommunications that had its heyday in the early '90s.)

In 1965, Sandy Koufax famously did not take the mound for Game One of the World Series, as it was Yom Kippur--making him a hero in the Jewish community (though surely some Jewish Dodger fans were dismayed). Koufax spent the day at a temple in Minneapolis, while Don Drysdale instead faced the Twins and got shelled.

"I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too," Drysdale reportedly said to skipper Walter Alston when
Alston came to take him out in the second inning.

More recently, Shawn Green opted to sit out a key game amidst a pennant race during his breakout 2001 season with the Dodgers. (Apparently, some Mormons won't play sundown Friday to sundown Saturday either.)

There is, in fact, a long history of players "Koufaxing", as Larry David puts it, well before Sanford Braun Koufax made that fateful decision in Minneapolis.

Since we can't seem to escape the Dodgers today,'s Jeff Merron notes that Jake Pitler refused to coach for the L.A. squad on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the '40s and '50s.

So perhaps "you're Pitlering me!" would be a more accurate description for Larry David, and a Jewish guy named Pitler certainly seems like something LD could mine for cringe-worthy comedy.

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