OPEN UP THOSE GOLDEN GATES…
Saturdays’ edition of “PawSox Insider” had a definite San Francisco flavor to it. We were joined by Dave Flemming, former PawSox broadaster, now in his seventh season with the Giants and Don Nava, northern Californian and father of Red Sox outfielder, Daniel Nava.
Flemming was my predecessor with Pawtucket, working three seasons with Andy Freed in the radio booth. He now teams with his childhood hero, Jon Miller. Flemming used to listen to his Baltimore broadcasts as a boy. Flemming told us that McCoy Stadium was the perfect place to prepare for his current job. “Nothing gets you ready for Major League Baseball like Pawtucket. If not for Ben (Mondor), Mike (Tamburro), Lou (Schwechheimer) and everyone else at McCoy, there’s no way I’d be able to do what I am doing.” Flemming added- “Doing the PawSox games is the closest thing you can get to Big League baseball.” When asked if there was a “dream job” out there with his name on it, he was effusive in his praise for San Francisco and the Giants’ organization, likening it to “Boston West”.
Flemming also serves as radio broadcaster for his alma mater, Stanford during football and basketball seasons. As a young freshman in Palo Alto, he was dorm mates with another 18 year old named Tiger Woods. “He was a very serious and smart young guy. His work ethic and effort was unmatched.” Flemming added that he and Woods don’t stay in touch regularly, but Tiger did pop into the booth to say Hello and take a quick trip down memory lane, last football season.” When we asked if there was any inkling that the golf “nerd” would eventually run into the trouble he’s in these days, Dave joked “We were only involved in good, clean fun!”
The second part of the program was devoted to Don Nava. Clearly on “cloud nine” after all that’s happened the last two weeks to his son, Nava proudly spoke of Daniels’ accomplishments. “Daniels’ dream as a boy was to play outfield for the Giants. We were always a Giants’ family. We grew up with Mays and McCovey in the sixties. When I looked out into leftfield Friday night, I asked my brother if that was really my kid playing left field for Boston.”
Nava recalled the moment at Fenway when his son stepped into the batters box for the first time, facing Phillies righty, Joe Blanton. Daniel Nava came up with the bases loaded, prompting the elder Nava to go into prayer. “Please God, I’ll be a missionary in Antarctica, tell me what you want from me.” Navas’ prayers were answered as the first pitch sailed into the Boston bullpen, caught by Manny Delcarmen. “I’d have been thrilled with a sacrifice fly….but a Grand Slam!!” Father, Don admitted breaking down. “There was joy, tears, emotion. Unbelievable!”
The elder Nava concedes that there have been “several” movie offers for his sons’ story. He says that would inspire people, young and old. Fathers and mothers have approached him to tell the “Daniel Nava Story” to their children who may be ready to give up on something.
While one of Daniel Nava’s dreams has come true, playing Major League Baseball, another still has gone unmet. “Daniel hasn’t met Erin Andrews yet. As far as I know!” The ESPN heartthrob promised to show up at Fenway Park to meet the the young outfielder. So far, hasn’t happened. Knowing Nava and his persistence, it will.