09/27/2007 5:07 PM ET
Murray visits with Cubs prior to finale
Actor and Cubs fan also talked with Marlins manager Gonzalez
By Tom Keller / MLB.com
Actor Bill Murray (left) asked Aramis Ramirez (right) to hit him a pair of home runs prior to the series finale vs. the Marlins. (Denis Bancroft/Florida Marlins)
MIAMI -- Bill Murray has split the sides of countless film viewers, but when the Academy Award-nominated actor says he'll do anything to help his beloved Chicago Cubs, he's not kidding.
Murray was at Dolphin Stadium for Thursday's Cubs-Marlins series finale, and he met beforehand with Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez, who managed the Minor League Miami Miracle in 1990 when Murray was part-owner of the team.
"I don't want to say money changed hands," Murray said, "but don't expect Fredi to be driving the same automobile tomorrow."
OK, so that was another joke. But Murray's love for the Cubs, the team he grew up idolizing in the Chicago suburbs, is serious. He once filled in for Harry Caray in the broadcast booth, he has been petitioned to get involved with the pending sale of the franchise, and one of his sons is named Homer Banks Murray in honor of Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
"He's a big Cubs fan, and he's really rooting for us," said Chicago manager Lou Piniella, who talked to Murray at the hotel bar after Wednesday's game. "He's here to lend his support."
That help can take many forms, as when Murray went up to Aramis Ramirez before batting practice on Thursday.
"I'm going to be in the hospital -- I'm very sick," said Murray, a picture of health. "Could you hit two home runs for me today?"
"I'll do my best," he said.
Murray also chatted with second baseman Mark DeRosa behind the batting cage.
"He's awesome," DeRosa said. "We talked about Gregorian chants."
Piniella didn't realize what a huge fan Murray is.
"Maybe I can make him my bench coach for a day," Piniella said.
Even without his help, Murray is confident that this is the year the Cubs will break their World Series drought, which is now one year short of a century. First, though, the Cubs must figure out the Marlins, who beat them for the ninth consecutive time on Wednesday to keep Chicago at least two days away from clinching a playoff bid.
"I really feel this is going to happen," Murray said. "I think the Marlins have been very brave and noble, and when they lose today, they're going to die with respect. They'll be humiliated today, but they'll have earned everlasting honor."
So back-to-back defeats haven't tempered Murray's confidence at all?
"There is no time for being cautiously optimistic," he said. "That's really for losers. I don't buy that."
He then drew attention to his attire, which included a blue Cubs hat worn backwards, plaid shorts and argyle socks.
"Do I look cautious?"
Tom Keller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.