Tag Archive: baseball


Delving into the Deep

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Maybe it was a dream, maybe it was someone hoping. But I could have sworn I heard or saw that this year’s World Series was going to be between the Dodgers and the Yankees.

Immediately my head started thinking about how somethings never change, even when teams switch coasts or get new ball parks or have long-time owners die.

I thought about players such as Lou Gerhig, the Yankee who died from ALS and became the namesake of the devastating illness. I thought of Yankee Joe DiMaggio with his 56 hit streak and later devotion to Marilyn Monroe.

I thought of the dodger’s phenomenal pitcher, Sandy Koufax and groundbreaking Jackie Robinson.

That is until I finally heard that it was going to be the Huston Astros vs, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.”

Field of James, Kevin and JamesJames Earl Jones, in his deep-throated honey voice said these lines in Field of Dreams, a movie that never doubted the magic of baseball.

This is not a movie for little kids, not contextually. Sure they can watch it for the most part and they might understand some of it, especially that desire to play catch with your dad. But the grief one feels at lost opportunities or the crazy motivation to turn your field of corn into a baseball diamond is powered by something more adult. There is a longing that children or teens may not quite get but adults do.

That is why this movie makes men cry.

I find Dracula movies are complex like that as well. I’m not talking about Twilight but those movies that feature Dracula as a man who lives on the side of evil but remembers when he wasn’t that way. You see it in the Bela Lugosi 1931 version, the way he looks to Mina to become what he is and to have her by his side always.

There is something of love, of hope, of a determination to not be alone.

Dracula-untold-luke-evansYou see this theme in many of the Dracula movies, even the Gary Oldman version from 1992 fed on this theme. Winona Rider who played Mina, made her love for the count an obession worth dying for.

Over the years, we have not lost our fascination with the undead. Writers and film makers have explored what it means to be a vampire, The last movie I found was in 2014 starring Luke Evans as Vlad, a man who is trying to protect his village but takes extreme measures to do it. Dracula Untold may not be a good movie but it is filled with action. And it shows a man who understands the decisions he makes, accepting their consequences.

That is always one thing I respected about Dracula, no matter what his incarnation. He is who he is with no regrets, no looking back. Otherwise, wouldn’t he try to kill himself or have Van Helsing do it for him?

Maybe this weekend I could explore one of these incarnations. Even Gerard Butler has taken on the role with a New Orleans setting in Dracula 2000 before he became a super action hero saving the U.S president one more time.

Bring on the popcorn.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Down to the Wire Finish

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

By the time you read this, either the Cubs have won the World Series or they remain lovable losers who came this/close to ending the curse.

I don’t know at the moment if they have done one or the other. At this point in time they have won their second game and must win two more in order to break the curse.

chicago-cubs-2It was great, it was terrifying. I thought they were going to lose it all at various moments when I wasn’t thinking the team had finally gotten over their fears.

I was feeling jealous of my cousin who was in Wrigley field during this tremendous win.

I almost felt bad for all of the times I made fun of him for being a Cubs fan while I am a Sox’s fan.

Almost.

But here’s the thing. I am happy to see the Cubs get this opportunity. But if they lose, I will not let Cubs fans know just how great my team was during the time they were in the World Series. Why, even former president George H.W. Bush was in the audience and they made a point of rubbing Houston’s nose in the loss by doing it quickly.

Perhaps that is too mean, I’m not sure.

In the mean time I can send you in the direction of some great movies about baseball.

You know the ones because they all seem to star Kevin Costner. Ok, maybe not but my two favorites are Bull Durham which is about an older player trying to figure out his role in Baseball as his playing career ends. The other is Field of Dreams in which a man discovers a secret world of deceased players in his cornfield.

Field of Dreams IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

Both movies, from different perspectives, tell a story that women can love and men can cry about without being total sissies. Maybe that is not politically correct to say but some guys still want to be macho stoics. Whatever.

You can still enjoy these stories of men finding ways to explore their feelings about lost chances and missed opportunities channeled into new opportunities such as a different career in your field or playing catch with your deceased father.

Or maybe you want to explore how the Cleveland Indians manage to stick it it their money-grubbing owner by not stinking and finding their way to the World series in Major League. It will involve a pitcher with wild throws and a voodoo spell to make a bat work. Meanwhile, Tom Berenger learns his game while in the last chance of his career to do something great.

Charlie Sheen appears in this movie as the pitcher with the strong but undisciplined arm. Dennis Haysbert is the Caribbean player who uses what ever he can to bring luck to his bat. None of these movies I have talked about are meant for kids.

rookie-of-the-yearBut there is one that might appeal to them. Rookie of the Year is about a kid who discovers a new talent. After the kid’s arm heals from a break, the kid discovers he can throw as fast as a major a. Of course he is discovered. And soon he is playing for the Cubs as a pitcher.

It is a cute and sweet movie that kids can love. While not always plausible, it is fun and appropriate for younger members of the family..

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Play Ball!

Family Movie Night

 

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

This week is the week of the All-Star Game.

 

As fans gather in the 3-year-old stadium in the borough of Queens in New York City, you know that this game is less meaningless because the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series. While that might not be the fairest way to determine who has home field, it is what the league has come up with for now.

 

There is one benefit to the all-star game. It will be big time singers doing the national anthems of Canada and the United States. About 15 years ago, Sarah MacLachlan sang “O Canada” and I am not sure if I have heard a better version. That same year Kelsey Grammer sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” While Grammer has a good voice, he was completely outdone by MacLachlan.

 

This year the honors will be done by 2013 American Idol winner Candice Glover and Canadian Recording Artist Scott Newsome who does the Canadian anthem for a number of sport franchises. I have to admit I am looking forward to hearing their renditions.

 

The problem I have every year is deciding which movies to showcase for this week.

 

 

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Everyone knows that the best baseball movies ever made star Kevin Kostner. His turn as a hippie-turned-farmer baseball fan in The Field of Dreams has provided some of the best quotable lines ever. That is until we get to Bull Durham, an adult drama about a baseball fanatic that trains minor league players in her own special way who crosses paths with a veteran catcher.

 

Both movies came out in the late 80s and might be showing their age in regards to hairstyles and fashion. But both movies give us a truer than true depiction of people at very different points in their lives. Some are looking for reconciliation while others are pursuing a dream that may never come to fruition.

 

These movies along with Minor League are very adult-oriented and probably better suited for couples to watch.

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

This week the movie about Jackie Robinson, 42, is coming out on DVD. The movie depicts how Robinson is chosen by Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, to break the color barrier of Major League Baseball. It depicts a somewhat sanitized version of the racial insults and backwards behavior that Robinson and his wife, Rachel, endured as Robinson becomes the first black man to play on a major league team.

 

It is a movie I have not seen yet but plan to as soon as possible. When I think back to this time period, I am amazed at what a wonderful time it was for our country as we recovered from WWII. But the tremendous hatred for one group of people because their skin color was darker than the rest always leaves me flummoxed and upset. I have not seen it so I cannot tell you which family members should not watch it but with a rating of PG-13 it my guess that this one is better for tweens and teens who can follow along better with the context of the movie.

 

Until Next Week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

While we are dealing with crazy weather, there is one constant that makes winter less bleak for me.

 

Baseball.

 

In mid-February, I do not know any sweeter words than “pitchers and catchers report.”

 

Bring on sub-zero temperatures, ice storms, and big thaws all in the same week. Bring on snow and rain and sleet because soon, very soon, the players will take the field in that spring ritual that leads us into a summertime of hope.

 

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.”

 

Image by D. Harder

Image by D. Harder

James Earl Jones states this while telling Kevin Costner that people will pay money to come to his farm in the middle of Iowa and sit on the bleachers to watch a field. Perhaps they see the players, perhaps they don’t. But what Field of Dreams, the best baseball movie ever, seemed to understand is that baseball is the undercurrent of our lives. It connects us to other people whether we are a participant or observer.

 

Bull Durham is the absolute best baseball movie because while the game might be the setting, it is dreams that are found or lost that drives the plot.

 

Another baseball movie that usually makes the list is Major League with Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. The driving force to this baseball movie is the desire to stick it to an unfeeling owner determined to have a losing season so she can easily move the team to a different city.

 

The latest baseball movie to come to the home theater market is Trouble With The Curve starring Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball scout. He is having issues with his eyes which is not good for a man who watches baseball games to find the next best player.

 

Trouble with the curveBut he has other problems as well. He does not believe in computers as a way of predicting players. That makes some in management leery of depending on a guy who will not adapt to new technology. It makes his boss wonder what is going on and leads him to call Clint’s daughter, played by Amy Adams.

 

She became a lawyer to please him, except she has bitterness that has to do with the death of her mother and his abandonment of her as a child. But at this critical time in her career when she is being considered for partnership, she feels the need to take a few days to go with her father on a scouting trip.

 

I enjoyed the movie because there are some great moments between Adams and Eastwood. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Matthew Lillard provide good support as well.  But sports movies are built on clichés and this one has too many that are easy and pat. New technology being bested by the ‘old way.’ A trite conflict that ends a relationship at its start. A discovery of a player hinted at throughout the movie. A prospect who is demanding and arrogant in the worst ways.

 

Most baseball movies are really meant for adults, the language and/or context is saltier or deeper than most kids under the age of 10 are interested in hearing. That is true with Trouble With The Curve as a parent and his adult child try to reconcile what happened with the here and now.

 

If there was ever a great movie about baseball for kids, it has to be The Sandlot. This film came out in 1993 and did not seem like a big deal. It is about a bunch of kids who played ball in an empty sandlot everyday. When a new kid moves into the neighborhood, he lies about knowing how to play. But soon he is taken under the wing of the best player and that summer becomes memorable for many reasons.

 

Like many movies that seem like they are about nothing, this one brings back childhood memories that are sweet and horrible and the shaping forces of our life with baseball as the background.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 

 

 

The Sporty Life

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

Sports have filled our life lately.

 

This past weekend was opening day festivities for tee ball/softball/baseball season. We had great weather for the parade, pictures and some games. The rain delayed until Sunday night.

 

I was lucky, I was only sunburned a little bit on the legs. That is a miracle for me, usually I am red from head to toe but a little sunscreen did a lot of work.

 

The other sports action was David going with some friends to the Brickyard in Indianapolis as the racers vied for the pole position of the Indy 500 scheduled for this coming weekend. The best part was when he sent a picture of himself with Mario Andretti, the 1969 winner of the Indy 500. I get chills thinking about it.

 

Oh, and did I mention that the Sox swept their opponent this past weekend? I am not sure what could have been a better weekend.

 

Image from IMDb.com

So I was trying to think of movie tie-ins for all of this. Most people know my favorite baseball movies includeMajor League, Bull Durham, The Natural and Field of Dreams. These are adult oriented movies that tend to about more than baseball but retain that dreaminess that I associate with baseball.

 

A movie that you can watch with your teenage girls is A League of Their Own. But let me warn you that boxes of tissues will be needed by the end of the movie. My all time favorite kid movie about baseball is forever moreThe Sandlot. All you ever have to do is say “You’re killing me, Smalls” and some adult will automatically smile.

 

Baseball, with all of its economic realities, maintains a slow pace. It reminds us that some things take time to happen and we must be patient. Adding a new movie to the pantheon is not easy. But this year I now need to put Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill up there.

 

The story is about how a general manager was brave and began using sabermetrics to determine what player to get for various positions. For a team like Oakland , this was important when you have little money to utilize. I was drawn into the movie, could not believe that Pitt and Hill made math interesting. Oh, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the frustrated coach was great as well.

 

Image from IMDb.com

When it comes to car racing movies, I am not much of an expert but I know how to find one. While all of those Burt Reynolds Cannonball Run movies might come to mind or the Fast and the Furious series, I found one that might beat them all.

 

Back in 1971, Steve McQueen made a movie about a famous European race called simply Le Mans. Set in France , the Le Mans is an endurance race as two drivers take turns driving 200 mph for 24 hours. The McQueen vehicle explains life at two-hour intervals. Considered one of the best racing movies that is almost a documentary.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Not That Again!

Do you get irritable over the smallest things?

I know I do. Been that way since I was a child and it is one fault I would like to get over.

Image by o0o0xmods0o0o

Like when I go into the kitchen and find my husband has left drawers open – again. Does it take too much effort to simply shut the drawer. Maybe it does and I do not realize it. 

I am also really pissed at my baseball team. No one can help Adam Dunn out of his hitting slump? None of the coaches can reach this guy? Big bucks were paid for a bat that is not hitting!!!!!! Is his contract breakable or does he need a stint in Triple A as a little reminder? Does he need an old-fashioned “mom” guilt trip?

Another thing that gets my gourd which is not really a big deal? That WordPress changes something every week. Just when I am comfortable “subscribe” is now called “follow” or the bars on the graph change.

Picture by Wcizmowski

Worse of all, seems to be my lack of ability to leave messages on other people’s posts. I cannot write anything more than a sentence or it never gets there. If I want to leave anything more than “Great post, lovely sentiments” it disappears after all of that hard work.

I realize that might indicate I need to upgrade. But upgrading means a $100 expenditure I simply do not have right now. So if WordPress would kindly fork over the money so I can get the latest windows upgrade and have all of the various search engines go to nth degree fast, I will take it.

By the way, has the word “collusion” occurred to anyone in this season of multiple updates?

I am really irritated by the heat we are experiencing this summer. Enough is enough, already. It was 8:00 at night and I was sopping wet. While this has been great for my continued weight loss, it is terrible for my ability to get anything done.

However, rain is due on Wednesday and is expected to get the temperature and humidity down a bit. And you know, that is just in time for our county fair.

Lastly, I am not sure if this is irritating but it is certainly sad. I was cleaning up the mess in the paperwork basket when I saw my college alumni bulletin. So I am checking it out and saw an old boyfriend had died at the age of 49. He was a nice guy, married a woman with three boys, they had one of their own and ended up with a few grandchildren.

There was nothing in the note to say what he died of and his obituary online did not report it either. But the notes left on the online memorial and Facebook indicated that he was missed after suffering through illness.

Not my former boyfriend but something I would imagine he would do, picture by reim 11.

When I think about his wife, I think that no one should be a widow in their 40s. It makes all of my irritations seem trivial and small. She might wish he was still there to leave drawers open and to hang with their grandkids.

It is something that makes you think and be grateful for what you do have.

Although, it would be nice if the husband would shut a drawer every now and again to surprise me.

Anything irritating you this week?