Baseball Toaster The Griddle
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Griddle

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  10  07 
06  05  04  03 
Suggestions, comments, ring the catcher's interference alarm?

Email me at

The stuff I keep track of
Random Game Callbacks

Select a date:

Personal favorites that I wrote
TV review: The Bronx is Burning
2007-07-19 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

At the risk of stealing the thunder of people who either write about TV for a living, or people who know a lot more about the New York Yankees, I'll give my two cents about this ESPN miniseries, based on the book Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning by Jonathan Mahler.

I've seen two episodes of the 8-part series and the best I can say is that it's fairly good for an ESPN Entertainment production. It may be better than "A Season on the Brink," but I doubt that it's going to be earning any Emmy nominations.



The series tries to play off the tension on the 1977 New York Yankees among George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, and Thurman Munson (and too many others to enumerate) and the Son of Sam murders.

So, in two hours in addition to the people named above, we've also met actors playing: Dick Howser (who has become Italian), Yogi Berra (portrayed by Joe Grifasi, who is great in the part), Mickey Rivers (who comes across as being extremely dim), Lou Piniella (who seems to be an easy-going jokester), and Fran Healy (who apparently is the sole voice of reason among the 1977 Yankees.)

There is a parallel story about the Son of Sam case featuring a variety of actors wearing suits with wide lapels. Stephen Lang plays the NYPD inspector heading up the case.

Each episode of the first two episodes seem to have two scenes of the Yankees arguing in some permutation involving Steinbrenner, Martin, Jackson, and Munson and then a scene about the Son of Sam case.

Steinbrenner is portrayed by Oliver Platt, who comes across as Oliver Platt wearing 1970s suits. John Turturro, fitted with some prosthetic ears, is Billy Martin, who, unsurprisingly doesn't get along with people well. Daniel Sunjata plays Reggie Jackson, and doesn't look big enough to hit the ball out of the infield.

The story could be very gripping. But it just seems flat. You can predict when there is going to be some argument between Steinbrenner and Martin or Martin and Jackson or Munson and Jackson. It's not like the 1977 Yankees played in anonymity. And the Son of Sam case was not exactly a murder case that flew under the radar.

So I find myself comparing the events shown in the series against events I knew already happened. And I realize that I liked the original a lot more. Such are the perils of docudrama.

Will I be sticking around to see how it ends? I don't know. I wonder how that 1977 World Series finishes....


2007-07-19 05:35:45
1.   D4P
Hopefully ESPN produces a mini-series about the Red Sox too.
2007-07-19 07:17:22
2.   Cliff Corcoran
For some reason what bugs me most about the series is that Sunjata folds his right thumb over when taking his batting stance. Reggie always kept that top thumb pointing up:

2007-07-19 07:31:38
3.   Bob Timmermann
The show doesn't do a great job of making Sunjata's swing look remotely powerful. He's swinging like Gary Cooper.
2007-07-19 08:01:25
4.   Bama Yankee
Maybe they should have taken a lesson from this classic when it comes to realistic looking characters:

Actually, I think Platt and Turturro do a pretty good job (compare them to this old commercial):

Sunjata is doing a better job than I thought he would (a agree that he looks a little small to play Reggie, but he nails the rest of it).

2007-07-19 09:19:58
5.   Raf
I'm suprised it took this long for someone to throw up a review on TBIB.

I've seen bits and pieces of it, hasn't really caught my attention. From what I've heard, I suppose it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

2007-07-19 09:45:50
6.   Cliff Corcoran
4 I agree that Platt is doing a good job. Turturo's acting is deeper, but I don't know where the heck he got that southern drawl from.
2007-07-19 09:53:56
7.   Bob Timmermann
Supposedly Martin picked up a Texas accent during his time as Rangers managers.
2007-07-19 10:40:16
8.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
Can't watch a drama about a team that crushed my dreams. Just can't.

As likeable as Reggie Jackson may have become later in life, I can't root for a guy who hit three homers of Charlie Hough and powered the Yanks to a 4-2 drubbing of the Garvey-Lopes-Russel-Cey team of my youth.

And it was bad enough that they did it again the following year, no matter how great the Welch-Jackson showdown was.

2007-07-19 14:27:52
9.   JHWaugh
...the spot on Billy-ears they have stuck on Turturro make the show worth watching in my opinion. The scenes with the drunken, ne'r do well Whitey/Billy/Booze-Mick triumvirate make this a Yankee-haters must see.
2007-07-20 17:39:08
10.   DXMachina
Fran Healy (who apparently is the sole voice of reason among the 1977 Yankees.)

Did you notice that Healy is listed in the credits as a technical advisor?

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.