NEW YORK, NY – So, for those of you who haven’t heard, some yahoo tried to set off a bomb in Times Square on Saturday night. Apparently, this was an act of terror and not a response to Mayor Bloomberg’s turning the entire area into a chaise lounge plaza for morbidly obese tourists and the chronically unemployed. Anyway, it was just another reminder that we are far, far removed from more innocent times and that maybe, just maybe, our own anachronistic ambassador Time Warp Tony has the right idea regarding living in the past. The mid-1970s and early ’80s certainly didn’t seem like simpler times when they were happening, but let’s climb into the Way-Back Machine and measure that era against today.
1976: Hey, its the Bicentennial! Happy 200 America! Let’s paint all of the fire hydrants red, white, and blue! What’s happening in baseball? It looks like the Yankees have got themselves an awesome new renovated stadium. It’s about time! This one will last forever. Hey, around the league these players don’t look right? Where are the muscles? What’s with these weird haircuts? And why the hell are the White Sox wearing shorts? Actually, this is pretty cool. These guys have distinct personalities (I’m looking at you Mark Fidrych) and the games seem fun. On the minus side, the Steelers and Cowboys are the two dominant teams in football. Blecch. Not sure about this Jimmy Carter guy either, but anyone’s got to be better than Gerald Ford, right? The economy is pretty much in the crapper but it is in 2010 too so we’ll call that a wash. Hey, there’s a summer and winter olympics this year and, check it out, Bruce Jenner still looks like Bruce Jenner! That Nadia Comaneci is something else too. These Sex Pistols seem like a fun angry bunch. They may be a bit unstable but anything is better than the douche rock of Nickelback and Creed. We could definitely hang in this year for a while.
1977: I’m not going to lie to you, I am not too psyched that this Son of Sam cat is still on the loose. Oh, wait, the cops just nabbed him and… wait… that’s him? The .44 caliber killer is a schlubby postman? Man were those police sketches off. I’m not too psyched how this year got started with my Vikings getting waxed in Super Bowl XI by the Oakland Raiders. Oh well, we’ll be back in the big game soon enough, right? Right? Three cheers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for snapping their 26-game losing skid by beating the Ain’ts. If New Orleans ever makes it to the Super Bowl, I’ll eat my Leo Sayer album. In baseball the Yankees send the Dodgers packing and, we didn’t think it possible but Reggie Jackson’s ego just got bigger. You know what, I’m just not getting good vibes here, let’s split.
Endless fright and… Endless Flight
1978: Keith Moon is dead? Well, that’s the end of The Who for sure. How the hell did the Red Sox blow a 14 game lead and then let Bucky “Frogging” Dent beat them? Then Dent is named World Series MVP as Yanks down the Dodgers yet again? What in the name of new heavyweight champion Leon Spinks is going on here? The NBA champ is the Washington Bullets who take the title in seven games from the Seattle SuperSonics. Who the hell are these teams anyway? Never heard of ’em. Luckily, television is awesome! No reality shows to be found, unless you count the Doobie Brothers appearance on What’s Happening? I like these new shows Taxi and WKRP in Cincinnati too. Have you guys seen Grease? That Olivia Newton-John is hot. We’ll stick around at least long enough to watch Jack Nicklaus win the British Open.
“Which Doobie you be?”
1979: Professional boxing is awesome! Who knew? Larry Holmes knocks out Earnie Shavers in the 11th to keep his heavyweight crown and there are a couple of guys named Hagler and Leonard making noise in the middle- and welterweight divisions. The Montreal Canadiens smother the Rangers in 5 games to win the Stanley Cup. Willie Stargell, with an assist from Sister Sledge, carries the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Orioles in the Series. Farewell Zeppo Marx… oh, you too John Wayne. And a warm welcome back to Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini! We are outta here.
1980: Bjorn Borg and Johnny Mac turn Wimbledon into their own personal Roman Colosseum. Now this is what I call frogging tennis! Roberto Duran takes the WBC welterweight title from cocky Sugar Ray Leonard in June only to say “no mas” and hand it right back in November. But none of these stories can touch the one that happened in Lake Placid in February. Get us rinkside seats for every US Olympic Hockey game including the Miracle on Ice and gold medal win over Finland and we’ll put up with any crap the year has to offer. Ordinary People wins Best Picture over Raging Bull? Fine. Another Steelers/Cowboys Super Bowl? Peachy. Richard Pryor sets himself on fire. Um, is he gonna be OK? Kinda? Fine then, 1980 is all right by us.
So, what have we learned from this short trip back to yesteryear? Well, for starters, they don’t make boxers and serial killers like they used to. Secondly, baseball was a bit more fun pre-steroids and Richard Pryor was funnier pre-fire. Finally, no matter the era, sports fans will put up with an inordinate amount of crap–horrible movies, Islamofascism, terrible music, bumbling politicians, bald bloggers–just to stick around and see one incredible series or game or fight. The mere chance of witnessing something truly remarkable is all the fuel most fans need. That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for Dr. Diz, tomorrow.