Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Florida Hockey and Dice-K Baseball, Royalty Never Had It So Good

As a native of Rhode Island, I became a fan of the Red Sox early in life – adding the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots later on. I was there during the Ted Williams years and also during the great runs of the Bruins with Orr and the Celtics with Cousy and Bird. The Patriots were a bit of a joke at that time, but you can’t have everything.

Now, later in life, I have retired to sunny Florida in the winters, still spending summers near the ocean in beautiful Rhode Island. Pro basketball has become hopeless, a parody of the great game it once was, and pro hockey lost me for a while, when it, too, turned mediocre. But now I have rediscovered hockey with the Tampa Bay Lightning and found that the addition of European and Russian players has rejuvenated the sport. I started following the Lightning in 2002-2003, just as they were starting to make their move – culminating in a Stanley Cup in 2004.

I have found, in moving to Florida, great TV access to the New England Patriots since they have been in the Super Bowl for three of the eight years I have wintered here. Between the large number of fans from New England who also winter here and the great performance of the team, the Patriots are on TV here in Florida all the time. And the Red Sox, I can see them play spring training games for the whole month of March in Fort Myers, if I wish, and I have most of the season ahead of me when I return to RI each spring.

I write this tonight as I watch Dice-K pitch for the Red Sox on ESPN. Tomorrow night I’ll watch the opening game of the Stanley Cup quarter finals as my Tampa Bay Lightning travel to New Jersey to play the Devils.

Most of the winter I have been enjoying 80 degree weather and cool winds as I bike, sail and bird watch. What a magical place this Florida is. I only wish I had found out about it earlier and that my children and grandchildren take my cue and come and enjoy it too.

In the spring of 2004 I watched the Lightning make their way through the playoffs, culminating in watching them win their final game on a TV in a motel room in Maine as I was visiting my daughter. The Louis Kings of France never had it so good.

Unfortunately the Seattle Mariners pitcher, Felix Hernandez, threw a one hitter at the Red Sox tonight and spoiled the Sox home opener for Dice-K and me.


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