The scene is a conference of the St. Mickey’s Knights the Columbus. After dealing with a few business items, the organization’s leader, played by SNL cast member man Belushi, announces the the club would have actually a unique guest speaker that night.
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Dan Aykroyd, playing the Knights’ treasurer, notes the the team had to go into debt to pay the speaker’s steep $900 fee. Belushi climate introduces this distinct guest: “The Immortal” Chico Escuela, ** a previous all-star baseball player because that the Chicago Cubs who concerned the united state from the Dominican Republic.
** Literally: “Boy School”, but much more likely “Little School,” as Chico method small or tiny when used as one adjective – so “Little Education”.
After gift introduced, Chico – shown by SNL cast member Garrett Morris – it s okay up, stands in ~ the podium and also says in a special Spanish accent: “Thank friend berry much. Baseball … to be berry, berry good … to me. Thank you. God bless you. Gracias!”
Then he sits down. Astonished through the brevity the this $900 “speech,” Belushi’s character asks: “Is the it Chico?” Chico thinks about it a second, gets up again and adds: “Keep friend eye … save you eye … top top de ball.” after which, that sits under again. Belushi claims sardonically: “Thank you, Chico. Did you do it been an inspiration to every one of us.”
Three mainly later, during the December 9, 1978 episode of SNL, Morris’s Chico make a second appearance and also repeated his heat “Baseball to be berry, berry an excellent to me!” several times – make this the night on i m sorry it acquired official catchphrase status.
Chico remained in the Weekend update segment with Jane Curtin, that announced that he had actually been hired together the Weekend Update sporting activities commentator. ~ being introduced by woman (this time together a former brand-new York Mets ballplayer), Chico says: “Thank you. Thank you, berry, berry much. Baseball been berry, berry good to me. Thank you, Jane. ( pronounced “Hane”. )
With a photograph of significant league player Pete climbed behind him, who had actually recently signed a four year, 3.2 million dollar deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chico reported: “Pete-ee Rose, baseball to be berry, berry an excellent to Pete Rose. Three-point-two-million-dollar para Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle, girlfriend bet. Give thanks to you berry, berry much.”
“In foot-ball … ns don’t know football. In Dominican Republic, soccer is — exactly how you say, Hane? Ummm …. Oh! Soccer! your football … i don’t know. In national Hockey organization … i don’t understand hockey. In baseball … Baseball been berry, berry great to me! give thanks to you berry much. Say thanks to you. Thank you berry much. Hane? thank you, Hane.”
Hearing Chico’s fact-challenged report, jane responds sarcastically: “Great job, Chico. I’m glad that we haven’t hired just an additional stupid ex-jock sportscaster.”
Morris walk on to appear as Chico Escuela eight more times before leaving the Saturday Night Live actors in the summer that 1980. Each time, he repetitive “Baseball to be berry, berry good to me!” (sometimes created as “Beisbol to be bery, bery great to me!” and also in assorted other ways). The remains among the most renowned of the plenty of memorable catchphrases created by SNL.
Sorry, us are offered out that Chico Escuela cards.
Base-a-bol Bera, Bera Goooooood
By Tony KornheiserThe Washington PostNovember 6, 1979
It began last November top top a Saturday night, live from brand-new York, at theSt. Mickey’s K of C sports banquetsketch. Jane, Larraine and Gilda were the girls in the kitchen; now let’s hear it because that the girls in the kitchen that made every the good spaghetti — therefore c’mon out and also take a bow, girls. Aykroyd to be the St. Mickey’s priest; bingo following Tuesday, and also Father Dolan’s wondering why the parishioners begin laughing when he calls, O-68. Belushi to be the master of ceremonies. Invoice Murray to be his wise-guy son, the jocko. And Garrett Morris was the guest speaker, a retired ballplayer from the Dominican Republic that believes, over all else, in that old Spanish proverb, “Take the dinero and also run.” for those who missed it, the went something like this:
“All right, currently we concerned the featured guest that the evening. I’m certain this man needs no introduction. We all recognize him, the former 2nd baseman of the Mets, Chico Escuela. Chico is going to say a few words to us, for this reason let’s give him a warm, St. Mickey’s reception; (clapping) Chico Escuela.”
“Base-a-bol to be bera, bera great to me; (smiling still). T’ank you bera much.” (Sits down.)
“That’s it? Twelve hundreds bucks and also that’s it?” us paid girlfriend 12 hundred for that? You don’t have any type of more? Something come say come the kids? I mean is the all we gain for the 12 hundred” (Glares at Chico.)
Chico:(getting up, quiet smiling)
“Keep you eye on the bol.” (sits down)
Chico Escuela, this is her life.
“I thought it was a one-shot,” claimed Brian Doyle Murray, brothers of Bill, dad of Chico. “I wrote it one night, around 5 in the morining. The premise was the these ex-jocks get big money simply for getting here at these banquets. In this case, the kicker is the Chico can only say around five indigenous of English. Ns made him a Latino because I believed that would be funnier. But Chico’s not stupid; he might go on for hours in Spanish. Choose I say, though, I had actually no plans for a continuing character. Zweibel yes, really ran v it.”
Enter Alan Zweibel, staff writer because that “Saturday Night.” Zweibel, who created Roseann Roseannadanna for Gilda Radner, was responsible mostly for theWeekend Updatesegment. Zweibel knew a star when he saw one. Just one look, that’s all it took. “My fantasy to be to have a junior high in the Dominican Republic named after him,” Zweibel said. (“Escuela” is the Spanish word for “school.”) “‘Where perform you walk to school? i go come Escuela Escuela.’ I placed him onUpdateas the sporting activities announcer.”
Chico made 3 appearances as theUpdatesports maven. The was, however, his first appearance onUpdate— Dec. 9, 1978 — that remains the standard Chico Escuela segment, the little that created Chico together a “Saturday Night” character equal in stature and recognizability to Roseann, Samurai or the 2 wild and crazy Czechoslovak brothers, Sam and Dave. Right here then is Chico’s debut onUpdate:
“And currently we’d favor to welcome a new member come theWeekend Updateteam, the former 2nd baseman for the new York Mets, Chico Escuela. Chico will certainly be doingUpdatesports. Chico:”
“T’ank you, t’ank friend bera, bera much. (Smiling, as usual) Base-a-bol to be bera, bera great to me. T’ank you, Hane
(Picture the Pete increased flashes on display behind Chico)
Pete Rrrhhose. Base-a-bol been bera, bera great to Pete Rose. Three allude two million dollars para Pete Rrrhhose. Charley Hustle? girlfriend bet. T’ank girlfriend bera, bera much.
(NFL scores flash on screen)
En futbol … En Dominican Repooblic, futbol ees — just how you say? — soccer. Your football? i don’ know. (smiling)
En Nacional Hockey League? (they flash NHL scores) ns don’ know hockey.
En beisbol. (they flash baseball scores) Base-a-bol ben bera, bera goooooood to me.T’ank you, t’ank girlfriend bera, bera much. (smiling) Hane.”
“Great Job, Chico. Ns glad that we haven’t hired just an additional stupid ex-jock sportscaster.”
Chico’s great strength, of course, to be his good weakness. Practical illiteracy. How far can friend run with it? Even prior to Chico’s 2nd appearance onUpdate, Zweibel knew the to store Chico new he would have to offer him more depth, an ext vulnerability. A lifelong sports fan, Zweibel was familiar with the Jim Bouton motif — jock writes best selling tell-it-all book, i do not care sportscaster, make the efforts comeback. Zweibel sketched a comparable scenario for Chico; Chico would, in ~ 41, attempt a comeback v the Mets, the team he had scandalized in his publication “Bad Stuff around The Mets.”
Some excerpts, in Chico’s words:
“Tom Seaver always take up two parking an are … Yogi Berra is bera, bera poor card player … Ed Kranepool, he constantly borrow Chico’s soap and also never return it.”
Zweibel’s setup was to take Chico under to the Mets’ feather training site in St. Petersburg, Fla., and film reaction by players and also fans come Chico’s comeback, and also actual clip of Chico play baseball. To set this up, Zweibel contacted Thornton Geary, a Met official, who discussed the plan with Joe Torre, the Mets’ manager. The Mets to be not just agreeable, castle were totally cooperative. And also in late March, Zweibel, Billy and also Brian Doyle Murray, Jim Signorelli, who filmed the on-location Chico bits because that “Saturday Night,” and also Garrett Morris flew to St. Pete. Morris, who had actually never had a breakout personality in the 4 years the the show, ultimately had something that would distinguish him indigenous the position he had always held, the of “Saturday Night’s” black face. This one, Morris knew, had actually the potential to it is in an all-timer.
“When I an initial saw Chico, I stated to myself, ‘this might be it. I finally got a character,’” Morris stated from his office at NBC studios in Rockefeller Plaza. Top top the door was a bubble-gum snapshot of him as Chico. “Before Chico, ns was constantly doing drag queens. ~ Tina Turner, i didn’t want to execute them anymore — how many times have the right to you obtain compliments as a traction queen and not feeling funny? So ns really dug Chico. Ns was digging him from the start, patterning the after Clemente and Pele. What ns really dug was exactly how the cat could get away with anything just by smiling and also prtending to be stupid. Lookit, Chico don’t need to do the ‘Ho-la. Das how you say, ‘hello’ en ingles. Hola. How you say? Aitch. O. Elll …’ that knows just how you to speak it. He’s simply running his scam.”
Morris laugh so, he dropped over backwards. Gaining to his feet the pointed at the photo of Chico and also said, ‘Chico Escuela has actually overwhelmed every little thing I’ve done here. All over I go, ns Chico Escuela. I’m not Garrett Morris anymore. Chico been bera, bera goooooood come Garrett.”
Morris is 43. That is in an excellent shape many thanks to rigorous yoga routines. However he is no a baseball player. He play it together a son in new Orleans — “I sure as hell might have to be as good as Joe Garagiola” — however gave it up because that music and also drama in his teens.
The Mets understood. Castle loaned Morris No. 5, the uniform worn by Steve Henderson, the beginning left fielder; Joe Torre gained two players, Bobby Valentine and Doug Flynn, to tutor Morris top top the care and also feeding of floor balls; Torre even put Chico into the lineup for 2 innings against St. Luigi in a “B” game. Chico, the course, had no clue. “When I put him in come play second, he ran out there and also just stand on the base,” Torre said. “God knows i couldn’t allow him acquire up at bat — ns was afraid he’d obtain killed. He also scared me ~ above the field on a popup.”
Meanwhile, Zweibel was scrambling come come up v some dialogue to go through the planned montage of screwups, consisting of a shooting of Chico acquiring hammered in the groin through a grounder. Zweibel had gone to St. Pete v a concept however not a script. “All we knew,” he said, “was the Chico would certainly be a hero, climate a goat. We would certainly film all of it, climate come back, take it a look and put it together.” So, even as the lights and the cameras were warming up after a Mets-Yankees exhibition game, Zweibel and Brian Doyle Murray were writing one-liners top top looseleaf paper, newspaper — even toilet paper — and handing castle to players seconds prior to the cameras rolled. The fans in the stands were advised come stick around and also be part of a crowd scene and banners supporting Chico — “Bring back Chico,” “We Love Chico,” “Parsippany, N.J., Loves Chico,” “Senior citizens Respect Chico” — were hung end the railings. As soon as Bill Murray finally introduced Chico, the pan went wild. Chico obtained a stand ovation; the finest Garrett Morris ever got to be a an excellent hand.
Zweibel obtained threeUpdatesegments the end of Chico’s comeback, a comeback that failed when it became obvious to all the Chico was so much over the hill he essential a cab to acquire back. Bill Murray report the bits in the layout of a “’60 Minutes” reporter, periodically interviewing Chico.
“Chico, you’ve divorced her wife. Did you do it cashed in your children’s trust funds. All this for her comeback. Do you think that’s right?”
“Wife? (smiling) mam been bera, bera great to me. Children been bera, bera goooooood come Chico.”
Chico Escuela was hot. An extremely hot. Very, an extremely hot. Monster hot. You couldn’t walk to a baseball video game or a sporting activities department that a newspaper there is no hearing, “Base-a-bol to be bera, bera great to me.” Joe Torre claimed that as soon as the Mets play in mountain Diego and also Pittsburgh he saw signs in the stands that said “Bring earlier Chico” and also “The Mets need Chico.”
Garrett Morris said that “because that Chico my lifestyle will never be the same. Civilization come up to me and also say, ‘Chico, how about an autograph.’ They want me to do interviews an initial in English, then in Spanish — ns don’t know Spanish, man. Currently I execute concerts and Chico Escuela sells out an auditorium. Ns mean, Garrett Morris don’t sell out an auditorium. As soon as I hear kids on the street carry out Chico imitations it thrills me to mine toes.I typical I’m high together a kite on the stuff.”
It is clear, in retrospect, that Chico Escuela touch a chord. Whether it was vulnerability, his acumen in constantly knowing how little to say and also how much to laugh or simply his especially con task as the happy, shuffling Latino, he reviewed big. Sure, there’s a gyeongju sterotype walk on. Nobody denies that.”But there’s crucial truth in every stereotype,” said Jim Signorelli. “Look, Chico pertained to America to play ball and make money. Remember, he is been here a lengthy time. He is learned how to get roughly the bull. And the thing is, Chico always gives off a an excellent feeling. All we can say is Chico been bera, bera an excellent to us. Jim, Brian, Alan, Garrett love Chico.” Chico seems to be the perfect antidote come the mile-a-minute, let’s-analyze-everything-in-the-park-including-the-guy-who-drives-the-bullpen cart sports announcer. Chico analyzes nothing; he simply puts the cash into his ago pocket. He is the opposite of sports as chess game. He is sports as siesta. He is the Leon Redbone the sports.
Sports to be bera, bera good to Chico. T’ank you bera, bera much.
So overwhelming was Chico’s popularity that the Mets not just invited the to your Old Timers’ game this summer, lock even listed him top top their push notes together a member that the ’69 team. They introduced him come the crowd. They even let him take it batting practice. “The pitcher demoralized me, man,” Morris said. “That cat come out in front of the mound, and I can not hit a damn thing.” Zweibel, of course, was there to get it on film.
He to be there as soon as Chico walked up to Willie Mays and also Henry Aaron — and also tried to borrow part money.He was there as soon as Chico remained in the cage, swinging awkwardly, and a legitimate Old Timer go by, stared in disbelief, and said, “I don’t understand who this guy is. However in 10 year he sure shed it. That ain’t got nothin’ left.”
But every this pales when compared to the ultimate scam Zweibel tried to run. He in reality telephoned the Baseball room of reputation in Cooperstown, N.Y. — the spiritual shrine — and also tried to acquire Chico Escuela inducted.
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“I acquired some man on the phone,” Zweibel said, “and claimed to him, ‘I i think you guys understand what’s happening with Chico Escuela, the old 2nd baseman the the Mets.’ The guy well-known Chico’s name, so ns told him, ‘Look, Chico’s dying. He has actually been diagnosed as terminal. See as how Chico’s a shoo-in to acquire into the room of Fame, anyway, ns was wondering if probably you can make an exemption to her five-year rule and also vote that in appropriate away. Girlfriend did it for Roberto Clemente, and also it would be actual nice if Chico could lug his folks up from the Dominican Republic because that the ceremony prior to he dies.’ Well, the guy simply said the get back to me.”
Zweibel actually want to have Chico Escuela inducted into the hall of Fame with Willie Mays. He planned to film it. “He really did that?” Morris wanted to know. He says he did.”Oh God, ns can’t believe it. That’s great.”
And, because that the second time in one hour, Garrett Morris began to laugh so tough that he dropped off his chair, leading logically come the monitoring that furniture not been bera, bera great to Garrett.
What’s next for Chico? Is noþeles next?
There room various ways Chico deserve to go. He can do a George Plimpton, save trying the end for sporting activities teams. He can do a Joe Louis, become a greeter at caesars Palace. He can do a full-circle Bouton, stay as a sporting activities announcer, probably write an additional book, “More, bad Stuff about The Mets.” Or he deserve to go down the tubes completely, maybe acquire hit with a paternity suit, finish up wiping vehicle windows down on Houston Street in the Bowery. The would probably be the clincher. Joe Torre could drive by, Chico might do his window and Torre might say, “Chico, you’ve still got that same, an excellent stroke — just it’s one action too slow.” and then, the course, Chico might smile and also say, “Windex to be bera, bera an excellent to me. Have the right to I have some money for wine, Joe? T’ank you, t’ank friend bera, bera much.”