I’m probably the least sports savvy male I know. In fact I know less about sports than most women I know. But I value every time I got to meet Andy. I knew him as a beer lover, not really as a sports announcer. Andy was an investor and a semi regular customer at Dock Street when I was bartending there and scrubbing floors in the brewery. Occasionally my tip would include his giveaway seats for a game.
Andy was always friendly when he came in, and always had time to chat. It was a hobby of his to visit breweries whenever he travelled, and on our first conversation he had visited well over 100. He was excited about the new one that had just opened up in New England that he planned to visit that weekend.
I enjoyed talking to Andy not because of his celebrity or professional sports status, but in spite of it. Dock St was next door to the Four Seasons hotel and as a result we had more than our share of actors, athletes and other celebrities grace our bar. Many made you feel like they were doing you a favor by answering your questions, even if the questions were akin to “how’s your beer?” Some of them were nice, but you still knew that their pleasantries were little more than public relations. There were of course exceptions, some of them (Gary Maddox for one) were genuinely friendly people.
Andy was more genuine than most. His fame to ego ratio was way out of calibration. He was not just polite, but interested. He seemed genuinely happy for me when I mentioned I was about to start working more in the brewery.
Any time I ran into Andy outside of Dock St, I’d go say “hi” and reintroduce myself. I knew he didn’t know my name, but when I’d say “I’m Chris from Dock St” he’d always respond by saying “of course, how are you?” shaking my hand and looking me straight in the eye with a big smile. He always had a short minute to chat after that and never gave me the impression that he was on the clock.
I haven’t seen Andy in years, the last time was probably at an Anchor promotion or beer festival somewhere. But I can honestly say I’m going to miss him. I’ll miss running into him here and there, and I’ll miss having him as a representative of our city in a world where celebrities are often in the news for their crimes and misbehavior.
So long Andy, Philadelphia just got a little less classy.