As I sat down to jot down this Saturday morning, I stared at my pc display not figuring out the place to start out.
George “Dr. B” Baljevich was such an iconic determine in Pleasanton that domestically he was each bit as well-known as John Madden. So, writing about Dr. B, who handed away on the age of 84 on Thursday (Might 12) was a frightening job.
Then it got here to me — head to downtown Pleasanton, the place Baljevich was typically seen. And the placement to start out was apparent: Vic’s All Star Kitchen, a widely known breakfast and lunch spot the place he had a menu merchandise named after him.
As I loved my “Dr. B” omelet — Linguisa and cheese — ideas and reminiscences got here flooding again to me. I began telling tales to my spouse, then to Vic’s proprietor Laura Castro, who stopped by to speak about Dr. B.
In so some ways, Dr. B, who used the nickname as a result of his final title was too powerful to pronounce for some, was Pleasanton. He was all the time round city and was fast to go to with anybody that approached, treating every individual as a longtime pal.
You acknowledged George immediately whenever you walked into a neighborhood eating institution or espresso store. You additionally noticed George driving that crimson Volkswagen round city.
He was so many alternative issues to folks (pal, mentor, former trainer and colleague) that when you speak to 10 folks, you may doubtless get 10 totally different tales referring to 10 totally different subjects.
Dr. B wasn’t only a sports activities character. He was there to assist others with life points as effectively. There are numerous tales as to how he helped folks via powerful instances. George was instrumental in so many individuals’s lives, and it has been superior to listen to a few of these tales.
For me, it was pal, mentor and colleague, and being associates with George was simply an important.
Right here is one instance of the kind of individual George was. When my dad was sick — he handed away in August 2021 — he spent a while within the Pleasanton Nursing and Rehabilitation Middle. George would repeatedly cease by to say hello. He did not know my dad, however they each knew of one another and when George was visiting different residents of the middle, he would make a degree of stopping by to test on my dad.
It meant lots to each my mother and father and me.
I problem anybody to seek out somebody that has a nasty opinion of George.
You will not. It is unattainable.
You could not run into George with out getting a smile in your face.
Since his passing I’ve been considering of all the good reminiscences however have additionally cherished studying all of the posts on social media recounting the reminiscences of others.
There have been tales about his educating days, teaching and media character, however largely it was nearly how nice an individual George was.
Outdoors of being a pal, my reminiscences have been based by the point we spent as colleagues.
For a number of years it was an honor to sit down alongside George and Ian Bartholomew on “Tri-Valley Sports activities Last” on native TV 30. The enjoyable we had filming the collection about native sports activities — largely highschool, with youth sports activities thrown in in the course of the summer season months — is one thing I’ll always remember.
If the outtakes ever surfaced from all of the exhibits we taped, it might promote sufficient copies to finance the present model of the present. Each present drove us to tears whereas filming from laughing so laborious.
Many a Friday afternoon I’d stroll out to the automotive with pains from laughing and I could not wait to get again to the newspaper workplace to share the tales with my co-workers.
Each present we’d attempt to deliberately make one another snicker whereas filming, and we might normally give you a phrase we needed to discover a strategy to get into the present.
When that phrase was uttered, “minimize” was normally known as out by the director because the laughing bought to be an excessive amount of.
A number of instances my household and associates had viewing events to observe the present so I might inform the behind the scenes tales of the taping.
It was the start of Sports activities Last and was simply the glory years of this system. Together with George’s child, “Let’s Discuss Sports activities,” these have been the 2 go to exhibits for the native sports activities neighborhood. We began getting guests that might present up simply to observe the taping. I do know the employees within the management room regarded ahead to the leisure every week.
At instances my youngsters would come down and every time they did, George would give them a sports activities buying and selling card — one among his emblems – together with a narrative concerning the athlete.
Initially I assumed my youngsters got here right down to see their dad tape a TV present, however then realized they needed to see George and get a card.
He meant that a lot to folks, younger and previous.
I departed from the present a yr after I left the each day newspaper enterprise and far the identical as newspaper protection, native sports activities protection took successful.
After George was unbelievably proven the door by the station and “Let’s Discuss Sports activities” was taken off the air, the character of the station went with him.
That is as a result of George was the character of Tri-Valley Group Tv.
These near George knew how a lot shedding the present meant. It devastated him.
Whereas Bartholomew might be the toughest working man I’ve recognized and has fought to maintain highschool and native sports activities within the information, you lose an asset like Dr. B, and you will lose numerous life from the station.
Aside from an occasional native highschool soccer sport, brilliantly introduced by Bartholomew, I by no means watch Channel 30 anymore.
You may’t exchange a character like Dr. B.
Folks have talked about to me a number of instances that George’s legacy must be remembered by cementing a tribute to the person.
Some have instructed naming a road or a sports activities facility after him. I’m working with the Alameda County Honest to have a race named in honor of George, as he typically interviewed me on the monitor every year when the truthful got here to city.
However the one thought I had is one that can doubtless by no means come to fruition. I advised my spouse that they need to title the Museum on Primary after George. Merely, George was a museum when it got here to sports activities information, and he was repeatedly seen on Primary Road. And he definitely is a treasured reminiscence of Pleasanton.
An ideal match, however one that can by no means occur.
I’d like to see one of many First Saturdays on Primary Road declared “Dr. B Day,” together with a banner hanging from the Pleasanton arch.
For many who had the privilege to have our lives enriched by figuring out George, we do not want a monument to recollect Dr. B — our reminiscences will stick with us for the remainder of our lives.
However he deserves, and actually is owed by the town of Pleasanton, a tribute.
And when our time on Earth ends, we’ll look ahead to reconnecting with Dr. B and the common laughs will return, as a substitute of simply the reminiscences.
Godspeed George and till we meet once more.
Providers for Dr. B are set for Saturday, Might 28 at 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pleasanton. For people who attend the service, there will likely be a celebration of life instantly following. Particulars will likely be launched on the service.
Editor’s word: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports activities author for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, e-mail [email protected]