David Letterman Retires From TV To Begin Baseball Career

Letterman 1Tonight, David Letterman will say goodnight on The Late Show for the last time, and retire from television as a true legend.

Like another iconic figure before him, Letterman is walking away from the career in which he proved to be a superstar, in order to chase after another dream…

…as a professional baseball player.

That’s right, Modern Philosophers, just as Michael Jordan did when he retired from basketball, Dave is going to suit up for the Birmingham Barons.  While this news comes as a surprise to most, those who really know Letterman well, could see this coming from the moment he announced his plans to retire.

While 68 might seem a little old for a player to get his start in the minor leagues, the soon to be retired King of Late Night TV is no common player.

Barons“This is David Letterman,” said one major league scout who has followed Letterman’s career.  “He often had baseball players on the show, and I’ve seen him take some great swings out on the street during a telecast.  The guy is a natural.”

“Dave is no Michael Jordan,” another scout told this Modern Philosopher, “and I mean that as a compliment.  Jordan was a gifted athlete who thought he could conquer baseball with raw athletic skills.  Letterman is a comic genius whose perfect delivery will translate into a career as a pitcher.  He’s perfect for the minor leagues, too.  What a hoot he’s going to be on the team bus.”

The second the news broke, Birmingham Barons games sold out for the rest of the season.  Guests scheduled to attend Letterman’s first game include Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, and Julia Roberts.  President Obama is expected to throw out the first pitch, Paul Shaffer and The CBS Orchestra will play the National Anthem, and Foo Fighters will rock “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.

Letterman’s only comment was: “My goal is to be in the starting lineup, so I know I make the team’s Top 10 List every night.”

Letterman 2It was also announced today that David Letterman has purchased the Birmingham Barons, which might explain how a 68 year old TV star with little or no baseball experience, managed to make the team.

Then again, is there anything David Letterman can’t do?

All silliness aside, Modern Philosophers, I wanted to take a minute to share some Deep Thoughts on David Letterman and the impact he has had on my life.

When I was in high school, I would record Late Night With David Letterman every night, and watch it after I had finished my homework.  I would never miss a single show.  This was back in the days when I had to record it on VHS, set the stupid timer, and make sure the tape was rewound every night so I could get the next one recorded.

I thought Letterman was hilarious.  I remember a bit he did where he took the Bangor phone book and randomly called Mainers just to chat.  Was he telling me then that it was my destiny to move to Maine?

I cheered whenever they threw things off the roof, with watermelons being my favorite.  That inspired the very first story I wrote for my Freshman Creative Writing class at NYU, which I entitled “The Great Bay Ridge Watermelon Massacre”.

I got an A+ on that by the way.

Letterman ElliottI always looked forward to Chris Elliott’s appearances, which were hilarious and made a dorky kid from Brooklyn think he could be on TV one day, too.

In September, when I was backstage preparing to go on The Nite Show to act in the Timbo sketch, which I’d also written, I thought back to those afternoons spent in my basement watching Letterman.

It’s not lost on me that the teenager who was addicted to watching Late Night With David Letterman, grew up to be a writer for a late night talk show.  Danny Cashman is not only a huge Letterman fan, but with Dave’s retirement, he also becomes the longest tenured late night host on CBS.  Weird, right?

I was lucky enough to go to a taping of The Late Show before I moved to California.

Late Show marqueeWhat a thrill it was to be inside the Ed Sullivan Theater to watch one of my idols do his thing.

The guests were Bonnie Hunt, the band Tony, Toni, Tone, and some guy who showed off amazing feats of strength.

I still remember that after the dude proved how strong he was, Dave just handed him a jar of peanut butter and said that he couldn’t get the darn thing open.  Of course, the guy could not open the jar, either.  After making him struggle a bit, Letterman finally revealed that they had used crazy glue on the lid to make it impossible to open.

Thanks for the laughs, the memories, and the inspiration, Dave.

Enjoy your retirement, and if you’re ever in Maine, please stop by The Nite Show!  We’ll do our best to be funny that night…

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Philosophy, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to David Letterman Retires From TV To Begin Baseball Career

  1. markbialczak says:

    Nice tribute, Austin, to the guy who gave you a big push toward your path to funny.

  2. plaguedparents says:

    Sweet post! We just saw him in New York. It was bittersweet, and you could tell he was kind of sad.

  3. Joseph Nebus says:

    I’m just sad the Lansing minor league team is from a different level of minor-league baseball so would never play the Barons. I’d love to see Letterman discover the answer to the question, “how many guys in Easter Bunny costume can we fit in one dugout?”

    And yeah, it’s hard to overstate how much Letterman shaped our understanding of what comedy is and what it could be. It’s going to be a long time before anyone being funny isn’t imitating or reacting to him.

  4. ksbeth says:

    i’m sad to see him go and i’m sure he’ll be knocking on your day, begging for a guest spot )

  5. garym6059 says:

    Letterman making Indiana proud!

  6. herheadache says:

    Almost got tickets to see him a few years back. The weekends did not match up and we were there a different one. Try to get standby tickets, but just didn’t work out.

  7. Austin,Caught up to your post…next to monkey cam, I too loved the watermelon drops…..Now to go through withdrawal….regards, Marian

  8. Diana says:

    You know, I think I’m just the wrong age to appreciate Letterman—and I don’t especially like late-night talk shows. I appreciate what he’s done for late-night TV, and I see him as an icon, but watching his show was never one of my favorite things to do.

  9. Gene'O says:

    I used to love Letterman, too — especially the Chris Elliot stuff. And I always loved the Charles Grodin interviews. Thanks for joining the #geekpastiche blog party, and especially for visiting some bloggers! I’m just bopping around today visiting back and snagging the links 😉

    Gene’O
    Instigator-in-Chief at Sourcererblog

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