Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Nintendo and Why I Love Minor League Baseball

Bull Durham is one of the best baseball films ever made.  It's one of the classics like Major League, Bang the Drum Slowly, For the Love of the Game, Fear Strikes Out, and Pride of the Yankees (not a complete list by any means).  One of the things that separates it from those other films is that it is a story about Minor League baseball players who play for the Durham Bulls.  The Bulls are currently Tampa Bay's Triple A affiliate, but were an Atlanta Braves Single-A team at the time of the film.  The film's protagonist "Crash" Davis is a long time minor league veteran who had been playing AAA and is sent down to Single-A to season a pitching phenom.

"Crash" may be the protagonist, but the Minor Leagues are the spotlight character of the film.  If you follow the background dialogue, you get to hear about many of the unique events and promotions that happen in the minors.  Taco nights, Little League Nights, "Clowns of Baseball," hot dog eating contests, and a lot of other classic small town activities abound in their mentions.  Add to that baseball that is played at a level much better than most of us ever played the game, but clumsy in comparison to the play in "the show" and you have a perfect demonstration of why baseball continues to capture the American imagination.  Yes, home runs in the Majors and phenoms like Mike Trout are awe inspiring to watch, but games played by the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes which open with FUNTAINMENT are Americana at its best.  They are filled with hope, inspiration, and the delusion that if we'd only listened to our High School coaches a little more often, that we too might have a fun career.  As Willie Stargell said,  "It's supposed to be fun, the man says 'Play Ball' not 'Work Ball' you know.

And fun is what it looks like the players of the Dunedin Blue Jays are having.  They recently qualified for the playoffs, and have taken this as an opportunity to create a unique season highlight video.  They have created a fictional Nintendo Entertainment System baseball game that depicts their recent accomplishment.  The video is a good deal of fun, and shows once more why I love Minor League Baseball.

It brings back memories of the 8-Bit version of the infamous Bill Buckner World Series moment.

No comments: