DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

October 19, 2007

                                                           

                                      

Two Weeks Late

Being a good Ohio boy, from the Western side of the state, I grew up following the Reds. Dad could point the car south on I-75 from Lima and be at Crosley Field in say, 2 ˝ hours. For the past few years I have had framed baseball cards of Pete Rose and Johnny Bench hanging on my wall. They are packed away somewhere and I will retrieve them and hang them up.

Yes, yes, I know that Pete Rose defiled the good, pure name of American baseball when he bet on every team in baseball. But he single handedly destroyed the American Past time the old-fashioned way…without steroids, and so I still sort of love him.

Somewhere in boxes are a couple baseball cards of Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson too. Vada was the man I followed in the early 60’s. Pete was the man for me in the 70’s and 80’s. When I lived in Berkeley I got a Cincinnati Reds warm up jacket. You know, those red silk-like warm up jackets that are exactly like the real thing. I would wear it in Berkeley and San Francisco and people would shout obscenities as they drove by. They would scream epitaphs at the name of Pete Rose, all because I was wearing a Reds jacket. I loved the jacket all the more because Pete aroused such passionate hate. I had a tough time realizing why folks in the Bay Area would be yelling about Pete. When you went out to Candlestick Park in the late 70’s to watch the Reds and Giants, there were more Reds fans than Giants fans.

It seems the economy in Ohio was so bad that everyone was moving to the Bay Area. Candlestick Park was practically a “home game” for the Reds due to all the Ohioans living out there.

I was pretty passionate about the Reds in the 70’s. It was easy too. Think of their line up with Joe Morgan, Johnny, Pete, Perez, Foster and a few others. My greatest regret was that I was out of the country for the culmination of a couple of the greatest World Series in 1975 and ’76. I suppose I should qualify that remark…they were great World Series if you were not Red Sox or Yankees fans.

I was teaching in Zambia during those years and only letters from Ohio kept me up to date with the Series. It took several letters to describe the 1975 Series and that the Reds had finally defeated the Red Sox. I found out ten days later.

 

The following year in the Fall of 1976 I was in the capital city Lusaka for a basketball tournament. I coached the Kafue Secondary School Varsity and J.V teams. It sounds more resume-enhancing than it really was, but I enjoyed those games and the tournaments at Matero School .

Matero Secondary School was a Roman Catholic school run by the Marist Brothers. All the Brothers were from the States and they were big on sports so I would get my sports fix when I dined with the Brothers during the tourneys.

So, there in October of 1976 I went to the Saturday, all-day tournament and I asked the Brothers if the Reds were in the Series.

“It’s over”, said Brother Thomas.

“Over? What do you mean, over?” I asked, figuring the Reds never even made it to the Series and were defeated in the playoffs.

“The Series is over. The Reds beat the Yankees in 4 straight. It was a sweep!” replied Brother Justin.

Ahhh, there IS a God!” I responded. And I was lucky that none of the priests were from the Bronx.

I no longer live and die with the fortunes of the Reds, which is a good thing considering their fortunes the past 15 years. As for the Indians, I had only heard of one of the players prior to the playoffs. I figure that none of the players spend much time thinking about Bob Tussing and so I spend little time worrying about them. Still, it’s hard to not get enthused. The Indians beat the Yankees and that is always good, though I feel bad for Torre (I’m sure my Red Sox friends do not share that sentiment) who is a class act. I wish the Reds had hired him, perhaps Steinbrenner wouldn’t have noticed for a couple weeks.

But, most of all, the playoffs mean that “summer” is still hanging on, even though they play all the games at night in the cold in October and November. I’m never quite ready to let go of summer, nor Pete nor Vada nor the “’76 Sweep”, that I experienced nearly two weeks late. Thank you Brother Justin.

Peace,   Bob