Archive for the ‘Tom Griffin’ Category


Tom Griffin

June 9, 2010

Has Tom Griffin ever been mellow? It would appear so. Today I offer apparently mellow southern Californian Tom Griffin as a little mellow prayer for smooth passage today to California. I’m headed to the airport shortly and if all goes smooth and mellow I’ll be seeing a game in Dodger Stadium tonight for the first time in my life.

So why not feature a Dodger today? Well, for one thing, I didn’t want to leave the Angels out of my embrace of all matters baseball in that sunny region. Also, after a couple days in Los Angeles, I’ll be headed down to San Diego, where Griffin toiled for a couple years just after several years with the Astros and just before joining the Angels.

Griffin was born in Los Angeles and attended Grant High School (where he must have been a superstar—his showing there got him taken fourth in the first round of the 1966 MLB draft) in Van Nuys, California.

Van Nuys has been a place of some mystery for me lately, as it is the core of an enigmatic utterance by Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. The boys have just made their getaway from their parents in the customized van, and someone has asked Kelly if he “really knows how to drive this thing.” I don’t have time to check Kelly’s exact reply, but I believe all he says is, “Relax, I’m from Van Nuys.”

What the hell does this mean? I’m not sure, but the implication seems to be that in Van Nuys it is customary for a newborn baby to drive itself home from the maternity ward. If this is the case, I am from the opposite of Van Nuys, in that I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 30, and only then with great reluctance and trepidation, and even now after over a decade of tense-shouldered practice behind the wheel, I’m still generally terrified in the driver’s seat.

And yet, later today, after picking up my rental from Thrifty, I will be grappling with Los Angeles traffic, which in American mythology is to traffic what Moby Dick is to creatures of the sea.

But if all somehow goes smooth and mellow and Tom Griffin-y, and maybe if I can channel my inner Kelly Leak and pretend I’m from Van Nuys, I’ll be watching a Dodger game tonight and tomorrow will be doing the first of a couple Southern California appearances for my book. Below are the details on those appearances. Hope to see you there.

Baseball Reliquary, South Pasadena Public Library Community Room, 1115 El Centro St., South Pasadena, CA
Author appearance, reading and book signing.
Free and open to the public.
For more info call: 626.791.7647

Upstart Crow Bookstore, 835C West Harbor Drive, Seaport Village, San Diego, CA
Author appearance and book signing.
Free and open to the public.
For more info call: 619.232.4855