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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Bucky Dent couldn’t be extra pumped for Yankees-Pink Sox wild-card sport

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BOSTON — After all he monitored the a number of ballgames Sunday afternoon, and naturally his telephone blew up when the outcomes of these video games produced the primary one-game, Yankees-Pink Sox, “winner goes on, loser goes house” matchup since Oct. 2, 1978, at Fenway Park. After all he caught up with Goose Gossage, breaking down the performs of that incredible contest from 43 years in the past as if that they had occurred final week.

They don’t name him Bucky Bleeping Dent up right here for nothing.


“Right here we go once more, Yankees-Pink Sox,” Dent, the group’s ninth-place hitter whose seventh-inning, three-run homer in opposition to Mike Torrez gave the ’78 Yankees a lead they by no means relinquished that day, instructed The Publish on Monday morning. “There’s nothing higher. It’s nice for the game.”

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Having hit solely 40 house runs in 12 Main League seasons, Bucky Dent is most well-known for his three-run homer with the Yankees trailing by two within the 1978 American League East tie-breaker sport in opposition to the Boston Pink Sox. The Pink Sox had led the American League East Division by as a lot 14½ video games (July 19) that season.

So nice, in actual fact, that the 69-year-old Dent, who lives in Florida, was working along with his consultant, Andrew Levy (whose company Want You Had been Right here Productions owns a luxurious suite at Yankee Stadium,) to attempt to attend Tuesday night time’s American League wild-card contest in particular person at Fenway. Even when that couldn’t work out — the quick turnaround made the logistics difficult — Dent might be watching the sport and lining it up with the recollections of his legendary second.

Simply as Aaron Bleeping Boone’s 2021 Yankees reported to Yankee Stadium on Sunday with their suitcases packed and their itineraries unsure, the ’78 guys did the identical on Oct. 1, though they aimed to fly from New York to Kansas Metropolis that day to organize for the American League Championship Sequence in opposition to the Royals. As an alternative, the Yankees blew their one-game AL East to the Bosox in Recreation 162, future Corridor of Famer Catfish Hunter dropping a 9-2 determination to the Indians as future (fingers crossed) Corridor of Famer Luis Tiant blanked the Blue Jays, 5-0, at Fenway to arrange the Yankees-Pink Sox play-in to resolve the division crown — and, in these pre-wild-card days, the lone playoff berth from the East.

(Talking of “in these days,” the Pink Sox earned the fitting to host not by advantage of head-to-head file, because the Yankees prevailed in 9 of their 15 conferences, however fairly a coin flip, George Steinbrenner reportedly berating group president Al Rosen when his “heads” name didn’t repay.)

“After we misplaced the sport [to Cleveland], we have been like, ‘We misplaced the toss? We’ve got to go to Boston? Actually?’ ” Dent mentioned. “We didn’t have time to consider it. We obtained dressed, obtained on the aircraft and went to Boston. That night time, a bunch of us went to [famous restaurant/bar] Daisy Buchanan’s to get one thing to eat and drink. The buildup of the depth, the nervousness of the sport, didn’t begin till the following day.”

Tuesday night time’s contest and the ’78 occasion aren’t similar apples, as Dent identified. In any case, yearly options two wild-card video games, whereas Dent’s Yankees competed within the uncommon 163rd sport, one which hasn’t been held as a “Win or go house” affair for the reason that Rays and Rangers did so in 2013. These Yankees have a day to settle in at Fenway — and whoever wins will obtain a day to settle in at Tropicana Area earlier than opening the AL Division Sequence in opposition to the Rays on Thursday — whereas the ’78 Yankees performed Recreation 162 in The Bronx, Recreation 163 at Fenway and, after their thrilling, 5-4 victory over Boston, ALCS Recreation 1 at Royals (now Kauffman) Stadium in successive days.

They’re shut, although, the sport’s greatest rivalry settling their enterprise in only one sport, a contest 43 years in the past that, Dent mentioned, “was probably the most stress in a sport that I ever performed in.” And he performed in two World Sequence and three LCS.


“There’s nothing like taking part in in a one-game playoff,” mentioned Dent, whose late homer, with Mickey Rivers’ bat, vaulted the Yankees from a 2-0 deficit to a 3-2 lead. “It’s completely totally different from anything. It nonetheless has the identical impression [as the play-in]. You’re attempting to win to go on. And it’s Boston and New York. The large factor is, you need to be mentally able to play. Shoot, it’s the best factor that there’s. It’s what you play for.”

Requested if he noticed somebody becoming a member of him and Boone (whose Eleventh-inning homer in 2003 ALCS Recreation 7 despatched the Yankees to the Fall Basic and despatched the Pink Sox house) within the Beantown “Bleeping” membership, Dent mentioned he had been discussing that very topic along with his spouse and buddies on Sunday night time: “I picked Brett Gardner. He’s a classical warrior. He’s performed for thus a few years. He’s provide you with so many large hits. He wasn’t imagined to play a lot and he wound up taking part in loads. Plus he’s obtained a B in his title.”

We’ll see if Dent can name ’em in addition to he hits ’em in do-or-die Yankees-Pink Sox video games, and whether or not these Yankees can produce the kind of lifelong rivalry recollections that Dent and his teammates nonetheless cherish at any time when there’s an excuse to take action.

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