I once came across George Scott in a bakery in Baltimore. There were many worse places on the road for a sportswriter to find an athlete, even then, maybe 40 years ago, but this still was not a good moment for the large-sized Boston Red Sox first baseman. He was supposed to be on a diet.
"I'll have one of those," he told the woman behind the glass counter, pointing out some highly-frosted concoction.
"And one of those…
"And maybe a few of those doughnuts…"
Trapped in another slump, he publicly had promised gastronomic austerity. When he swung mightily and missed mightily — something he did with regularity at the time — his whole body quivered and jiggled. His problem was as obvious as his waistline. That was why he had declared himself to be on this diet. He would get in shape. He would get back on the proper track. He would run pre-game sprints in the outfield in that rubber jacket, the water just pouring out of it when he finished. He would watch what he ate. He would be back.
"Hey, Boomer…" I said as I came up behind him. "What about the diet?"
He didn't jump, didn't stutter or stammer, didn't do anything. The words simply flowed. The man always could talk. This diet was a special diet. Understand? There was room inside this diet for doughnuts and pastries. Understand? The key was moderation. Within this moderation there was room for a man to eat some things he liked. Understand?
A special diet.
"I understand," I said. "Moderation."
"But, hey," the Boomer added. "That don't mean you have to be writing about seeing me in this bakery either."
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