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I toss the ball to my friend Eric, and he catches it, big-knuckled and loose-limbed. To paraphrase Raymond Carver, what we talk about when we talk about baseball is nothing less than a conversation, by turns loving and competitive, about manhood itself. Like all men who weren't good enough, I envy that look. He tosses the ball back, but for him, it's not the same. ." The Chicago "Black" Sox left-fielder was forever suspended from major league baseball for his part in a scheme to fix the 1919 World Series. Kinsella’s book "Shoeless Joe," is about a lot more than baseball.
(American, 1989, 107 minutes, color, 16 mm) Directed by Phil Alden Robinson Cast: Kevin Costner . "I’ve deferred life for my career," says the unmarried director. After studying political science at Union College in Schenectady, Robinson worked briefly as a journalist and then for many years produced, wrote and directed industrial and educational films.
This is not just idol philosophizing: Robinson himself is ready to look inward, to focus on friends and family. "Read my lips," he says, "no more movies." By doing so, Robinson will be walking away from Hollywood—if only temporarily—at a time when his career is taking off.
"We’ve deferred what it means to be grown-ups," including marriage and children. Robinson is taking a year-long sabbatical to focus on friends, family, relationships.
"We’re now going through a second coming of age," the director says.
Lock-outs, teams holding up cities for new stadiums, Croesus-like owners pleading poverty, the home town slugger skipping to a new team every time the crocuses bloom; increasingly, we know that baseball isn't a metaphor for life, but simply life itself, complete with cleats and a jockstrap.
Baseball has always, even in the golden years that are the subject of, been a business, often a notably cruel one. You and your father speak of what might happen next -- a bunt, a steal, a hit-and-run. You've brought your glove, in case you're asked to field a foul ball. That, too, is part of the Robinson theory on the baby-boom generation. "Taking that step into the void symbolized who we are, our legacy of the 60s." But Robinson also makes sure that Costner’s character finds much of his dream at home, in his wife (Amy Madigan) and daughter (Gaby Hoffman). In baseball, Ray Kinsella finds redemption for himself by connecting his own baseball past with the game's own mythic figures. The story of "Ray Kinsella's" (Kevin Costner) crusade to bring a perfect ballyard to his Iowa cornfield is an unashamed parable of male longing, an excusably sexist paean to a universe untroubled by the emasculating realities of corporate economics, and by the withering of skill that comes with age. You have gone to this man's place with your father, and you have begun to find your own voice in that distinctively male discourse composed of one part bravado, one part leg-pulling, and one part regret, that way of being male that is simultaneously loud and silent. In this green place in the city, on this summer afternoon, you have known both hope and despair, faith and cynicism. Finally, you speak of what might have happened, as you leave the park sunburned and sticky, bloated with too many Cokes and hot dogs, and serenely happy. You speak of what just happened -- a triple off the wall in left center, a force play at second, a called strike right down the pipe.