Sunday, January 02, 2011

When in doubt, make that call

Every year since Steve Repko left The Oakland Press because of serious illness, I made it a point to call him on Christmas Eve.

I was going to this past holiday season, too, but I worked that night relatively late and forgot to make the call.

The best copy editor I ever worked with, and a tremendous baseball writer as well, passed away a few days later.

I hadn't talked to him for several months. It had been awhile since I had told him how much we missed him at the paper, and how much I respected him.

If only I had made that call...

Steve's death came a couple days after former Tigers general manager Bill Lajoie died. Of all the people I have been associated with in sports, I liked and respected Lajoie the most. He had the greatest baseball mind I've ever encountered. He took me under his wing when I was a young baseball writer and literally made my career by teaching me so much about the game.

He wrote a book a year or so ago and sent me a signed copy. It was on my plate to write about the book, and to give him a long overdue call - and thank him for all he'd done for me.

I got "too busy" and never made that call.

If only I had made that call...

Thing is, I had no excuse. I had a similar feeling earlier in 2010 when Jody Headlee, a dear friend of mine at The Oakland Press, and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson died. These were also people who had a profound impact on my life.

And I never made that call.

We should never be too busy to stop and understand all we have to be grateful for - especially the precious few who have been true friends and mentors.

I failed miserably in this regard - and feel terrible about it.

I wished I could call Steve and Bill today so they could find it in their hearts to forgive me.



Blogger Fred Brill said...

Good advice for sure Pat, I am sorry that it's a lesson learned.

Life is full of would-a-could-a-should-a's - I bet you had already let both persons know how you felt.

Still I wish you a happy new year.

PS - World Juniors tonight - US vs. Canada

8:39 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, this is one of the best articles I have read the last couple of years. No worries Pat, they knew how you feel as but showing appreciation also scores well. No matter what side of the street a person chooses to walk , as both sides of the street are very similar, is that we learn from each other. That is why we are here. What you wrote is one of the trait marks a person must learned as both sides will agreed with that. Work and play hard and learn.

12:28 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Same to you, Fred. It was interesting Russia got into the finals and won WJC this year, but they were more interesting after even than during it.

3:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thanks, Barry. Just sometimes we all get so busy that we forget to do the things that are ultimately the most important. Just trying to remind people to avoid the same pratfall I hit.

3:03 PM 

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