This is the time of year when I finally break out my baseball movies. The temperatures have touched the 70s, the grass has started to grow and leaf buds have sprouted on my trees. It's finally safe to start celebrating the upcoming season.
I love all the baseball classics: Bull Durham, A League of their Own, the Natural, Major League, The Babe, Pride of the Yankees, Eight Men Out... But, for my money, nothing comes close to Field of Dreams.
I can't believe it's been 20 years since it was released in theaters. If was a tough sell to get my girlfriend at the time to go to the movie about the guy who had baseball playing ghosts living in his corn. I believe she wanted to see the latest Friday the 13th movie instead. She didn't really like baseball that much. And at the end of the movie she had tears in the corner of her eyes because she was so touched by it.
I think it's great not just for the star studded cast and the excellent way it was filmed. But I loved the story that we all thought was about the major league players when really they were just the backdrop for a touching story about a dad and his son.
The neat thing about baseball is that it is always there -- an unfolding drama in the background of our lives. Nobody lives or dies based on the score of a game. But we fans all remember if the Cardinals won or lost on the day we got married or moved into our first house or on the day our first kid was born. And field of dreams is the best movie at capturing what it means to be a baseball fan.
Memorable Field of Dreams Quotes:
Ray Kinsella: Don't we need a catcher?
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Not if you get it near the plate we don't.
Terence Mann: 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.
Archie Graham: Hey ump, how 'bout a warning?
Clean-shaven Umpire: Sure, kid. Watch out you don't get killed.
Ray Kinsella: The Voice is back.
Annie Kinsella: Oh, Lord. You're supposed to build a football field now?
Ray Kinsella: So what do you want?
Terence Mann: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.
Ray Kinsella: No, I mean, what do you WANT?
[Gestures to the concession stand they're in front of]
Terence Mann: Oh. Dog and a beer.
Ray Kinsella: Are you Moonlight Graham?
Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: No one's called me Moonlight Graham in fifty years.
Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: Well, you know I... I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn't. That's what I wish for. Chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases - stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That's my wish, Ray Kinsella. That's my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?
Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within... y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they'd consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.
Ray Kinsella: By the time I was ten, playing baseball got to be like eating vegetables or taking out the garbage. So when I was 14, I started to refuse. Could you believe that? An American boy refusing to play catch with his father.
Terence Mann: Why 14?
Ray Kinsella: That's when I read "The Boat Rocker" by Terence Mann.
Terence Mann: [rolling his eyes] Oh, God.
Ray Kinsella: Never played catch with him again.
Terence Mann: You see? That's the sort of crap people are always trying to lay on me. It's not my fault you wouldn't play catch with your father.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: The first two were high and tight, so where do you think the next one's gonna be?
Archie Graham: Well, either low and away, or in my ear.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: He's not gonna wanna load the bases, so look low and away.
Archie Graham: Right.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: But watch out for in your ear.
Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day.