Christmas sighting: Nick Johnson

Life can be oddly serendipitous sometimes.

I’ve been kicking around the idea recently of writing an entry here about Nick Johnson. The 31-year-old signed a $5.75 million one-year contract on Wednesday to rejoin the team that drafted him, the New York Yankees and be their designated hitter. Moreover, we graduated from the same high school, C.K. McClatchy in Sacramento, as did his uncle, Larry Bowa. Last I heard, Johnson is even married to the sister of a girl I grew up with. Come to think of it, Johnson’s wife once babysat my sister and me years and years ago. She put us to bed early on a Saturday night and proceeded to sit in my parents’ kitchen with one of her friends and make phone calls. She wasn’t asked back.

I wouldn’t call myself a Johnson expert. I’ve never met the guy, as he graduated before I hit high school. I talked to some people, years ago, who watched him hit towering shots in practice at McClatchy, and I remember seeing a news story about him taped up in the locker room my freshman or sophomore year when he was tearing up the minors for the Yankees. All things considered, I probably don’t know that much more than the average good Yankee fan.

It’s worth noting, though, that Johnson’s mother-in-law is close friends with the mother of one of my best friends. Knowing I was a huge baseball fan, my friend’s mom used to feed me tidbits about Johnson: He was depressed about being traded from the Yankees to the Montreal Expos; a few years ago, he was thinking about signing with the San Diego Padres to be closer to home; he had a big new house in Sacramento and a kid on the way with his wife. I think I tried to request an interview with Johnson through my friend’s mom some years back, but nothing ever came of it.

One of my goals for 2010 is to get a press pass, with my site, for an Oakland Athletics or San Francisco Giants game. On this note, I got to thinking today, while over at my grandmother’s house in Sacramento for Christmas, that I should attempt to interview Johnson the next time the Yankees plays the A’s. I even mentioned something about this to my mom.

Well, about an hour later, my parents and I were at a stoplight on our way home, and I spotted Johnson. He was getting out of a cream Cadillac Escalade at a gas station not far from my parents’ home. I started to get out of the car to go approach him about an interview for here, but my parents stopped me. I’ll have to mention it if I ever do interview him.

2 Replies to “Christmas sighting: Nick Johnson”

  1. Grahm, I read your blog and it’s great! Maybe you can interview some other past local MLB greats like Steve and Dave Sax, Dusty Baker, Geno Petralli and F.P. Santangelo. I would be interested in catching up with their lives and the impact professional baseball had on their careers after baseball (the exception is Dusty). Finally, there is a local star now in the majors who would be a good catch as an interview, Dustin Pedroia. What about a MLB 10 Best from Sacramento? Keep up the good work.

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