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This I Believe: Slow Kisses, High Fiber, Soft-Core Porn, Baseball

Tue, Oct 9, 2012

Movies, Pop Culture

Bull Durham (1988)

We were listening to the “This I Believe“¬†show¬†on our local public radio station a few days ago — “This I Believe” is an international organization that gets people to discuss their core values, and is¬†based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name, hosted by Edward R. Murrow. They have over 100,000 essays archived on the site and new episodes appear via public radio or podcast every week. Occasionally the essays are inspiring, but they can be a little insipid, too — and we were reminded of two of the best — though unofficial — I Believe speeches in the history of movies… both in Bull Durham, the 1988 baseball movie starring¬†Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins. We only wish this kind of I Believe moment would occur on public radio every now and then.

Susan Sarandon plays Annie, a Minor League baseball groupie who chooses one player a season to have an affair with; in the movie, she has to decide between rookie pitcher Ebby (Tim Robbins, hilarious as a himbo) and Crash, the veteran catcher assigned¬†to him (Kevin Costner).¬†She‚Äôs¬†got her own internal moral code for her sex life (e.g. she tells Crash, “Despite my rejection of most Judeo-Christian ethics, I am, within the framework of the baseball season, monogamous”) and this is how she describes her beliefs:

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex. There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250… not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. ‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust it. I’ve tried ‘em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.”

Later, she asks Crash what he believes in, and this is how he responds. It’s almost — almost — enough to make us like the word “pussy”:

“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.”

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