Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rant #986: Bronx Cheer

Tonight, the Los Angeles Dodgers make their first regular season appearance at Yankee Stadium to begin a short series with the Yankees.

The wonders of interleague play, eh?

With all the post-season history the two teams have against each other, it is really hard to believe that the two teams haven't played in the Bronx during the regular season up until tonight.

I mean, who can forget Don Larsen's perfect game, the only one thrown in the World Series?

Reggie Jackson's titanic three home runs in one game to beat the Dodgers?

Heck, even the one time the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series?

The roots run deep for both teams, and the roots will even run deeper tonight.

With the cast of no names that the Yankees have had to put on the field this season due to injuries, the person who probably will receive the loudest cheer from those fans in attendance will be a Dodger.

The Dodger manager, no less.

Don Mattingly comes back to the Bronx, and he was probably one of the greatest players the Yankees have had in their storied history not to ever get to a World Series.

He played for them in the 1980s and early 1990s, right before the Derek Jeter era, when the Yankees were mediocre at best.

He got into one playoff series, the memorable 1995 series against the Seattle Mariners where he played like he was the second incarnation of Babe Ruth.

The Yankees lost that series, and he was done--and from 1996 on, the rest, as they say, is history.

So "Donnie Baseball," as he has been called, will be coming back to the Bronx tonight.

It should be an interesting series.

Both teams are broken down, not playing well at this point in the season, but I am sure that they will be on the top of their respective games tonight, if for history's sake only.

Sure, you can bet the ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle will be watching closely, as will the ghosts of Hodges, Reese, Maglie and Robinson on the other side.

The Dodgers are in Los Angeles now, as far removed from their Brooklyn roots as I am from my roots in the borough.

The Yankees don't even play in the "real" Yankee Stadium anymore, only a nice facsimile of the original.

But it's the Yankees versus the Dodgers, so it IS important.

The Bums versus the Bronx Bombers.

And during the regular season yet.

Who woulda thunk it 60 years ago?

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