Monday, April 19, 2010
In 1985 Tim Flannery and Jerry Royster platooned at second base for the defending National League Champion San Diego Padres. For Flan it was a career year, hitting .281 with 40 RBI and 9 hit by pitches...and I guarantee he sprinted to 1st base after all 9.
For me, it was the start of something special. I was in 4th grade at the time, playing for my Little League team in Coronado, and I absolutely feel in love with the way Flan played the game. He was the ultimate scrapper who always played the same way...with 100% heart. Think of David Eckstein with long blond hair and a surfboard.
In fact the more I learned about Flan, the more I loved him. He wasn't just a ballplayer that played the game right, he was a surfer and a musician and a guy that embodied the Southern California lifestyle (even if he was born in OK). In a word, he was my boyhood idol...okay maybe that was more then one word. Here's the point, no one can live up to the image a 10 year old boy creates in his head. Especially a 10 year old as "creative" as I was. It's just not going to happen.
So in 2004 when I learned that I would be co-hosting the Padres Pregame show with my boyhood idol Tim Flannery, I was both extremely excited and pretty damn nervous. Not nervous to meet him (I had already interviewed him a few times when he was the Padres 3rd base coach in 2002), but nervous to get to know him. What if he wasn't everything I had built him up to be...I mean how could he be.
It turns out I was right, he wasn't what I thought he was when I was 10 years old...he was so much more. The three years we spent co-hosting the Padres Pregame show were some of the best years I have had in TV. Working with Flan was great, and even though he was the newcomer to TV, he taught me so much about performing. But the real gem was getting to know him on a personal level. I mean not that many people even get to meet their boyhood idol, let alone become friends with them.
I get to do a lot of cool things because of my job...but that was easily the coolest.