I did my annual viewing of Bull Durham and Field of Dreams this weekend. I do it every year around the same time – you know, this time of year when you’re drinking from sandlots because your thirst for baseball in the vast desert of the offseason is insatiable. I don’t have to discuss the merits of those two movies (which are probably my two all-time favorites) – every baseball fan regards these as gospels. I am actually a fan of the entire Kevin Costner trilogy, being a fan For the Love of the Game as well, and though it is the weakest of the three, it’s still a darn good movie for baseball fans. I’m going to have to rent Major League and Eight Men Out and The Natural soon as I do every year at this time. I don’t own many movies but I probably should buy those because I love them so.
Field of Dreams – that one gets me every time. “Dad, do you wanna have a catch?” It’s my favorite movie, though Bull Durham is a close second (I named this blog because of it, after all.) But Field of Dreams captures the magic of the game in a way no other movie – or book – has ever done. Only The Natural comes close, but the book is so depressing that it ruins the magic. I’ve said over and over again how the conspiracy theorist in me believes that J.D. Salinger wrote Shoeless Joe – if I ever get back to grad school and decide to study English (among the myriads of other things I want to study), my thesis is going to be on that. I think Ray Kinsella is Holden Caulfield all grown up.
Salinger turned 90 last year, and I have this irrational, desperate longing for him to live forever. He did it. He said fuck it all to the world and managed to live that way, managed to discard all of the corporate bullshit and the media vultures and all that. Those of us liberal hippy progressive whatever the heck you want to label us types who bitch about the corporate jesus can only wish we could be like Salinger as we put ads on our blogs and buy our trendy organic brands and all of that crap that makes us hypocrites, makes us the phonies that Holden hated so. But we grow up and become Ray Kinsellas and build gateways to Heaven and have reconciliations, so I guess it all works out in the end.