Have you seen Bull Durham? It’s one of my favourite movies, in spite of Kevin Costner. I love Annie Savoy, although I’m not sure we’d get on if we met. Anyway, I have a little green book that I keep next to my desk into which I sometimes copy quotations that tickle my fancy. I’m not a regular quotations collector by any means; it’s an affectation that I adopt periodically then forget about for years on end. But I was glad of my green book this morning, particularly when it opened, magically, at Annie’s opening speech. It is such a piece of writing and never fails to make me smile. So I thought to myself, why offer silver when I can offer gold?
“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, Shiva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan.
“I know things. For instance, there are a hundred and eight beads in a Catholic rosary, and there are a hundred and eight 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 ball player who slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball, you’ve just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under 250—not unless he had a lot of RBIs or was a great glove man up the middle.
“You see, there’s a certain amount of life’s wisdom I can give these boys; I can expand their minds. Sometimes, when I’ve got a ball player alone I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always listen. Of course, a guy will listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay.
“I make them feel confident and they make me feel safe—and pretty. Of course, what I give them lasts a life time; what they give me last 143 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade, but bad trades are a part of baseball. I mean, who can forget Frank Robinson from El Paso, for God’s sake!
“It’s a long season, and you’ve got to trust it. I’ve tried them all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in and day out, is the church of baseball.”