The Bull Durham Rant
How often do you find yourself quoting great lines from baseball movies during the course of a typical day?
I do it all the time.
For instance, when a family outing is canceled on account of the weather:
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."
At a barbecue when the cook is serving me a burger:
"Pick me out a winner, Bobby."
The Jesus people try to hand me literature on my way to SI's Midtown offices:
"Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball."
One of our writers gets contentious about an edit:
"Don't think, it can only hurt the ballclub."
Upon the delivery of some decidedly untoward news:
"Say it ain't so."
Hearing a banal remark:
"They don't call him the best color man in the game for nothing."
Using my American Express card:
"Don't steal home without it."
Dragging at work and it's not even lunchtime yet:
"Go the distance."
My daughter doesn't want to go to school:
"You'll play Jackson! You'll play!"
Baseball fans are lucky in that we have the widest array of excellent films with rich dialogue to choose from compared to the other sports. Hoops fans have, what, Hoosiers and Hoop Dreams? He Got Game? Does Teen Wolf count? Football has come on in recent years with Remember The Titans and Friday Night Lights, but the pigskin, as well-suited as it is to the tube, falls flat on the silver screen when compared to the horsehide. (Bang the Drum Slowly wins over Brian's Song, and Bad News Bears rocks The Longest Yard.)
Perhaps my single favorite moment from any of the baseball classics is the Crash Davis rant to Annie Savoy in Bull Durham. Just as the sexual tension between the two is about to boil over, Crash's words leave her more vulnerable than she ever thought possible:
"I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, long foreplay, show tunes, and that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, I believe that there oughtta be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astro-turf and the designated hitter, I believe in the 'sweet spot,' voting every election, soft core pornography, chocolate chip cookies, opening your presents on Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last for seven days."
Let's take a closer look at Crash's speech, phrase by phrase:
I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back ...
The small doesn't do much for me. I'm more of a nape guy myself. And belly buttons. Definitely belly buttons.
the hanging curve ball
Because the alternative is no fun.
Overrated. Do you want to spend all day on the can?
Just gimme a brewski.
From what I hear, most ballplayers would disagree. (As would most people belonging to the Phylum Marrydus Boredasallhellus.)
Horribly addictive. Better to stay away.
The novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap.
Can't say I ever came across her during the course of my public school education.
I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone
Costner should know better. He was in JFK.
I believe that there oughtta be a constitutional amendment outlawing astro-turf and the designated hitter
Astro-Turf is five minutes ago. Hello, Field-Turf!. As for the DH, it's grown on me over the years. There is something to be said for a manager having to make the call on pulling his starting pitcher regardless of when the ninth spot is due up next. The same goes for the use of bench players; managers can't just automatically go to them when a double-switch is needed.
I believe in the "sweet spot"
It's only the best sound in the world.
voting every election
I try. I really do.
soft core pornography
Isn't it nice to leave something to the imagination?
chocolate chip cookies
opening your presents on Christmas morning rather than Christmas eve
I prefer eve but my wife has final say on the matter and she's with Crash.
long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last for 7 days
Seven days? It'll have to be during the offseason.
I think, deep down, everybody should have their own Bull Durham rant, a coat of arms for where you stand on divisive issues of your day. Here's mine:
"I believe the Reds should be the first team to play on Opening Day, that Opening Day should be a national holiday and that every MLB team should indeed play on said day. I believe radio is the perfect medium for baseball and love nothing more than a day at the park or the beach with the call of the game humming softly in the background. I believe the game is fine the way it is and tinkering with the rules only makes it worse. I believe I didn't know my head from my ass when I was pulling for the Mets in the '86 Series. I believe I agreed with this guy when he said, "In my day, ballplayers were for shit." I believe RUSH, not Bert Blyleven, is the biggest Hall of Fame snub of all time (sorry, Rich). I believe the last thing MLB needs is a salary cap, that college teams should be provided wooden bats and college football should never institute a playoff. I believe the media need to report the truth about the steroids era without getting on a soap box in the process. I believe Babe Ruth was right when he said, 'The only real game -- I think -- in the world is baseball.'"
Jacob Luft is a baseball editor/writer for SI.com.