What a load of 'Bull'
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

Just when it seemed that there could be no bigger horses asses in sports than America's favorite couple in Augusta, along comes Dale Petroskey.

In case you missed it, the Baseball Hall of Fame president just cancelled a celebration that would have honored the movie "Bull Durham" due to anti-war statements made by two of the movie's stars, Susan Sarandan and Timothy Robbins.

Bull Durham
The screening of Bull Durham at the Hall of Fame won't take place.

You know what this means don't you? That's right. The Cooperstown salute to Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" is postponed indefinitely.

Petroskey, a former PR flack for the Reagan administration, said that while all Americans are guaranteed the right to free speech, this right only applies to Republicans, not to liberal actors such as Sarandon and Robbins. Well, that's not exactly what he said, but it's certainly what he meant. Petroskey went so far as to say that by daring to criticize the government, Sarandon and Robbins "ultimately could put our troops in even more danger."

Way to hyperventilate, Dale. I mean, you've got to be some sort of buffoon to attempt to turn a 15-year-old movie about minor leaguers and baseball groupies into a statement on patriotism.

With Petroskey in charge, I guess Hall of Fame candidates will be judged not only on their batting average and ERA but also on their political affiliations. Pete Rose not only will have to apologize for betting on baseball, he'll have to apologize for voting for Al Gore.

I can just see future Hall of Fame plaques:

Politically Incorrect
Cooperstown is a long way from Baghdad and Nuke LaLoosh only terrorizes mascots, but that doesn't mean "Bull Durham" and the war in Iraq can't cross paths. In this week's list, Tim Keown wonders if Pete Rose should just turn Republican.

Lifetime .310 hitter who led AL in batting four times. Hit 476 career home runs, drove in 1,328 runs and stole 326 bases. Two-time MVP, eight-time gold glove winner and 13-time All-Star who strongly favored the elimination of taxes on stock dividends.

Robbins quite effectively and rightly responded to Petroskey by writing: "I had been unaware that baseball was a Republican sport.... (Petroskey) has sullied baseball. He has sullied free speech.''

Initially, I was as appalled as everyone by Petroskey's stance. But then I went back over the DVD special director's cut edition of "Bull Durham,'' I found that Sarandon and Robbins were a tad heavy-handed with their politics ...


ANNIE: What do you believe in, then?

CRASH: I believe in the soul, the small of a woman's back, high fiber, the hanging curveball, good Scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are overrated, self-indulgent pieces of crap. I believe that 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, open your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, wet kisses that last three days. Good-night.

ANNIE: Excuse me? Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone? Good Lord. You don't really believe that, do you?

CRASH: Ummm, yeah. That's what I said.

ANNIE: So you accept the magic bullet theory the government made up? That a single bullet entered Kennedy through his back, then angled upward and exited through his neck, then waited 1.6 seconds, made a right-hand turn, continued into Connolly's armpit, traveled through his chest, struck his right wrist and then lodged in his thigh, from where it fell out in almost perfect condition? You swallow all that?

CRASH: Errr ... Ummmmm ... well ...

Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon
"You know the moon landing was staged at a studio in Jersey, right?"
ANNIE: And you still believe he acted alone, even though the House Select Committee found in 1979 that Kennedy's assassination was likely the result of a conspiracy?

CRASH: Well ... you see ... ummmm ...

ANNIE: Don't you realize the assassination was a conspiracy orchestrated by the military industrial complex to keep us involved in Vietnam? That they were afraid they would lose their defense contracts if Kennedy stayed in power? That they continue to run the country? My God, did you even see Oliver Stone's movie, "JFK"?

CRASH: Not exactly, but ...

ANNIE: I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in a man who is na´ve enough to believe anything our government tells him.


CRASH: Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everyone out. Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls -- it's more democratic. So relax, let's have some fun, OK? It's fun dammit!

NUKE: Democratic? What does democracy have to do with anything these days? When the current president stole the election? When the presidency was decided not by the voters but by politically appointed judges? When Florida blacks who would have made the difference in the final vote were denied access to the polls?

CRASH: Shut up and pitch, meat.


COACH: What the hell's going on out here?

Bull Durham
"Listen, if you don't get this guy to ground out we're going to be late for the boycott grapes rally."
CRASH: Well, we need a live rooster -- was it a live rooster? -- a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove. Nobody seems to know what to get Millie and Jimmy for their wedding present. And Nuke is convinced that the war in Iraq is immoral and the only reasons we're over there are to take over the oil wells, line the pockets of vice-president Cheney and divert the country's attention from the terrible economy. Is that about it? We're dealing with a lot of s---.

COACH: Well, candlesticks always make a nice gift and maybe you can find out where she's registered ... maybe a nice place setting or a silverware pattern. And as far as Iraq, Cheney's ties to Halliburton are suspicious but Saddam Hussein is a sadistic, murderous dictator in clear violation of United Nations resolutions 687, 1284 and 1441, which gives us legal justification for the war. OK? Is that it? Let's get two!

The saddest part of all this is the other movie celebrations that will have to be cancelled. After all, I hear that Cooperstown was planning to reunite the Bad News Bears this summer but then Petroskey found out that in addition to being a booger-eating spaz, Kelly Lupus is also a member of the Socialist Workers party.

Of course, there is some good news to the "Bull Durham" cancellation. It means Robert Wuhl won't be at Cooperstown, either. Which, quite frankly, probably makes it all a wash.

Pete Rose better have voted Republican.

Box Score Line of the Week
Is there anything better in the world than seeing box scores return? David Cone pitched five scoreless innings and won his first game in 18 months. Pudge Rodriguez walked five times in one game. San Diego's Dennis Tankersley made an emergency start and gave up three hits, four walks and seven runs and didn't retire a batter.

Nice efforts all, but the first winning line of the season belongs to Seattle closer Kazu Sasaki for his memorable performance Friday afternoon when he pitched one inning and still struck out four batters at Texas. He struck out the first batter he faced and Carl Everett reached base on a third strike that bounced back to the screen. Sasaki struck out the next two batters to finish the game and earn this interesting line:

    1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

He was the 19th American League pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning.

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics
Ken Griffey
Junior is in danger of being forced to wear a "Hello, my name is ..." sticker around Cincinnati.

  • Do you think the Reds and the Padres are both wondering what might have been had Phil Nevin not vetoed his trade to Cincinnati for Ken Griffey, Jr.? Nevin is out for the season with a dislocated shoulder and Griffey might be out for the season with the same injury as well. When Junior missed Tuesday's game, it marked the 162nd game he has missed since being traded to the Reds, the equivalent of an entire season. Here's hoping he gets back soon.

  • How bad is Detroit? The Tigers not only opened the season with eight consecutive losses for the second year in a row, they started five players Sunday who had batting averages under .100. Even after scoring six runs Wednesday, the highest batting average in the lineup was .211. Detroit had only 36 hits in its first eight games and was hitting .149 as a team.

  • Is the D.C. area ready for a new team? The Orioles drew just 18,420 fans for their game Thursday. By the way, the five American League games drew just 55,211 fans that day.

  • In between David Cone's victories, Randy Johnson won 29 games, including the postseason.

  • Sure, it hurt Texas to lose Pudge Rodriguez from the lineup. But his departure is hurting behind the plate as well. The first eight baserunners who attempted to steal a base against the Rangers were successful.

  • Because they went to spring training a week earlier to prepare for the cancelled Japan series, the Mariners went 56 days from the first day pitchers and catchers reported to spring training and their first home game Tuesday.

    Win Blake Stein's Money
    This week's category is: People Who Never Won a Final Four Other Than Roy Williams.

    Who is the only Gold Glove winner to have played in the Final Four, the World Series and the All-Star Game?

    ANSWER: Kenny Lofton.

    Infield Chatter
    "Long live democracy, free speech and the '69 Mets; all glorious, improbable miracles that I have always believed in."
    -- Tim Robbins

    Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.



    Jim Caple Archive

    Nuke and Annie's war stance means no 'Bull'

    Caple: Come together, right now

    Caple: Highway 35 revisited

    Caple: It's time to show true colors


    Politics and Sports
    Tim Robbins comments on the decision to cancel the 15th anniversary celebration of "Bull Durham."
    Standard | Cable Modem

     The Dan Patrick Show
    Actor Tim Robbins says a "Bull Durham" reunion at Cooperstown was cancelled because of the anti-war sentiments of cast members.

    Email story
    Most sent
    Print story

    espn Page 2 index