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Sunday, May 12, 2019

‘The Natural’ at 35: Here’s how Robert Redford hit that explosive home run

Thirty-five years ago, Robert Redford stepped into the batter’s box in a Buffalo stadium, and smashed a home run that immediately entered the Sports Movie Hall of Fame. Held aloft by composer Randy Newman’s soaring score, and director Barry Levinson’s literally explosive imagery, the climactic scene of The Natural is on instant replay in the minds of moviegoers who saw it in theaters on May 11, 1984 or in its three-decade afterlife as a home entertainment and cable staple.

The Natural had a regular place in my family’s VCR in the mid-’80s, and I’d rewind the final scene multiple times in order to watch Redford’s blast shatter the stadium lights, and then take his victory lap through a shower of sparks. I wasn’t what you’d call a die-hard baseball fan, but I loved Richard Donner’s Superman, and that home run is a comic book moment on par with Christopher Reeve reversing the Earth’s rotation. “It’s pretty spectacular,” agrees the film’s producer, Mark Johnson. “And, needless to say, it does not exist in the Bernard Malamud book.”

Yeah, about that book. It’s no secret that if you were keeping score of a movie’s fidelity to its source material, The Natural would finish towards the back the pack. Published in 1952, Malamud’s first novel took its inspiration from various bits of baseball lore, including the shooting of ’40s-era first baseman Eddie Waitkus and the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919. The film version follows the broad strokes of the book charting the journey of Roy Hobbs (Redford), a gifted ballplayer whose career is derailed after he takes a bullet in the gut fired by a female fan.

What, no references to the Fisher King?

QLE Posted: May 12, 2019 at 03:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: anniversaries, home run, the natural

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Teams will wear ‘MLB 150’ patch on uniforms this year

Major League Baseball evolved more than it was invented, but generally everyone agrees on 1869 as the date after which baseball was a truly professional pursuit. That was when the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first all-salaried baseball team. Prior to that teams paid some players, but not all, and majority professional teams would often play fully amateur clubs on the regular.

1869 was 150 years ago and, since people like numbers that are divisible by 5, 10, and 25, Major League Baseball is going to commemorate the occasion

Always of interest for me to see what we commemorate.

 

QLE Posted: February 13, 2019 at 04:44 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: anniversaries, cincinnati red stockings

Monday, February 11, 2019

Season-long tribute planned to pioneering 1869 Red Stockings

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds are fashionably celebrating the 150th anniversary of the professional baseball-pioneering Red Stockings team.

Joey Votto and crew will play games in 15 sets of throwback uniforms, including a navy blue and a red-pants “Palm Beach” version, during a season-long celebration of the city’s baseball heritage highlighted by the undefeated 1869 Cincinnati team that barnstormed coast-to-coast in post-Civil War America. Baseball’s first openly all-salaried club, the Red Stockings popularized eye-catching uniforms with knicker-style pants and bright red socks while elevating the sports with a variety of innovations.

“From a historical point of view and in the evolution of baseball as the national pastime, the 1869 Red Stockings were the cornerstone,” said Greg Rhodes, the Reds team historian and co-author of “The First Boys of Summer.” ″It’s hard to imagine the modern game of baseball without the Red Stockings.”

Nice to see that this anniversary is being celebrated, given its importance to the sport as a whole.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 11, 2019 at 05:31 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: anniversaries, reds

 

 

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