Countless bloggers quote it.
Sports-loving girls live by it.
One of my favorite blogs is gets its name from a quote in it.
Yet 20 years after its release, I had never seen Bull Durham.
And I call myself a baseball fan.
Name another popular baseball movie and I bet I've seen it. The Natural? Check. Major League 1, 2, and 3? Check, check, and sadly check. The Scout, The Fan, Pride of the Yankees, The Babe, The Sandlot, etc., etc.
(Side note: check out this extensive and expansive list of baseball movies. Wow. From the famous to the obscure, there have been quite a few movies about baseball.)
I don't know why it took me 20 years to see Bull Durham. If I would have to explain it, I would say that because it came out when I was 10, a movie about sex and baseball just wasn't on my movie list. I was more interested in Major League-type flicks, movies about the game and not the relationships. To be honest, at 10-years old most of the wit and wisdom of Bull Durham would have slipped by me.
Years later however, that excuse went flying out the window like a Nuke LaLoosh fastball. Especially given that I would eventually learn the type of stuff Annie Savoy talks about. All of it. The quantum physics, the Hindu/Buddhism/philosophical babble, etc., etc. Ok, maybe not the breathing through the eyes thing, but you get my point.
It still took me far too long to see Bull Durham.
It wasn't like I didn't want to see it. Not like Titanic or Sex in the City, where I don't care if they the last movies on Earth and I was chained to the chair like Alex in Clockwork Orange, I would rather stab my eyes with pencils than watch. No, I just neglected to ever see Bull Durham.
But now I know what the hoopla is all about. Bull Durham is a pretty good flick. A bit outdated (especially in the handling of Nuke LaLoosh - do bonus-baby pitchers in the minors still throw complete games?), but overall, pretty good. Did it immediately make my top five baseball movies? Probably not.
My top five:
The Sandlot (1993)
The Natural (1984)
Major League (1989)
Soul of the Game (1996)
Somewhere in the top ten: Bull Durham (1988)
Notice something about those movies? They were all made in a 12 year span, from 1984 to 1996. Before steroids, before advanced statistical analysis, and before pitch counts. Before we attached too much emotional value on a player's ability beyond that of a replacement player.
Where are the stories now? Yes, the Rays were a great story last year, but could you tell it without basing the movie on the ownership? How interesting would a movie on Andrew Friedman be? I'll admit, I've met Friedman and he is a nice guy, but not someone whom I would base a movie on, nor would I pay money to see a movie based on him.
Sadly, I don't see another Bull Durham-type of movie being made any time soon. Baseball has become too surgical, too analyzed, and the players have become too damn boring.
Maybe in these poor economic times it's time baseball encouraged the cereal-types to rise back to the top. You know, the flakes, the fruit loops, and the nuts. The kind of players we can base a movie on.