by Rich Klein
It was an absolutely staggering week, beginning with the horrendous bombings in Boston and including the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. As a long-time Yankee fan, even I was rooting for the Red Sox on their Saturday afternoon game against the Royals and Daniel Nava now joins Mike Piazza as players hitting incredibly clutch game winning homers in an emotional game. By the way. if tears did not come to your eyes watching either the pre-game ceremony or Neil Diamond leading the crowd in Sweet Caroline, I have serious doubts about whether you have any emotions. What a powerful day that was.
Some people believe things happen in threes and as for me, the third incident occurred late Friday night. About 3 a.m., I was shaken by a very loud noise which sounded like gun fire. Having grown up in the New York Metropolitan area, the first instinct is to stay inside and wait for an all-clear. So, although my nerves were a little frayed, I was about ready to go back to sleep when I heard a very loud knock on my door and saw lots of lights outside.
At that point, there were three police cars outside my residence and by the time I got outside there were now five cars outside. What had occurred was the police had seen a person driving with significant damage to their car and pulled him over. From what they informed me, they had him safely and he had admitted to them that he had played bumper cars with my car parked legally right by the curb. Needless to say, that whole incident was a bit shocking plus I was supposed to go to work that morning (which obviously did not happen so I could pick up a rental and have the car towed to the body shop). In fact the only part of my planned activities for Saturday I did get to was my wife’s birthday party. After that I wanted to take the day off from driving as much as possible until Sunday to get used to the new car and also get some rest.
By the way, I dealt with some really great people at State Farm and some people for whom mediocrity would be a major accomplishment. One woman even called me ma’am three times at which point I basically told her to listen to people’s names and voices and not with an inside voice either. Fortunately, the claims rep I spoke to was dead on, realized I was correct about the hours of the body shop and also helped to arrange my rental car and come up with the best way to reduce my out of pocket costs. Amazingly while I was on the phone with State Farm, a nice gentleman came up and said “That was my car which hit yours”. He was the father of the daughter who had hit my car. He spoke to the claims rep and explained what happened and within about five hours for a hit and run accident we had a complete picture for the whole story.
Is there a connection with baseball cards here somewhere? Well, when I invited the officers into the house, I mentioned this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened to me. You see, back in the day, at one of the old Willow Grove shows, a young lady who was driving her drunk boyfriend home plowed into my dad’s SUV. And how did she do that? She had never driven a stick before and I will assure you that midnight is not the best time to learn. This was one of the trips I was doing for Baseball Hobby News and BHN sent their advertising director Walt Crowell to the show. Since Walt was on West Coast time, he was wide awake and explained to me. ‘You better get up right now”. My first thought was, well it’s hit – we’ll see it in the morning. But instead we got the full story that evening and although the people did not have the proper insurance a couple of friendly but firm letters from my good friend and attorney Mel Solomon took care of any and all of the monies needed.
Now 25 years later, I wonder how lucky we are to have so few accidents as baseball card collectors and dealers on the way to shows and auctions. I remember one Friday Night on the way to an auction where I was a little too close to the person in front of me, hit the brakes and did at 180 on the grass by the side of the road. The grassy area I spun around in was the only grassy area for miles and I did feel fortunate that evening that all I did was eventually get the car back facing the correct way and drove to the auction just a little emotionally shook up but none the worse for wear. And both times I was very fortunate in these drunk driving incidents no physical damage was done just some structural wear and tear on my car.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]