Friday, January 25, 2008

New. League. Record.

Robbie Burns Day seems as good an occassion as any to drain the last of a bottle of scotch and pop Bull Durham into the DVD player. It's something I do every year about this time, when winter has begun to drag and my internal alarm is sounding for the start of spring training. I also do other things this time of year, like wear jerseys around the house and re-sort the old card collection. But I'd rather not dwell on those things, mostly because I suspect they sound a bit pathetic to anybody who's not me.

I'm not throwing up some crap top ten list, because Bull Durham is the best baseball movie ever made, hands down. I dig The Natural's unbridled romanticism, and I'm a sucker for Field of Dreams' cornucopia of baby boomer fantasies (return to the land, follow your dreams, reconnect with your father...). Sure, I'll also make time for Eight Men Out, the first Major League movie, The Pride of the Yankees and Bang the Drum Slowly (sniff sniff), etc. etc. But clearly Bull director Ron Shelton poured all of his minor league experience into the movie, and the result is an honest reflection of the game's less-than-glamourous side.

It's the best damn movie Costner's ever done, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh is a character for the ages, and Robert Wuhl delivers every line like his career depends on it (after all, there's no way that, way back in 1998, Wuhl could have predicted the runaway success of Arli$$).

The point is that we baseball fans are extreme creatures of habit, and watching Bull Durham is but one example of my ritualistic relationship with the game, whereby I hope to somehow tamper with time itself and miraculously speed up its passage, so that I might sooner enjoy the game I love best, whether on TV, the radio, or best of all, on those shirtsleeve evenings beneath borderless skies, in seats down the third base line. It's irrational, I know, and hardly behaviour befitting a grown man - a father - but to hell with it.

So if you need me, I'll be on the couch, surrounded by bobbleheads, wearing my Pilots jersey and my glove, getting slowly pie-eyed, and guffawing like an idiot everytime Nuke says something stupid or Crash dispenses his particularly calloused brand of wiseass wisdom.

BTW, I'll entertain arguments in the comments section for other candidates for the Best Baseball Move of All-Time, but truthfully I don't like your chances.


Ben Wideman said...

Love the blog! I've gotta go get a copy of Bull Durham and give it a whirl.

My pre-season tradition is to dust off my 92 and 93 World Series tapes, but I feel like that must be jinxing the team. Maybe I shouldn't this year.

Zoning Variance said...

No argument on Bull Durham being the best baseball move by a whole lot.

My dad introduced me to it as a teenager and I became a big fan. I got married this past year, and in his speech, my dad did a brilliant thing, relating to the guests the story about Crash helping Nuke with his interviews, and then proceeding to give me some time honoured cliches to remember: "Baby, it was all my fault", "I'm sorry, it will never happen again", "whatever you say dear". He paused to say "write it down!"

/a said...

You, Ben Wideman, YOU! You are the reason, the sole reason the Jays have endured such a drought. Destroy those tapes and quit dwelling in the past, Ben Wideman. Then and only then will we again rain supreme as kings of the AL East.

ZV: good speech. My dad refused to speak at my wedding, as he'd already been heavily into the free alcohol.

/a said...

Um, that's "reign supreme," obvs. We will reign supreme over the AL East.