Yankees’ manager Billy Martin exited the visitor’s dugout to retrieve Torrez and call upon reliever Sparky Lyle to replace him. But what happened next is part of baseball lore and has been re-enacted in movies and TV shows.
Martin was so incensed with Jackson’s lackadaisical play in right that when he returned to the dugout, he told Paul Blair to run out and replace the right fielder. This surprised Blair, it surprised Jackson, it surprised the fans watching in the ballpark and it surprised everyone watching the game on TV.
Jackson was talking to the other pitchers in the bullpen when Blair made it out to right field. He turned around, saw Blair and asked him what he was doing there. When Blair told him, Jackson couldn’t believe it and his expression was shown clearly on television. He pointed at his chest and mouthed, Who me?
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After Jackson jogged back to the dugout, the manager and his star player nearly came to blows and they had to be separated by coach Elston Howard. Then, as Jackson made his way down the tunnel to the visitor’s clubhouse, Martin tried to go after him again. That time, he was held back by coaches Dick Howser and Yogi Berra.
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The only way I’ve been able to deal with the loss is joking about it. There’s not a scenario you could come up with in which I couldn’t make a Falcons Super Bowl joke out of it. I am now mentally wired this way now — same goes for many other Falcons fans. It somehow gets worked into damn near every conversation we could have.
In some ways, it’s easier for the players to get past it than the fans. They’re too busy working hard preparing for next season, while we’re sucked into trash tweets and reminders of that once-beautiful Sunday evening that turned into a nightmare.