This blog is dedicated to all things Frank – past, present and future.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dwight Gooden's No Hitter (5/14/96)

One more Yankees story… On May 14th, 1996, I got a call from my friend Vic (a NYC cop). He asked if I wanted to go to the Yankees game that night. I really didn't want to but he was persistent. He said we'll get bleacher seats, where all the nut jobs hang out, and that Dwight Gooden was pitching. I was a fan of Gooden during my one year of being a Mets fan, 1986 – the year they won the World Series – so I caved in.

The Yankees were playing the Seattle Mariners that night and it wasn't till the sixth inning that we realized that no one had a hit off of Dwight yet. The nut jobs in the bleachers around us also noticed. The next three innings were crazy. The fans were on the edge of their seats. And when the last batter popped out to Jeter, the stadium went bananas. People were screaming in the streets, on the verge of riot. I jumped on the subway back home, glad that Vic twisted my arm.

Side story… 14 years later I got my morning paper (back when the New York Post was 50¢, I can't bring myself to pay a $1.00 for it these days), and on the front cover was my friend Vic, subduing a crazed fan at Yankee Stadium (that's him on the right)! Apparently, this lunatic was jealous that A-Rod was dating Cameron Diaz, so he tried to attack him on the field. But Vic saved the day.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Frank & The Yanks

I'm just coming off a month long Yankees kick. More specifically…a 1977-78 Back-To-Back World Series Champions Yankees kick. When one of these kicks begin, I tend to go all out (ask my wife). If you ever find yourself on the cusp of a 1977-78 Yankees kick, you can use this post as a step-by-step guide.

I haven't really followed baseball since 1987, but when I was a kid, I loved the Yankees and my favorite team was…that's right…the 1977-78 Yanks. I still have my 1978 Yankees Yearbook – though it's falling apart from looking at it so much – and my 1978 New York Yankees Burger King poster, too.

A few of my favorite players were Thurman Munson, Sparky Lyle, Mickey Rivers and Catfish Hunter. In fact, when I was in grade school and given the assignment to give an aural book report based on a person of fame, I chose Catfish Hunter. I stood in front of the class with my Yankees jacket, baseball glove and fake mustache, telling the class how Jim Hunter shot his pinky toe off in a hunting accident when he was a teenager. But my favorite all-time Yankee was (is) Reggie Jackson, Mr. October. The man hit three home runs in the final game of the 1977 World Seriesthree! I also remember being upset when the Reggie Bar came out – I don't like peanuts.

So what started this kick? Well, it started when I was looking for a new book to read. I'm not an avid reader – average about two to three books a year – and I tend to read biographies about musicians and actors. So when I was thinking of a subject to read about, I thought of my favorite Yankees team. A quick amazon search showed that Sparky Lyle wrote a book called, The Bronx Zoo. It's a 1979 tell-all that chronicles the dissension within the Yankees in its World Series Championship seasons of 1977 and 1978. There was a lot of turmoil surrounding the key players of the Yankees, all of which went over my head as a kid. I was just a fan of the team back then. But reading about what went on behind the scenes, now as an adult, is interesting. And Sparky is pretty funny, too.

Immediately after reading Sparky's book I began watching the complete 1977 World Series: Yankees vs. Dodgers. I had bought the DVD box set a few years ago, but never got around to watching it. It just sat on a shelf gathering dust.

Another book that popped up in my initial amazon search was, The Bronx Is Burning. I contemplated getting that one but I had already seen the ESPN original miniseries on TV, back in 2007, so I went with Sparky. But after reading Sparky's book, I watched the miniseries again (thanks to Netflix). The series centers around the infighting between George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson, with a subplot of what was happening in NYC at the time – the race for a new mayor (Koch) and the Son of Sam (David Berkowitz). They did a real good job at combining archival footage with the new series footage and John Turturro was an excellent Billy Martin. Plus, there's about fifteen Ramones songs throughout, so that's a bonus.

Another source for my kick was The YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) Network. They often run classic Yankees games (watched a few) and they also have a show called Yankeeography, where they profile Yankees legends (also watched a few).

So with this blog post, I put closure to my 1977-78 Yankees kick. It's great how all these sources has allowed me to relive a piece of my childhood through adult eyes. That's it, the kick is kicked.