Yeah, got the impulse to write a few words about a very very dear friend and my daughter’s second husband, Chris Cummings.
She’d said to meet them at the Ballpark and they’d get me in for a tour.
OK, so I went to the park and got in line with the people waiting for a tour and the chick magnet car starts honking at me and I don’t want to lose my place in line but my daughter is laughing and beckoning me over to them.
"Not there !"
"Let us get parked and come with us."
What line to wait in now ??
Well, no line.
We just walked right past all of the Security and on up to the Giants offices and booths and the entire shit parade complete with the Commissioner of Baseball whose name I forget …
He was there and everyone shook his hand and bullshitted with him and got their pics and he nodded at me but he was the mgmt rep for billionaire capitalists and the hair stood up on both our necks as we passed and kinda nodded at one another and I went to take a piss.
I got a urinal in between Chris and Larry Baer who’d been sucking up to Chris when he realized that my Son 2 to be was Majority Owner of the host stadium of their Triple A team and had poured millions into making it the best ballpark in the Minors.
And, Chris also was Majority owner in the Fresno Minor League Soccer team too.
And, since he was from New England he went ahead and bought Majority interest in the Fresno Mino League Hockey Team.
He’d bid 850 million for the Red Sox with Mitt Romney, his partner in some Real Estate ventures who put in 350 million.
And, I’m just glad to have an SRO in the Tenderloin.
My daughter had gone from my magnificent Son 1, Kudzai Nyandoro whom she met under the Victoria Falls when she was on a Tourists Boat and he was a native Rescue Kayaker paddling around them chasing off crocodiles and hippos.
"Hippos are the most dangerous."
That’s what Kudzai said.
But, my Son-in-law-One is both a wonderful and another story.
I was talking about my buddy, Chris Cummings.
As I think back on his life that I shared when I sat their fabulous Condo in the complex that Chris owned with the enormous pool and hot tub for the Minor League players of all the different sports who filled many of the units.
Once, the Cohens’ daughter, Aimee brought her entire Hawaii or Sonoma State, I forget which, Soccer Team to town and Chris was able to put them All up and the pool and hot tub were busy.
My memories of Chris are like being just short of Heaven and having him as an Angel already, filling my own unwritten Bucket List.
He took me to the Giants Training Camp with my daughter and the Cohens for a week I think it was in 2010.
I don’t know if you remember 2010 but it was the best of the Three.
Chris always had the best tickets for me and the Cohens.
One game playoffs to the World Series and everything between.
And, when they travelled to Hong Kong to hang with his brother, Bill who was Head of Chevron or Exon or one of those ‘ons’ for the entire Pacific Theatre and owned enuff land around Fresno to be the cash behind the biggest herb farm in the World or something.
I’d stay in their Condo and all the people thought I was the owner and Chris and Mona left me a dozen or so Liter bottles of the cheap bourbon I loved and one gray haired guy looks the same as another to young people and I got to go hang in the owner’s box with adjoining office.
I watched their 170 pound English Mastif too and ask Posey and Bumgarner what it was like having the dog run around and in between them when they were working out.
Got to walk around on the field and was actually afraid to talk to these guys cause I knew then in my heart that Posey and Bumgarner were going to the Hall of Fame and here they were stuck in Fresno and I screamed at everyone and wrote in my own columns …
"Where;s Buster !!"
Sean Elsbernd, who was Tony Hall’s Chief of Staff said:
"Naw, h., first they have to trade (forgot catcher’s name)"
He was right and they made the trade and here came the Bum and then they sent him back and he cried and I loved him and Buster, the two farm boys athlete’s and Bum even road dirt cycles and competed in rodios under an alias back home.
Yeah, I sat about ten feet and was the only fan in the stadium as some old catcher with gray hair warmed up Madison along the Right Field Relief Pitcher mound.
Met the announcer whose name I also forget and told him he was one of the best I ever heard and his dad was the Giants announcer for years and he was and is just as good.
"You must have not heard many announcers."
He’s talking to me in between pitches and it was like in a dream.
Here I was in the Announcer’s Booth talking to the Pro Announcer …
In between pitches !!
I replied and knocked him dead and made a friend for life I think.
Gave him my credentials …
"When I was a teenager in St. Louis the Cardinals had Harry Carey and Jack Buck and Joe Garagiola all in the Announcers booth at once and so I know what a good announcer sounds like."
He was floored.
Came to my SRO in the Tenderloin when the Grizzlies had somethingorother or whatever.
I did the best to match my experience in his Announcer’s Booth.
Took him to the Election Ceremonies for the New BOS prez and we sat in the Press Box.
Supervisor Elsbernd, by then and my buddy always, Sean Elsbernd came over and paid a Tribute to the kid and I wish I could remember his name.
"We went to baseball camp together back in xxxx? do you remember me ?"
Announcer replied like Sergeant Friday which is how he talks all the time …
"No, I don’t"
Shit, he cudda lied.
No place in politics for this kid.
He was on Chris’ personal payroll.
When my Son 1 heard the head groundskeeper cursing the workers he put up with it for awhile then being the genius he was, he noted that one of the Mexican workers was actually the guy who knew everything and guided the other workers …
Chris warned the Groundskeeper.
Next time he fired him and called the guy who really ran the crew over to tell him that he was doubling his salary and he was the New Groundskeeper and was smiling and shaking his hand and feeling really good and one of his (Chris’) staff came over and said:
"He didn’t understand a word you said."
"He doesn’t speak English and they had to tell him after you left that he was their new boss."
Chris did things like that all the time.
Worked his ass off too.
Always had at least one or two projects going with his partners.
They’d bid on projects that went bankrupt ‘in medius re’ or ‘in the middle of things’ and Chris would complete them and they’d sell them off by the thousands I guess cause one project outside Atlanta I think it was came in at something like 2,300 units and he took two years to complete and commuted between there and Fresno and San Francisco and Boston and Hong Kong.
While I sipped his bourbon and slept on the couch with the dog under the giant screen TV.
He gave me an opportunity to get rich or near it once.
Finder’s Fee for directing he and his partners to my Favorite California Broker who could handle the several thousand foreclosed homes they’d won bid on in the Liars Loans era.
I fucked it up.
Went to two most powerful people I knew for advice.
Angela and Matt.
Neither really understood tho I did get Matt and Chris together on a phone call from a Tiki Bar in Fresno where we were drinking pitchers of Margaritas with Mona and often as not, the Cohens and Luke Thomas and Doug MacAbee.
When we were in Arizona for the Giants and they had days off we took one another to our favorite local hangouts.
He took me to the last remaining Stage Coach Stop.
Out in the fucking desert !!
And, mother fucker is really big and still has the corral and stables have been made into the bar there must have been 300 people there getting fucked up and that’s some memory and thank you, Chris.
To return the Favor as I did with the Announcer Major League Talent kid …
I got em to drive a couple of hundred miles to Jerome.
Ever been to Jerome, Arizona ??
Talk about up in the hills.
Got a big sign at the bottom of the mountain full of copper that says:
ROAD CLOSED FOR SNOW
Then, it has a date which varies but they do get snowed in.
Jerome is like a trip back to the Wild West but the sets are real.
Just a few hundred people even when we were there in 2010 and it was about the same when I’d discovered the place by accident trying to find a short cut to San Francisco from Denver or something.
I used to drive all over the United States in some very nice ‘Drive Away’ cars.
I’d just walk into the Agency in San Francisco and they’d ask:
"Where you wanna go this time, h.?"
I’d usually answer the same …
Did that a lot but that’s another story.
Jerome still has the mines and all of the hundred and something year old rusty machines and railroad rails and a jail and Miss Kitty’s Saloon if ever I did see one complete with the staircase and the rooms upstairs.
Yeah, Chris Cummings was my friend.
He and Mona raised my grandkids for 11 years.
Always, along with their natural father, Kudzai and his wife, Chaz who is also from Zimbabwe and a nurse.
Chris had 5 World Series rings I think.
He got 3 with the Giants for being majority owner of the Grizzlies.
When Giants split for Sacramento, Houston’s’ Triple A club became the new Grizzlies and promptly the Parent Major League Astros won my boy yet another World Series Ring and for all of them he sent me boxes of quality replicas (208 I think at last count) …
I scattered them all over the City.
Don’t have single one left.
Last one for Houston had huge ‘H’ atop and was Special.
They were all Special and so was Chris.
May he have as much fun in Heaven as he had here.
Took him out for his ‘Bachelor Party’ when he married Mona and we went to strip clubs with Luke and Daniel and what’s name of guy who owned the Independent and was on Small Business Commission.
Mike, I think.
Anyway, turned out Mike was looking at a place in downtown Fresno to open another club and …
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