Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Never share a cab with someone more important than you

Apparently, there are Google rules that frown upon loading up a post with most-used search words. Since I want to be a good responsible blogger citizen...and more importantly, the experiment itself didn't seem to work at all (I got one extra hit for Molly Sims. Big whoop.) I thought I'd move off that topic and on to the next. This reminds me of an old kids' show host in the 50's (maybe it was Soupy Sales) who said, "Now kids, go to daddy's wallet, take out a dollar, and send it to me."

Anyway, onwards and sidewards.

Tony Gwynn’s recent selection to the Hall of Fame brought to mind a story about me and Tony and just where I fit in in the world.

I was broadcasting for the San Diego Padres. We were in New York to play the Mets. Tony and I shared a cab out to Shea Stadium. At one point in Queens the driver hit an oil slick, lost control of the car and we spun into a 360 degree turn. He was finally able to bring the cab to a stop, no one was hurt, but we were all quite shaken up. (Tony was so rattled that he only went 3-5 that night).

As we resumed our commute I said to Tony, “You realize if we had crashed there would have been news bulletins breaking into every network, huge front page headlines the next day and they all would say, ‘Baseball star, Tony Gwynn and a passenger were killed in a auto accident’.

My entire life would be reduced to “passenger”.

Tony felt bad. And mind you, this was not a ploy to get him to pay the fare (although it worked). He felt it was wrong that one person should be valued over another just because they’re famous. It was sweet of him to say but I was still feeling bummed out. You can’t change the way the world operates, yes it’s unfair, but some people are special and others are just considered nothing. And I fell into the latter category.

We arrived at the stadium. Tony paid the fare and the driver said there was an additional charge. Why? Because he had a passenger. Yes! It turns out my life is not without value! It’s worth $3.50!

I was soooo relieved.

20 comments:

floretbroccoli said...

Aw. And too bad that you were suckered by the cab driver. In New York, there IS no additional fare for an additional passenger in a yellow cab.

maven said...

Now, Ken, don't belittle yourself! You have a pretty good resume, too! (Although, what you say is too true for the rest of us!)

maven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Barer said...

Tony Gwinn started his pro baseball career in my old home town of Walla Walla, playing for the Walla Walla Padres. That was also where Ozzie Smith and reportedly Dave Winfield started their careers. I just remember Ozzie.

gregory huffstutter said...

OMG... did Tony spill his chili dog and 32 oz. Pepsi? (I'm a lifelong Padres fan, so I can joke).

The Curmudgeon said...

I don't care what floretbroccoli says, I thought it was very reassuring -- and we do charge per passenger in Chicago.

Of course, in Chicago, we charge for everything.

But inquiring minds want to know -- were you visited by the Google police for Sunday's post?

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right saying that. And that's not a knock on Tony Gwynn, who could give lessons on class to Bush and a lot of other people for that matter as he's a super nice guy and well deserving of HOF status. But Bush doesn't care. I went to Vietnam and he didn't. My family wasn't as well off and actually had to (GASP) work for a living. Well at least I can thank my parents for teaching the proper values to me and gives me something to live up to every day. The best thing I was taught was ethics which is a lot more than Bush and his buddies have ever practiced.

Anonymous said...

Gee...look at Tony's neck there. Kinda like Mark Maquire's forearms. Hmmm......

Eric said...

Curmudgeon - The Google Police - did they take over from the Phone Cops? (See Fever, Johnny - Delusions of)

Wally said...

As a lifelong baseball fan, that's a neat story. My all-time favorite thing about Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.? They are players associated with one team. That's pretty rare these days.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Tony is a genuinely good guy that way. My Cousins played on the same little league team as his kids so I got to meet him a couple of times when he was in the stands. His wife is a gem too. He was always gracious and patient with his fans (especially kids) but after about 5 minutes of being in his presence he was just another parent watching a ballgame ya' know? Everyone was jsut used ot him being around. But That isn't the story I want to tell. This is.

Back before there was anything called "Sam's Club" or "Costco" there was a store called "Price Club" The company was founded in San Diego in fact and to my knowledge was the original "Club Store". At any rate, Tony always shopped at the One in Ranchos Penasquitos and he ended up agreeing to do a free signing for the store though I think donations went to a local SD charity. TOny got there at 7 PM after the Padres had played an afternoon game at the Murph' (he went 3-4) and started singing balls, bats, jerseys, programs, books, whatever ya, know? At 9 the store was set to close but the line of people waiting for Tony was still wrapped all hte way around the building. It's a BIG building too. Guess what Sports fans? Tony came out of pocket to keep the place open another hour and a half so he could meet his fans.

Oh and Ken, don't sell yourself short. Anyone who can lay claim to writing credits on both MASH and The Simpsons has plenty of street cred.

Anonymous said...

It was Soupy Sales, and I think he asked the kids to look into their daddy's wallet for those pictures with presidents on them & send some.

shtove said...

Don't know much about the google police, but read about SEO here (don't know if it will link) [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization]]

Douglas McEwan said...

Anonymous's correction/confirmation of Soupy Sales is right. He got taken off the air for a time because of it.

Gore Vidal, in one of his memoirs, tells of flying in Air force One with President Kennedy, and JFK saying to him, "You know, if we crash, the headline will be 'President Kennedy Killed'. Your death will be on page 3."

If it's any consolation, I'd never heard of this Tony Gwynn person (Not being remotely interested in baseball) until reading this posting, but I will be saddened when you die, assuming I outlive you. (Which is certainly no safe bet.) Gwynn's life and death is not on my radar. Yours is. Fame and "Importance" are relative.

Tom Dougherty said...

Great story, made better in the telling. Thanks for another great entry in your blog, Ken!

VP19 said...

I remember asking a Phillies ballgirl about 1992 or so who her favorite visiting player was, and she immediately responded, "Tony Gwynn." Thanks to your story, I can see why.

LA Guy said...

It reminds me of encounter my friend had with a famous athlete.

He worked with high powered Beverly Hills divorce attorneys and one a high priced lawyer proudly introduced his client to my totally sports oblivious friend.

Lawyer: Ken I'd like you to meet Barry Bonds.

Ken: (With the unmistakable expression of 'I have no idea who you are' on his face)
Hi, nice to meet you.

Barry: You don't watch much baseball, do you?

Ken: No.

If it's any consolation I think my friend would be far more impressed with your resume (accept for that nasty steroid phase you went through) than Barry Bonds.

Paul Duca said...

I can emphathize...especially since I despise being fed the mentality so many others give out--that by exalting the Tony Gwynns (or Barry Bonds)of the world, MY life becomes meaningful.

John Marvel said...

It's the old "also on the plane" dilemma ...

Glenn said...

Actually, there is an old story about the old-time Yankees when they were traveling by air. A lesser player commented that if their plane went down the headline would say, Mantle, Ford and rest of Yankees killed in plane crash.

On of the other players responded, "No, the headline would say Mantle, Ford and rest of Yankees killed in plane crash. Berra misses plane."