BOSTON – The screen above the Green Monster that captured one of the most renowned home runs in baseball history is gone. The wall is now smattered with advertisements, and above it flaps a banner for an online casino that aims to separate fans from their money, an unthinkable concept even a few short years ago.
As the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox battle Tuesday night in the American League wild card, it’s clear so much has changed since Oct. 2, 1978, the last and only time the clubs played a one-game knockout. But there is one tie that binds that sun-splashed afternoon and a chilly Tuesday night in 2021.
Arguably the most notorious figure from the game’s most storied rivalry flew from his South Florida home to Boston for Tuesday night’s game and was expected to glad hand a few Yankees before, for many of them, the biggest game of their lives.
Dent hit just 40 career home runs yet has enjoyed nearly a half-century of fame from one of them – the seventh-inning shot off Mike Torrez that catapulted the Yankees from Game 163 toward a second consecutive World Series title.
Second to Dent, but not by much was current Yankee manager Aaron Boone’s pennant-clinching, 11th-inning blast in Game 7 of the 2003 Amrican League Championship Series. Boone is a 48-year-old Californian and Dent a 69-year-old Georgia native.
But ruining the Red Sox can bond men forever.
“We’ve thrown out first pitches together, we’ve done signings together, we have that sort of bond together, right?” Boone said Tuesday night.
“Middle name, together”
Indeed, Bucky Bleeping Dent and Aaron Effing Boone can’t go anywhere without their new given names.
Boone smirks when fans accost him for just That One Thing. But he appreciates the friendship that has developed and hoped to find him before Tuesday’s game.
“Such a good dude,” says Boone. “For me, growing up in the game, a fan of the game, I knew who Bucky Dent was in the ‘70s and ‘80s. So that’s important.”
They know Boone, too. Sure, he did slug 126 career home runs. One of them was just a bit more intimate.
“People feel like they know you from that. The public defines you a little bit,” he says. “As you get away from it and step back, I think I have a strong appreciation for having a moment in such an amazing sports rivalry that I’m appreciative of that.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bucky Dent on hand at for Yankees-Red Sox wild-card game
Source: Yahoo Sports