Norman Chad was a revelation, and even the great Frank DeFord makes mistakes (although running The National wasn’t one of them):
Hinton: I did a piece called "The Last Ride of A.J. Foyt." Foyt had disintegrated his legs in a crash, and an orthopedic surgeon had put his legs back together. He'd been rehabbing with the Houston Oilers. He was going to come back and run the Indy 500 one last time. So I go down to the ranch, and he was in all of his profane bull-glory, talkin' wide open: "Darryl Waltrip's a jack-off. Fuck him. … And you want to talk about an asshole, you want to talk about a prick? That's that Bobby Rahal." The lede for that piece set the tone: "Eight a.m. and raining on Waller, Texas. Population: Big Enough to Whip Your Ass. Out where Texas starts to look like Texas ought to, 40 miles northwest of Houston on the road toward Austin." Well, Frank wanted to cut the phrase, "Population: Big Enough to Whip Your Ass." So Granger calls me and says, "Call Frank at home. Fleder and I told him that we're quitting and now you need to tell him you're quitting unless he puts it back in there. You gotta fight for your phrase. We love it. We're going to stick by you. Now, you gotta stick by us."
Pierce: Rob really fought. He fought to the point that Frank started getting agitated about it.
Hinton: I called Frank at home. And Frank says, “Ed, somebody has to be the country parson around here. Frankly, “ass” is gratuitous.” I said, “Granger and I have already gone over ways to keep the cadence in that sentence, and it’s just not working.” Frank says, “Stop struggling to find a new phrase, because I’ve already found a way to keep the cadence in that sentence — just remove ‘Population: Big Enough to Whip Your Ass,’ and listen to the sentence again.” That made it, “Eight a.m. and raining on Waller, Texas. Out where Texas starts to look like Texas ought to, 40 miles northwest of Houston on the road toward Austin.” I said, “Frank, you’re right. The cadence is still there.” Frank had been too good to me to get in some big fight. I called Granger back and told him I’d given in. He says to me, “Hinton, you chicken-■■■■ coward, Fleder and I were ready to quit for you, and you folded.”