Designated HitterMarch 01, 2007
The Bull Durham Rant
By Jacob Luft

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.

  • high fiber
    Overrated. Do you want to spend all day on the can?

  • Good scotch
    Just gimme a brewski.

  • Long foreplay
    From what I hear, most ballplayers would disagree. (As would most people belonging to the Phylum Marrydus Boredasallhellus.)

  • Show tunes
    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
    My weakness.

  • 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

  • Comments

    "Willie Mays Hayes here. Hit like Mays. Run like Hayes."

    "...and there's a long drive toward South America."

    "Women, they do get woolly..."

    "I want Parkman."

    "That's one ball and no strikes to Willie Foster."

    "Why does he keep callin' me Meat?"

    "Jesus, Dorn."

    "He's a convicted felon, isn't he? Well, he should be."

    "It's too high. Too high."

    Better check yr DVD, not your public school education. It's SUSAN SONTAG he hates not THOMAS PYNCHON. Big difference. If you can't get that part right, maybe you should cut him some slack for avoiding "journalists."

    Oh, and Cheap Trick > Rush in terms of inexplicable HOF snubs, for realz.

    You're right. It was Sontag. I must have googled up an early or wrong script. We'll have it changed. Thanks for the correction.

    "There's no crying in baseball."

    "If it were easy, everyone would do it."

    Biggest HOF snubs: Blyleven, Ron Santo, Alan Trammell.

    Superb, Lupus.

    "Juuust a bit outside"

    I should have been a farmer

    The lines from the movie are great, but the movie sucks because the actors are terrible. Definitely a "sum is less than the sum of its parts" situation.

    That's all we got, one goddamn hit?
    >You can't say goddamn on the air.
    Don't worry, nobody's listening anyway.

    I look like a banker in this

    You have to cut Costner some slack - JFK came out a few years after Bull Durham.

    I would also add to the rant - Bull Durham should be mandatory viewing every March.

    As for the quotes, I'll throw in "You know how much you feed a dray horse? Just enough so that he knows he's hungry"

    i have to correct the first poster on a quote...

    "Willie Mays Hayes, Runs like Mays, hits like Shit"


    "... hits like sh**" came later in the movie.

    Let's not forget...

    "Hats for bats. Keep bats warm."

    "Losing is a sickness, as contagious as . . . "

    "And in case you haven't noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven't! The Tribe are starting to win a few!"

    "Get a hit Crash"
    "Shut up kid."

    "The rose goes in the front big guy"

    Skip: You guys. You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
    Larry: Lollygaggers!

    Everybody knows everybody is dying; that's why people are as good as they are

    You googled the wrong speech entirely. Also my favorite movie quote of all time. The following were NOT in the movie speech

    long foreplay
    show tunes
    voting every election
    chocolate chip cookies

    and it was "long, slow, deep, soft wet kisses that last THREE days"

    I think the quote you got was a mix of the movie quote and the quote that was on a promotional poster for the movie. I had this poster on my wall when i was kid that was a PG version of the speech and obviously it didnt have things like cock and pussy and soft core porn. I distinctly remember it had chocolate chip cookies but i dont remember if it these others.

    Great post, but you definitely googled an incorrect transcript. The final cut from the film does not include anything about chocolate chip cookies, show tunes, long foreplay, or voting. And the kisses last three days. Trust me - I've got that whole speach on my iPod.

    One of my favorites from Eight Men Out: "Besides, you guys lost... it was in all the papers."

    All we got on this team are a bunch of jews, spicks, niggers, pansies, and a booger eating moron.

    Candlesticks are always nice.

    You put snot on the ball?

    For-ev-er. For-ev-er.

    There's no crying! There's no crying in baseball!

    Ty Cobb wanted to play, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!

    You have mah-bles!

    Here's one of my favorites.

    "The most important word in the English language is youneverknow." - Joaquin Andujar

    "Quit trying to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring and besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls. They're more democratic."

    "Who the hell are you? I'm the player to be named later."

    "Pick me out a winner, Bobby"

    "Well I can't rightly say (which player hit the ball hardest), but the ones (home runs by Babe) Ruth hit got smaller quickest."

    Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

    There is the original courtesy of IMDB

    Juuuust a bit outside (I know its been said before, but it had to be repeated).

    Ball 8, ball 12.

    "Wild thing, you make my heart sing. you walk everything"

    "If you build it, he will come" "go the distance" "ease his pain" (did the field say anything else?)

    "That's not a very specific field you got there, and its starting to piss me off!"