During the Mets-Braves game last Thursday night, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were talking about the pre-game power outage. Keith mentioned the lights beyond left field losing power, and said:
“It reminded me of The Natural, which is one of my absolute favorite baseball films. I thought it captured the mythology of baseball.”
Gary then asked if that was his favorite, to which Keith responded, “It is my number one. Bull Durham was outstanding, too. Believe it or not I did not see Eight Men Out. I did not see that, I’ve got to see that.”
Okay, he hasn’t seen “Eight Men Out.” That’s not enough reason to call him out. Gary responded saying it was at the top of his list, definitely a worthy movie to have at #1 on your baseball movie list… But what Keith said next tore the seams from my heart:
“I did not see Kevin Costner’s, ‘if you build it they’ll come,’ what was that? Field Of Dreams? I did not see that.”
Keith Hernandez had a fantastic career. 5 All-Star nods, 11-Straight Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers, and an MVP are just a few accolades in a historical career. And that’s all fine and dandy, but does NOT excuse him.
One could argue, and I am, that “Field Of Dreams” is absolutely mandatory to watch, with or without your dad. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes me cry, it makes all of us cry. A lot. Admit it, you lose it when Costner says “Dad, do you wanna have a catch?” It’s okay, we’re all friends here.
There have been many amazing baseball movies. “Bull Durham”, “Major League”, “A League Of Their Own”, and “The Sandlot” are just a few of the best. “Field of Dreams”, however, tugs at the heart strings of baseball fans everywhere in a way that none of those others can. I think the movie, and the essence of baseball, can best be summed up in this monologue towards the end of the movie spoken by Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones):
Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.
And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.
The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
It is a magical movie, bringing the Black Sox back to life, giving Moonlight Graham another chance to play, and giving a farmer a chance to have a catch with his late father. It is a fantasy, but in some ways preaches more truth about baseball than any other movie.
When you’re watching baseball, you never know what is going to happen. Of course, I’m not saying ghosts of the Black Sox are going to appear in a cornfield anytime soon, but that’s fantasy. Magic and fantasy are two different things.
Some of you reading this article may have witnessed the 1969 Mets, or perhaps Mookie Wilson‘s at bat in the 1986 World Series. How about Endy Chavez leaping high above the wall to rob Scott Rolen as if there were angels in the outfield? Wilmer Flores thought he was traded, cried on the field, and then hit a walk off home run the very next night. Mets fans young and old are well versed in baseball magic, a magic that “Field of Dreams” captures so well.
Now is an exciting time for the Mets, one that has had some moments that leave me shaking my head in pure disbelief that something so amazing had just happened. “Field of Dreams”, too, is full of moments that leave your heart beating as it was when Johan Santana threw that change-up to David Freese in 2012.
Keith, as well as other readers who haven’t seen the movie, I strongly urge you to watch it. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. And don’t worry Keith, if you shed a tear, I won’t tell.
The guys in the booth continued talking about baseball movies as Keith’s admitting to not seeing “Field of Dreams” went without notice. Gary later continued, “Eight Men Out is a big favorite of mine, but to go the other direction, I love Major League. I just thought it was fantastic. I’d have to think about what’s third on the list… A League of Their Own I really enjoyed, Bull Durham, it’s hard to pick.”
Here is my definitive favorites list, how does yours compare?
- Field of Dreams
- Bull Durham
- The Natural
- The Sandlot
- A League Of Their Own
- Major League
- Angels In The Outfield
- Eight Men Out
- For Love Of The Game
- The Rookie
- Bad News Bears
- Fever Pitch
- Rookie Of The Year
Let’s Go Kevin Costner! Let’s Go Mets!