Monday, July 30, 2007

July 28, 1977

No, I can't say I remember it like it was yesterday. But I do remember it. A hot, sunny July day in a month of hot July days, only this day more than 30 years ago was different.

PaMonk took The Monk to his first major league baseball game.

A get-away day game in the Bronx against the then-first place Orioles before the Yanks flew out for a 9-game roadie on the west coast. For some freak reason, even though they were one of the Yanks' strongest AL East rivals and the teams had finished 1-2 in the division in '76, with two months left in the season this game was the last the Yanks and Orioles would play until 1978.

From up in the stands behind home plate, the young Monk watched the Yanks stomp the Orioles 14-2. As an added bonus, the young Monk's favorite player at the time, Graig Nettles, whacked a two-run bomb into the upper deck to put the game basically out of reach in the 5th inning at 7-1. The Yanks ended the day only 2 games behind the birds and one behind the Redsux. Nine days later, when they returned from the coast and a 5-4 trip, the Yanks were 5 games behind the Sawx, who had won nine straight.

The Yanks went to the 1977 All-Star break 50-42; they finished 100-62 -- 50-20 after the break. After that road trip, the Yanks hit their hot streak: four weeks after coming home, the standings had changed again: a 24-3 run by the Yanks put them in first place, and all but assured KC of a second consecutive AL West crown because the Yanks had won 13 of 15 games in that stretch against KC's closest rivals: the Whitesax, Rangers and Twins. That set up the finish: the Yanks held off Bawstin and Charm City; came back from the dead against KC, and bonked the Dodgers in the World Series for the Yanks' first title since 1962.

Not a bad year for a young kid to get into baseball. And it's all the PaMonk's fault -- he got me to be a Yankee fan and a trip to The Stadium cemented that in place.

Thanks, Dad.

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