Buckeye by Birth, Floridian by Choice

By on June 24, 2011

 By: Darrell House

It was the first week of January, 1975, when I made my move to Florida. It was snowing and there was a bitter cold as I crossed the Ohio River on the bridge leading from Cincinnati to Kentucky and on to The Sunshine State. I’m a musician by trade, my band had just broken up, and I needed to get the hell out o’ Dodge.  There is an old saying around the Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan corridor. It has to do with “The Three R’s”. Reading, rite’in and Route 75 to Florida. Anyway… I was on my way.

For me, the highlight sports story in 1975 was the World Series matchup of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine and The Boston Red Sox. When I first arrived in Fort Lauderdale, it just so happened that my first group of friends were all New Englanders; Milton, Mass., West Haven, Ct., Albany, NY. All Red Sox fans as you can imagine. I was the lone Cinc’y fan, and you can believe, as the series progressed,  they made life tough for me.  To make matters worse, we all worked together in a bar called Patrick’s Pub.

Of course I was confident as to the outcome. Who was gonna beat Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey, Tony Perez and Pete Rose? Let’s not forget the genius that was Sparky Anderson. Tiant, Yaz, Bill Lee, Fisk, Petrocelli, Burleson and the other BoSox were great players, but the Reds were on a roll. It’s no wonder many consider this the second best World Series Ever, and there are many who would argue it was the best, period.

So you may well remember, it all came down to the seventh game in Boston where the Big Red Machine “Got ‘er done” in the ninth inning and took home all the marbles.

I was playing guitar that night at Patrick’s and my friends were all being pretty obnoxious as to the outcome of the game. Well, because there were several of them and just one of me, I did my best to give as good as I got, and I guess you might say there were moments I went a little overboard with my enthusiasm.

Right after the Reds closed out the victory and were crowned World Champions, and while I was still on stage having a spirited argument with the bartender at one end of the bar, the waitress, Rotten Rose, came from the other end, blindsided me, and hit me square in the face with a Boston Crème Pie.

I’ve been in Florida for 36 years now. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, and I have my favorite Florida sports teams; college and pro. You could probably guess who they are, but I still have a soft spot in my heart and my head for The Cincinnati Reds and the players who made up that amazing team way back when. One player always captured my imagination. He is the most controversial of all of them. Pete Rose. I have made my opinion clear over the years that he should be judged on what he accomplished on the field, not what he did off of it. I even wrote and recorded a song called “Pete Ain’t in the Hall.” The theme of the song is pretty much that “Cooperstown don’t mean nothin’, if Pete Ain’t in the Hall.” I think he belongs in the MLB Hall of Fame and no amount of arguing will change my mind. If you disagree, I’m OK with that.  To each his own… that’s what I always say.

I’ve spent some great times in Tampa during the last 30+ years. I especially like Ybor City. But mothers, hide your daughters cause the Cincinnati Reds are coming to town to play the Rays. Good luck to the team and their fans, but be prepared to take a thumping from the bats from Cincinnati.

 Link to Pete Ain’t in the Hall                           www.darrellhouse.com                                    www.sonicbids.com/darrellhouse                                      www.bolognabrain.com

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