by Surf Maui
It should come as no great surprise to anyone on this blog that SM would be threatened to be beaten up on a regular basis. But on this particular day, it was a Hall of Fame baseball player who did it, and here is that story.
It was Christmas Day in Maui sometime in the mid 90’s– the year, not the temperature. My family and I went to dinner at around 7 p.m. at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at the Shops at Wailea with another family whom we knew. When we arrived, at a table next to us was a large group with a man who was obviously the patriarch of the family seated with his back and just to the right of of me. They were loud and boisterous, led by the gentleman behind me, who, shall we say, might have had more than a bit too much Christmas cheer. Among other things, he was berating and humiliating the waiter. However, a look at the table revealed that they had finished dessert and were drinking coffee, so that the end of the cacophony appeared to be in sight.
However, another round of drinks for their table ensued and it was obvious that the yelling would continue for a while. So SM reached over to the “gentleman” behind me, and very politely (no kidding) said, “I’m sorry but I’m having trouble hearing the people at my table, I wonder if you could be a little more quiet.” The man said nothing to me and silently turned back around to face his table.
After about ten minutes of peace and quiet from the other table, SM was thinking to himself, “Gee, that actually worked.” Just then, the party from the other table got up to leave, and on his way out, the man came up behind me, and digging his hand deeply into my right shoulder, said in a quiet voice, “It’s lucky for you that my wife is here, or I would kick your fu**ing ass.”
SM’s first reaction when confronted by this bully was to get up and tell him to ***koff. (I was much younger, taller, and tougher then– at least in my own mind.) I started to get up, but realized that this situation would not have a happy ending, and could lead to medical bills and a Christmas Day visit to the emergency room for one or both of us–not to mention a lifetime ban from Ruth’s Chris. So I sat there, and again, digging his hand into my shoulder, the man repeated his threat, using the same words, but, in real life, without the asterisks. I responded by saying that I hoped that he and his family would “have a nice Christmas,” and then he left. My daughter asked me what the man said, so I told her simply that he “wanted to beat me up.”
During the course of the meal, the waiter, James– who didn’t see or know of the confrontation– asked me if I knew anything about baseball, and I said “yes, a little.” He then told me that the man who was seated behind me, and who, unbeknownst to him, had threatened to beat me up, was Hall-of-Famer George Brett. (Just picture his “pine tar” rant, but this time in a restaurant, and with SM the subject of his renowned temper.)
I was actually concerned that Brett might be waiting outside for me after dinner, so my friend accompanied me to the car. In retrospect, my late wife figured out what may have triggered the degree of outburst–in addition to his being three sheets to the wind. When I reached out to ask him to quiet down, before I had said anything, he undoubtedly assumed that I was speaking to him to recognize that he was a celebrity. However, the fact that not only did I not recognize him, but I was asking him to “shut up,” albeit in a very courteous way, obviously infuriated him and he must have been silently stewing for the ten minutes before deciding to leave and, on his way out the door, offer to rearrange my face.
So, as the late Paul Harvey would say, “now you know the rest of the story” about how SM was threatened with a beating by Hall-of-Famer and complete jerk George Brett.