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The Bronx is Burning

Let me start with a quote, because I heard it in my head repeatedly throughout my (two) viewing(s) of ESPN2's new miniseries "The Bronx is Burning":

"Ahhh, 1978, there'll never be another year like that, not in my lifetime."

That gem was uttered by a co-worker from an old job, back in New York. The same guy who got me tickets to what ended up being Doc Gooden's no-hitter against Seattle in '96, Joe is the quintessential Yankees fan: lifelong, diehard, one-sided, true. And he's the guy I think of when I watch Billy Martin (expertly played by John Turturro) kick sand on the ump in this great, great show.

I was just a kid when the Bronx Bombers were running from their mediocrity of the early 70's, and I really didn't understand or appreciate baseball. Then. But, growing up in north Jersey, I dutifully watched the on-field antics of the 1970's Yankees, and have the names and scenes of many Patented Yankee Great Moments burnished in my brain. You can't help it, if you grew up in the New York City area back then, no matter your interest in the game. To this day, I do not understand Mets fans.

Today, I'd call myself a recovering baseball addict, having discovered a passion for the game when I was just getting out of college and living and dying with the Phillies (and Mitch Williams' destruction of the season with a hanging 0-2 slider to Joe Carter, but I'm not bitter), and later on the Yankees' amazing New Dynasty of the late 90's. And so I was more than mildly interested in this new miniseries being trotted out by ESPN2.

Turns out, it's pretty fun. Watching the on- and off-field antics of these adult kids in the Bronx that were going when I was a kid myself is pretty great, and it's bringing back a lot of great memories of my youth.

Oh and by the way, I'm especially enjoying the portrayal of Reggie Jackson as an arrogant, egomaniacal douchebag. Remind me to tell you about the time I had great seats on the first base line at Yankee Stadium when I was a tyke and I saw Reggie Jackson give his glove to a kid who dutifully ran down to the wall and asked Reggie for his autograph every inning, only to ask for his glove back as he took the field the next inning. That little plot, along with the two drunk Irishmen seated a couple rows in front and to the left of us, created a scene that will never leave me. Reggie got his glove back, the kid got a brand new glove and two bats, and the drunks got to stay and watch the end of the game. And, as an extra bonus, Reggie heard all about how much of a dickhead he was. It was an awesome display for this eight year-old.

Anyway, if you have access to ESPN2 and you are at all interested in New York City history (Yankees, Son of Sam, Mayor Beame and the Mayoral race of the time), you should check out "The Bronx is Burning".