One sports journalist called Pedro Gomez “a good guy.” Another described how the news reports of Gomez’s untimely death ruined his Super Bowl Sunday.
Another reporter, Howard Bryant, told the story of filling in for the regular beat writer while at the Oakland Tribune, when Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa went off on a tirade on him for an erroneous headline that he had nothing to do with writing, and how Pedro Gomez, who worked at competing paper, stood up for him.
“This was the kind of person he was. A room full of vets watched a rookie reporter get savaged by a Hall of Fame manager and one stood up,” Bryant wrote on his Twitter feed.
The reporters and many others were talking about ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez, who had worked at the network since 2003 and died unexpectedly Sunday at the age of 58. Gomez, who was based in Phoenix, covered baseball for SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and other ESPN studio shows and had covered more than 25 World Series and more than 20 All-Star Games.
Not your run of the mill life
I never met Gomez and really only saw him a few times on TV, but I’ve been caught up by all the reports on his death. People usually say nice things about someone when they die. They talk about how nice they were, how they showed kindness in their lives. Surviving friends and family recall past stories. No one says they hated the deceased. They may even tell a funny joke or story. The tributes to Gomez and how he treated others, though, go above and beyond.
The people who knew Gomez describe someone kind and down-to-earth, someone that you want to grab a coffee with or get together for a beer and a chat on the back deck. They describe someone that you want to commute with to work or trade stories about your kids over the water cooler. They describe a cherished friend and confidant. They describe someone that, when he or she calls you on your cell phone, you look down at the number and instantly get excited. “Oh, it’s Jimmy or Debbie,” someone that you’ve been waiting to catch up with on the latest events. Someone you wouldn’t think of sending the call to voice mail.
How will we be remembered?
The stories about Gomez mixed with the Covid craziness got me thinking a lot over the weekend about how we live our lives and the preciousness of life. We’re here one minute and gone the next. We have no control. We can only live from minute-to-minute and work each day to treat others like we would want to be treated: with love, kindness, and compassion.
“I’m amazed by the tributes describing him (Gomez),” fellow ESPN reporter Ed Werder wrote. “We should all aspire to be talked about that way. If we all accomplished that goal, we would live better lives.”
Yes, I’m not sure how people will talk about me one day, but I certainly hope people will speak about me the way they’ve been talking about Gomez, the friend everyone wanted to have.
If we needed another reminder, the lesson remains the same: live is short, make it count.