Friday, May 2, 2014

Let's Do it Again

In honor of the recent release of Dan Epstein's "Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of 1976," I've decided to do a short series where I'm taking the title of each chapter from the book (which also happen to be song titles from that year) as well as cards from the '76 Topps baseball set, and trying to do a mashup. Wish me luck.

CHAPTER 1


My knowledge of movies from the 1970s is very limited, due partially to the fact that I didn't even hit my teen years until 1982 and sports and music trumped all other sectors of pop culture during my childhood. That, and let's face it, many of them just weren't that good. One movie that I had never heard of- and probably would not have heard of, had it not been for Epstein's Stars and Strikes- is the 1975 Sidney Poitier film, Let's Do It Again. 

The film, which featured a song title of the same name (and used as the title of the first chapter in Stars and Strikes) in the opening and closing moments, starred Poitier and Bill Cosby as two blue-collar workers who plot to fix a boxing match in order to raise funds for the Brothers and Sisters of Shaka lodge. In order to do so, the pair has to convince Jimmy "JJ" Walker (through hypnotism) that he is a professional fighter. Walker's character, Bootney Farnsworth, defeats the champion- 40th Street Black- and the two con-artists appear to have gotten away with a big pay day. Poitier and Cosby are later forced to set up a re-match after gangsters, who had lost money on the first fight, give them the ultimatum: do so, or die.  

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One of the most notorious on-field brawls in MLB history took place on May 20, 1976 as the Red Sox visited the rival New York Yankees. The genesis of the fight actually dated back to 1973, when a scuffle took place between Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson. To worsen matters, Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee opened his yap- stating that the Yankees were "like a bunch of hookers, swinging their purses." 















Still in the back of the two team's minds, this night's dance started when Lou Pinella collided at home with Fisk. Fists began to fly. Lee, who just happened to be pitching that night, tried to stop a New York player from entering the fray- only to be sucker punched by Mickey Rivers. Shortly thereafter, Lee was picked up and tossed like a rag doll by Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles, who was only trying to 'keep Lee out of it.' 



Realizing how badly his shoulder was hurt, the Boston pitcher came charging back towards Nettles, shouting obscenities. Unable to throw the punch that he desperately wanted to land, Lee instead became the hunted- taking a right hook from Nettles that left him with a black eye and a bruised ego. Not to mention the torn ligaments in his left shoulder.



2 comments:

  1. Wow. Not sure what Lee said to Nettles, but it must have been pretty bad for him to take a cheap shot like that.

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    1. Not sure- but Lee was a very dis-liked player, even among many of his teammates. Nettles supposedly received several thank-you's by some of Lee's teammates for the fact that they didn't have to put up with him for the next few months that he was out. Even one of Lee's 'mates, Rick Miller, said they were upset with him for starting the fight back up when he went back after Nettles.

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