Monday, August 25, 2014
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Look, I admire fans who have stuck with the Royals throughout the last 30 years. I mean, really stuck with them. Based on the Royals’ attendance over that span, there really can’t have been many of you. But if you’re one of them, I do admire you. I’m just not exactly like you.
My obsessive passions might have been able to survive my relocation from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. They might have been able to survive my profession. They might even have been able to survive management’s gross incompetence for some decades. But my obsessive passions could not survive all three.
Okay? You got me. I’m a fair-weather fan who moved away 20 years ago and is supposed to write with some degree of objectivity. Don’t tell me how to enjoy baseball, though. Frankly, my friends, I don’t give a damn what you think about my passions. I love my fiancée, I love my dogs, I love Portland, I love the birds that visit my backyard, I love baseball stirrups … and somewhere, way down deep, it seems I still love the Kansas City Royals, at least a little bit. If that bothers you ... Well, I can’t really say that I’m sorry, because I haven’t done anything wrong. Instead I will ask you, politely, to keep your thoughts to yourself. After nearly 40 years of thinking about the Royals nearly every day, I think I should be allowed to enjoy this little stretch in my own however-foibled way.
Maybe he’d have loved the Royals all this time if they put a bird on it.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
I give it 4.5 Rob Neyer flannel shirts out of a possible 5.
First-time directors Chapman and Maclain Way are the grandsons of Bing Russell, the cowboy actor who founded the independent, minor-league Portland Mavericks in 1973, so “Battered Bastards” is an affectionate family valentine rather than a hard-hitting exposé. But the Ways’ family connections probably helped convince a number of erstwhile Mavs to sit for interviews, not least of them Bing’s movie-star son Kurt, who rhapsodizes about his dad’s love for the game. The only person more passionate about the team today, it seems, is onetime bat boy (and current Hollywood director) Todd Field, whose profanity-laced nostalgic rants are a highlight….
Reality provided the story of the Mavericks with a somewhat anticlimactic finale, so the documentary runs out of steam a bit towards the end. And some of the recollections are selective. For instance, Kurt Russell tells a story about the Mavericks’ first game being a no-hitter, but he’s probably talking about their sixth game. The Mavericks’ first manager, longtime minor-leaguer Hank Robinson, is given short shrift compared with his successor, Frank Peters, but Peters’ darker, turbulent post-Mavs life isn’t highlighted.
Then again, it probably would have been impossible to shoehorn every memorable Mavericks moment and strange-but-probably-true anecdote into one film. That’s how chock full of stories the team’s brief life was. It might not be true that the Mavericks could only have happened in Portland, but it’s certainly fun to think so.
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