Thursday, May 25, 2017

Let's Go to the Movies

("Where Did the Great Hollywood Baseball Movie Go?")

We became intimately acquainted with all too flawed heroes in baseball in the generation of Clemens, Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and A-Rod. The greatest were revealed as lesser beings. But is there not some wonderfully redemptive tale lurking in the shadows of these failures?

And, while we have sometimes been saddled with questioning what our eyes suggest, we have also borne witness to the life and times of Derek Jeter, the intersection of talent, grace and class. And now, in its embryonic moments, is the tantalizing possibility of the latest unfolding of this fable featuring the Paul Bunyonesque sized talents of Aaron Judge.

So let us not be so quick to bury the idea of baseball as catalyst for an Oscar moment.

We are certainly not as readily willing to air brush shortcomings and idealize on film those like the Babe whose prodigious talents on the field were matched by his prodigious appetites off it. 

But if the great baseball epic of tomorrow does not appear, it is not because the game has lost its magic, its tragic, enigmatic or compelling characters. And while Hollywood may have long since moved away from the biopics of those like Jimmy Piersall, Monty Stratton, or even the incomparable Lou Gehrig, there is still in the belly of this undertaking the stuff of legends . 

No, if we fail to discover the next great story between the foul lines, fail to produce the next wondrous role for this era's version of Jimmy Stewart, Robert DeNiro (Bang the Drum Slowly) or Kevin Costner,  it is not that the fault lies in the stars (fallen or not) but in ourselves.

Or maybe I am mistaken. Maybe with the advent of 30 for 30, Real Sports, MLB Network, MLB Tonight and countless other options, there are no more mysteries, no more myths, no more room for the mind to conjure up its own suppositions, its own version of reality, its own  demons and angels. Maybe our minds have been oversaturated to the point of exhaustion. Maybe the field is just too crowded for it to encompass another dream. Maybe imagination has died.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Exactly 75 years ago Hollywood produced The Pride of The Yankees. That film got 11 Academy Award nominations and was a huge box office hit. With a relatable hero it resonated with heart and soul of the American imagination. For good and ill it's not the same America and it's not the same national pastime.