Greenpoint, October, 2015

Friday, June 13, 2014

77 on 58th

A wine shop near Columbus Circle. The guy at the counter, Puerto Rican, maybe, had dropped a bottle. "I'm going to set you up," he kept telling the employee mopping it up. And then, "In 1977, the World Series, Reggie Jackson hit three home runs. All the Irish cops came into my dad's bar." He told it again to the woman behind the counter. And once more on his way out the door. "One of those crazy days," she said to me once he'd left the shop. 
(Photo: Larry Morris)
I put him at about my age, which means he would have been around 16 for that memorable series (described well in the book The Bronx is Burning). The Yankees beat the Dodgers in six games. Reggie did indeed hit 3 homes runs in the deciding game at the Stadium--after being dogged all season by his manager, Billie Martin, and the New York press for underperforming. If I was there when the cops came in to my father's bar, after the game and the raucous on- and off-field celebration that followed, I'd still be telling the story to anybody who'd listen.
Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians (May 2014)
(There's no way to quite recapture what baseball looked like on television in the 1970s, with its 2 or 3 camera angles, grainy color, and sparse graphics. But shooting an HD monitor with a cellphone camera does a passable job.)


  1. There's no way to recapture anything.

    The Series that's been on my mind this last few weeks is not the 77 but the 78, those incredible confrontations between Reggie and the young Bobby Welch. Who passed last week, still young.

    When I was a school kid, we were not allowed to listen to our wee transistor radios during the World Series. The nuns wouldn't have it. Simplemente. That was that.

    I hated the Yanks to death. They were in the Series every year.

    In England in 1963 I caught a few innings of the Series on rocky Armed Forces Radio air waves, drifting through the night. Here's to you, Zoilo Versalles!

    TV baseball on the old tiny b&w screens, impossible to recapture.

    Proust would be reaching for the remote even now.

    Since becoming a total cripple, unable to get out of the house, I've been backed into a corner of Time wherein, with a bit of patience, a bit of risk, and a lot of all-thumbs fiddling, I can watch, on a computer screen, pretty much any baseball game, anywhere, at any time.

    Had I known it would be like this, I would, as a kid, have impatiently wished for life to hurry up and get over with, so that I could spend my senescence chilling on Golden Pond with (for example, as a matter of fact) the ageless Vin Scully.

    But am I doing that?

    No. I am burning out what's left of my eyeballs by watching every minute of every World Cup match. With the sound off. And the Spanish language broadcast on my wee transistor radio.

    Goodbye nuns, hello Andres Cantor.

  2. Tom,
    Your comment reminds me of being in NYC in 1986 during the playoffs and series when it was still common to see people walking in the streets with little transistor radios or stopping to listen to the radio of a cab parked with windows open. And more painfully of the one game Yankees-Red Sox playoff with Yaz popping up to end the Sox hopes. Maybe we enjoy World Cup matches so much because we watch free of early trauma? Are ballpark hotdogs are madeleines?