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Monday, April 10, 2006

Why Awards Should Only Be Given Posthumously 

Who could have predicted 30 years ago that this article would be written someday?

On a June day in 2003, Paige Bilbrey was on the phone frantically trying to reach her boss, former Los Angeles Dodger great Steve Garvey, at Le Parc Hotel in Paris, where he was attending the French Open tennis tournament.

The matter couldn't wait: Standing in the lobby of Garvey's hilltop mansion outside Park City, Utah, was an employee of the local power company. Pay the overdue bill, the man said, or he'd turn off the lights....

[R]ecords show that the Garveys have made a habit of dodging payments on almost every type of expense. Phone, gas and electric bills have been delinquent. Checks to the local supermarket have bounced.

Fed up with not getting paid, the Garveys' pediatrician wrote a letter in March 2003 stating that any future medical services provided to their children would be on a "cash-only" basis.

Even the Garveys' church had to wait nearly a year to receive the $2,700 it was owed for items the couple had agreed to buy at a charity auction, according to documents and interviews.

And, in violation of a court ruling, Garvey unilaterally decided to cut in half the amount of child support he was ordered to pay for a son he had out of wedlock. Just last year a judge threatened to jail Garvey if he failed to make payments in the future.

Until two years ago, Garvey and his wife lived in a $5-million mansion overlooking Utah's world-renowned ski resorts. Yet despite the appearance of wealth, Garvey — under penalty of perjury — has repeatedly said in court declarations that he is deeply in debt....

[Garvey] blamed his debt on a combination of tax liabilities, financial support for most of his nine children and stepchildren and costly legal battles over business and personal affairs....

People owed money by Garvey see themselves, not Garvey, as the victims. Attorneys who have sued him, for instance, believe he has more money than he is letting on and allege that he has hidden assets.

Quipped one attorney trying to collect on a $235,000 debt owed by Garvey:

"Once a Dodger, always a dodger."...

Andrea Messier said she worked as the Garveys' nanny from December 2002 through June 2003. At first, she said, she had no trouble getting her $100 a day, for which she shuttled the Garvey children to and from after-school sporting events, practices and play dates.

But after a couple of months, she said, things changed.

"Candace would say 'talk to Steve' and Steve would say 'talk to Candace,' " Messier recalled in a telephone interview from her home in Colorado.

At one point, Messier said, she wrote checks to pay her own rent, car payment, car insurance and other bills based on a promise that she would be paid by the Garveys the next day. The promise was not kept, Messier said, and her bank account was overdrawn.

When she told Steve Garvey what had happened, he offered to pay the overdraft charges, said Messier, now 25. But not before giving her some fatherly advice.

"Steve told me you shouldn't send your bills out until you've got money in your account," Messier recalled. "I just kinda stood there and looked at him," she said.

Meanwhile, stevegarvey.com has a page called "Call to Cooperstown," but the possibility of Garvey being enshrined is about as likely as the enshrinement of another man with cash flow problems, Michael Jackson:

Steve Garvey did a number of things that would seem to earn him consideration for the Hall of Fame. Below are some of his accomplishments.

Won the 1974 NL MVP.

Broke the NL consecutive games played record, playing in 1,207 games - the third longest streak next to Gehrig and Cal Ripken at the time.

Hit .300 seven times and finished with a .294 career average with 2,599 hits.

Collected 200 hits six times in seven seasons, earning ALL-Star nods every year, including 1974 when he became the only man ever elected to start the All-Star Game as a write-in candidate. Garvey earned the MVP award in that game and later won another in the mid-summer classic.

Won four Gold Glove awards and set a ML record with his .996 fielding percentage at first base.

Set a NL record by playing 193 straight games without committing an error.

Drove in 100 runs five times, including four straight years (1977-1980).

Hit .300 or better in eight of his 11 post-season series. Hit .389 with four homers and seven RBI in the four-game 1978 NLCS win. Hit 10 home runs in the NLCS, setting a record at the time, and hit .338 with 11 homers, 31 RBI and 32 runs scored in 55 post-season contests.

Delivered several clutch post-season performances, including Game Four of the 1984 NLCS when he lifted the Padres into the fifth game. Garvey drove in five runs, including the game winner.

But Tod Goldberg put it all into perspective, describing his encounter with Steve Garvey in a restaurant:

The night wore on...when I saw Steve Garvey excuse himself from his table to visit the restroom. I made my break....

Sadly, when I got into the restroom, Garv was clearly in a stall. I knew this because the other person in the urinal line said to me “Hey, I just saw Steve Fucking Garvey walk into a stall to take a crap. Can you believe it? Steve Garvey taking a crap!”

“Yeah,” I said. “Even the great ones have to go.”...

So I waited. And waited and waited. Then, much to my surprise, Kato Kaelin walked past me and headed to the bathroom as well. Kato Kaelin and Steve Garvey in the same restroom is the kind of cosmic occurrence folks at places like The Globe and National Enquirer have to conjure up in their collective brain trusts and here I was witnessing it in present tense. Granted, it wasn’t as epic as the time I saw Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy in the same restaurant, but one man can only ask for so much serendipity.

A few moments later, Garvey and Kaelin walked out of the bathroom together in mid-sentence. I heard the words “glove” and “Bronco” and “on-base percentage” and…okay, I didn’t hear any of those words, but I heard Kato say “excuse us,” when they nearly bumped right into me. I blurted out, “You’re Steve Garvey,” because, well, that’s what I said and moved in to shake the man’s hand.

“Easy champ,” Kato said and pushed me aside, thus allowing Steve to move past me and back to his table without interference or fear of kidnapping.

And when Steve isn't hanging with his buddy Kato, he's in Palm Springs:

At 10:43 March 24, 2006, Alan wrote:

Celebrity encounter: Steve and Candace Garvey

Last night, Steve Garvey and his wife Candace were at The Gardens, to participate in a Fashion Week runway show.

But they're still talking about him at ESPN:

Steve Garvey has made the list of ESPN’s “Worst Retired Numbers” in professional baseball. The reasons, according to the sports channel’s Web site: “He only played a little over four years with the Padres, wasn’t really any good with them (.275 average), when he was good it was with the rival Dodgers, and he’s not a Hall of Famer anyway.”

Way back when, Garvey was the odd man out. But not in February 2006:

The infield that played together at Dodger Stadium for a record 8 1/2 years was back together again on Monday, sans Davey Lopes, the second baseman, who cancelled at the last minute.
They last walked off the field as a unit in their Dodgers uniform nearly 25 years ago. The Rat went first, to Oakland, leaving Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Steve Garvey to break in Steve Sax for a year. The Garv then jumped to the Padres, the Penguin to the Cubs and Ropes eventually into retirement.

"It's hard to believe that 25 years has gone by so quickly," Cey said before he and the bunch were honored with a special award by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters during their annual luncheon at the posh Lakeside Golf Club. "But it has. Where did it all go?"

The last time they were in the starting lineup together was Oct. 18, 1981, at Yankee Stadium -- in the sixth game of the World Series. Manager Tommy Lasorda, almost on instinct, penciled them in at the top of the order -- Lopes, Russell, Garvey and Cey.

"Unusual," Cey said. "It didn't happen very often. But I don't think he did it on purpose. Just a fluke."...

Garvey and Cey work in marketing for the Dodgers under owners Jamie and Frank McCourt, who see great value in tying the present to the past. Then again, the pair is a reminder of a much better time. The Dodgers captured the World Series title again in 1988. But since then, they've won just one postseason game.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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