Andrew Luria wrestled with the packing tape, ripped open the box and who says Christmas doesn’t come early?
“When it finally arrived,” Luria said, “it was pretty cool.”
Luria’s wish list was singular and 14 years long.
His regular gig is as a Fox 5 San Diego news anchor. His side hustle is as author of the just-released “The Adventures of Charlie Marley: Midnight’s Moment in Time.”
The book he started in 2006 is written for kids, and really, Luria is a big kid himself. While he’s smooth reading the headlines, Luria’s background is sports.
The same goes for his three children, who are involved in football, basketball, soccer, baseball and anything else that is in season.
Luria also coaches his youngsters. He might carry his fresh book to distribute at the next practice, in additional to his whistle.
The tale is about children returning in time to relive some of sports’ grandest moments. It mixes make-believe with facts that revolve around milestone events that Luria wants this generation to embrace.
“When I was 26, I had a goal that I wanted to write a book,” said Luria, who played baseball and football at Cornell University. “But I didn’t know anything about it.”
He possessed a journalistic flair, a strong imagination and the patience of Job.
While climbing California’s TV news ladder in Eureka, Santa Maria and Sacramento — and a stint in Tampa — he landed in America’s Finest City with America’s longest case of writer’s block.
Actually, once Luria started typing, he raced around the keyboard like the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr., going from first to third.
“It was 1,000 pages long,” Luria said.
Like a good quarterback leaning on a strong running game, Luria required a keen editor to complement his exuberance. The book went from the heft of “War and Peace” to something more manageable for adults and kids.
“We got it down to six events and we will use the other 10 in a future book,” Luria said.
The characters, many of whom are named after Luria’s childhood pets and places he lived in the Washington, D.C., area, are engaging and curious.
Those crowning Luria, 41, as an overnight success must acknowledge reality.
“I started this before we had kids and it’s crazy that the oldest is now 12,” Luria said.
Luria’s love of sports hails from his father, Jon, who was active and attended the University of North Carolina.
Nothing was finer for the younger Luria than watching sports reports delivered by George Michael or reading Tony Kornheiser in the Washington Post. Plus, his uncle, Steve Buckhantz, was the voice of the Washington Wizards for 22 years.
“In the eighth grade I knew broadcasting was something that I wanted to do,” Luria said.
Luria was a baseball player, first, until his body revolted. While in a Santa Barbara semipro league, with future Padres pitcher James Shields as a teammate, Luria turned his interests toward the microphone.
His resume now reveals him as a veteran newscaster and a rookie author.
“My hope is for my kids to consume it, that they will like it and share it with their friends,” Luria said. “That way they can learn about Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Mary Lou Retton and sports history.”
Luria’s passion burns for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington’s NFL team, a squad that reached three Super Bowls during Luria’s youth thanks to rosters constructed by Bobby Beathard, the former Chargers general manager and Leucadia resident.
Luria’s favorite athlete? Baltimore’s Cal Ripken Jr., who played in a record 2,632 games over 16 years, which is just two years longer than it took publish “Charlie Marley.”
Luria’s book went from a dream to his doorstep, the mark of someone like Ripken, who’s not shy about persevering.
“That is insane,” Luria said. “That’s why it is so exciting to finally see it in print.”