If the book Ball Four by Jim Bouton demythologized baseball books, Bull Durham did the same for baseball movies. Most had been upbeat, almost heroic. I’m not sure Bull Durham was “realistic,” but it definitely didn’t put the players on a pedestal.
This was the first movie in Kevin Costner’s baseball trilogy, along with Field of Dreams (Great American Things, June 13, 2009) and For Love of the Game. He had the role of Crash Davis, a life-long minor league catcher whose final mission was to groom the meteoric Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), while contending with him for the affections of a baseball groupie (Susan Sarandon).
Writer Ron Shelton played minor league ball, and used his experience in writing the script. It’s a beauty. Here are some wonderful quotes from the movie:
Crash Davis: “Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.”
Annie Savoy: “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self awareness.”
Crash Davis: “Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don’t you think?”
“Nuke” LaLoosh: “A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.”
And then there’s this great scene: