Hockey Hope, Baseball Boredom and Bucky Fucking Dent
by Michele Christopher

dipietro_rick_194x240.jpgTechnically, it's still hockey season. My team is still in it! They just have to win their last two games against two teams they really have no business beating and Toronto has to beat Montreal and then the Islanders are in the playoffs!!! Which just means that we've prolonged the misery by a week or two because they just don't have what it takes (a starting goalie without a concussion) to get out of the first round.

So let's talk baseball instead. Let's talk Yankee baseball.

Now, I'm not delusional. I can see where this season is headed already. I'm going to be frustrated for a while. Maybe a little angry. After a while I'll just stop caring and start counting the days til NFL training camp opens. Eventually the pennant race will heat up, the playoffs will come around and I will do the obligatory Yankee fan hand wringing thing but fact is, I've stopped giving a shit about baseball. I stopped bleeding Yankee blue. Maybe it started back when Clemens became a Yankee. Maybe it started when my favorite players started bleeding from the team. Maybe it's because I just can't bring myself to like A-Rod. Maybe I just lost some of the attention span I need to watch four hours of men scratching their balls. I need action. I need excitement. If you want to keep my attention, it's gonna take more than seven foul tips in a row. It's gonna take something like a goalie getting a concussion.

I used to love baseball. I used to plan my schedule around Yankee games. In fact, there was a time when a single swing of the bat could end up being one of the greatest moments of my life.

Yes, I've just got to tell this story.

October, 1978. Junior year at my Catholic high school. Because the kids in my school came from all over Long Island, we would often stay after school, hanging out in the front lobby or the grass by the side of the parking lot instead of asking our parents to drive us all over creation.

The previous August I had a sweet sixteen party, one of those dress-up, dancing affairs where we played nothing but Who records and my friends got in trouble for pouring vodka into the pitchers of soda.

Those drunken friends, Kevin, Tim and Chris, had chipped in to buy me a wonderful birthday present: a portable radio. Keep in mind this was in the days before boom boxes. This radio was small, had no cassette player or 8-track player, just an AM/FM radio, which was all I wanted. Their intention in getting me this particular present was so I wouldn't rush home after school during the baseball playoffs - I could stay after and hang out with them and listen to the games (which used to be played in the afternoon) on my portable radio.

On October 8th of that year, there was a one-playoff game for the AL East title. Yankees. Red Sox. Fenway. This is what baseball was all about. This is the stuff that rivalries are made of.

I listened to most of the game in front of the school while everyone else was smoking or starting fights or whatever it was we did in those days. I held the radio up to my ear and did a play-by-play for everyone who was interested. As the game wore on the tension grew, everyone gathered around me on the lawn and I turned the volume up. And then the late bus came. I had to leave them all there, not knowing what was happening.

My school district didn't give us private school kids our own yellow buses. We had passes that allowed us to take the public buses for free. So for the four miles home, I had a bus full of commuters gathered around my seat, crossing their fingers and praying.

The moment happened when I got off at my stop. It was a 1/4 mile walk to my house, down one straight road. I had the radio up to my ear again as Dent came up to bat. My heart was beating fast, my nerves were tingling. I went into a half-run, hoping that I could make it to my house - which I could see all the way at the end of the block - before anything great happened. And there was no doubt in my mind, I felt it in every nerve in my body, that something grand was about to happen.

The only reason the Yanks left Dent in to hit in the seventh inning of a game they were losing 2-0 was because they were out of spare infielders.

Before his home run, Dent fouled a ball off his foot, hopping around in pain and asking the trainer to come out and take a look. After walking around a bit, Dent decided he was OK and went back into the box.

Mickey Rivers was on deck, and the Yanks leadoff hitter had been closely observing Dent the entire time. While most everyone in Fenway Park was watching Dent grimace in pain, Rivers noticed that the bat Dent was using was the same one that Rivers had used earlier in the game and Rivers knew the bat was cracked. He grabbed a bat-boy and sent him to the plate with the bat he was holding, and Dent took the new lumber despite being in the middle of an at-bat.

And then it happened. Dent swung at a Torrez fastball. It was going, going, gone. A three run homer. I don't even remember the call of the play on the radio because I was whooping it up, all by myself on the sidewalk. I heard the happy roar of a man coming from inside the house I was passing. I was literally jumping in the air. I broke into a sprint and ran the rest of the way home, where my mother, who was the source of all things Yankees for me, was standing in the kitchen, waiting for me. High fives all around. The Yankees went on to win, 5-4.

"Deep to left! Yastrzemski will not get it! It's a home run! A three-run homer by Bucky Dent! And the Yankees now lead by a score of 3-2!" - Bill White

And that is how Bucky Dent came to be known around Boston as Bucky Fucking Dent.

Michele may get tired of the Yankees and baseball, but will never tire of goading Red Sox fans into insult-a-thons.


Gossage was asked what he was thinking facing Yaz with two out in the ninth and a man on. His answer was "If I blow it, I'm in Montana hunting tomorrow." Fantastic.


Damn you love that story... hah


I count that as the fourth time you've told it since I started reading you.

Being a Cub fan I gave up on baseball long ago.


What kind of a world do we live in where the New York Rangers are battling for a playoff spot - and the Atlanta Thrashers won their division?


My mistake. The Rangers are in. The Thrashers won their division - and the Islanders are battling to get in.

Still a strange season.


Dont look now but Toronto beat Montreal..


Well, damn. Now the Islanders just have to beat the Devils tomorrow....not an easy task.

I don't think I'll be able to watch the game without a bottle of Tums.


The force is strong today. Therefore, I sense an Islanders win.


holy fucking shit.

1/10 of a second left. jesus.



The Isles are IN!



I'll second Michele's "holy fucking shit!!"

What a way to make the playoffs.

Where the heck did Dubeiewiczxl (just the way it sounds) come from?
I had given up and he went and got me all excited again.

Man, what a game and what a week for that kid. Two shoot-outs against some of the best shooters in the league and he came out on top.

I'm wanna party likes it's 1983.


Told you the force was strong with Dubie.


Yankees. Red Sox. Pah.

At least the Rangers (not that hockey girls club, the Texas Rangers) won their opener against the Sox.

Texas has two players that are hitting above .200


So I guess I won't be bitching this year about all the great bat we got but no pitching, like always.

Now we have neither.



Give Ron Washington a little time. I have a feeling he'll get this thing turned in the right direction.

I mean, it was 20 below for all three games this weekend at the Ballpark. Or at least it felt that way last night for me.

Point is, I counted about 4 fly balls last night that would have easily been homers had the temp been normal.


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