Gary Ruby, a longtime pitching instructor in the Pirates farm system who now toils for the Houston Astros, figured he'd have plenty of takers if he put his 5,000-square foot home on exclusive Lido Shores up for rent during Super Bowl week. He even threw in the use of a yacht.
Ruby's little classified ad in a special Steelers section of the PG last week said, in part, "Sleeps 8+ comfortably. Pool, pvt beach, vehicle incl. 64 ft. yacht w/ captain incl. $1300/day 4 day. minimum or $8400/wk. Call 570-780-7260 for info."
When I called Ruby this morning, he said he'd had nibbles but no sale.
It's been national news that the usual lavish parties that are the background noise of every Super Bowl have scaled back. USA Today reported today that Playboy, Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated, all of which threw big bashes in Miami last year, have decided to sit this one out. A lot of heavy hitters are staying home. It could be that Ruby was sending out too large a number for the winter of 2009, even when divisible by eight.
He bought the place with a partner three years ago, he said when I reached him at his other, considerably chillier home in Archbald, Pa., about 15 miles outside of Scranton, where he was born and raised.
Now that he's with the Astros, whose training camp is pretty far down the highway in Kissimmee, Fla., he won't be able to use the beach home when pitchers and catchers report next month either. So he'll keep it on the market, hoping to lure Pirates fans coming down for spring training in Bradenton, about 25 minutes away. For them, he says, he'll drop the price down to around $4,000 a week.
It's not like that puts it down to Motel 6 level, but where are else are you going to get a gated beach where it's just you and some pelicans diving for fish?
"I'd go there after the ballpark for therapy,'' Ruby said. "I'm no millionaire, but it's a beautiful house.''