Friday, June 20, 2008

what would crash think?

"Well, I believe in the soul ... the cock ... the pussy ... the small of a woman's back ... the hangin' curveball ... 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. Goodnight." ~ Crash Davis, Bull Durham
Bill Conlin's column, in today's Philadelphia Daily News, brought to mind Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner, and his unforgettable speech to Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon, in one of the great baseball movies of all time. Conlin, after all these years, and after a long-winded history lesson he no doubt thinks impresses us at the start of his piece, has reached a different conclusion: He believes the time has come for the National League to adopt the designated hitter, if only because American League teams better take advantage of having that extra bat in the lineup. (No word on Conlin's take on the works of Susan Sontag, or the cock ... the pussy, etc.) There's something to be said for Conlin's position, given many of the points he makes, but I wonder if he would have bothered bringing it up at all had Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang not injured himself circling the bases the other day in Houston. What Conlin also ignores is how much strategy is removed from the game when pitchers are forced to bat, to say nothing of the fact that the DH can also be viewed as a gimmick to prolong the careers of aging sluggers incapable of fielding a position. It's also a boon for for the players' union, which benefits greatly from the additional roster spots afforded to all those extra hitters. It may be the way of the future, at least given how the game is now being played in the AL, but there's just something unnatural about it. Part of being a baseball player is having to do everything there is as a baseball player: hitting, fielding, baserunning. That for the last 35 years half of the major leagues has played the game one way, while the other half has played it the other, is the only real scandal here. Crash, where have you gone, buddy?

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