Wednesday, June 18, 2008

they bunt in heaven too

From the Archive:

October 5, 2004: On “Field of Dreams”

Speaking of the briefest of appearances, and not counting virtual particle creation/annihilation, perhaps you'll recall doc moonlight graham, the elderly incarnation of whom was portrayed by Burt Lancaster in field of dreams.

All that doc graham regrets in his life of being a Samaritan is not getting an at bat in the big leagues, after coming so close. It is incumbent on ray (Kevin costner) to ease his pain. So magically the ghost of moonlight graham appears as his young self, on the side of the highway, prepared to get that one at bat. After winking at the pitcher and receiving a fastball at the noggin, doc graham lines out to right, for a sacrifice fly that drives in a run.

After accomplishing his goal, ray's daughter falls off the bleachers and chokes on her hot dog. She will die, but doc graham steps off the field, thereby foregoing his eternal future as a ballplayer, in order to become the doctor who can save the girl, and does so.

Doc graham ironically enough never actually got his at bat. A sacrifice fly, you see, is not an at bat. Fittingly, however, is that in so doing, he advanced the cause of his team through sacrifice. And appropriately, he does not receive credit for an at bat, which he will now never achieve; just as Socrates facilitates knowledge in others, but has none of his own, so too must the doctor simply facilitate the process, and sacrifice his own personal desires and goals to play the role of life-saver, at all hours and at all costs, which includes ensuring that a runner scores from third with less than 2 outs. Moonlight graham is permanently a facilitator, never at true participant, and will remain so in perpetuity.

But what is more important, for my purposes, is that the rules of baseball transcend the material world and apply to the fantastical world of ghosts. Even eternal immutable substances only get three strikes, and sacrifice flies still don't count as at bats.

Even where physics no longer reigns, sabermetrics ordains.

And ghost don't cheat. Neither should you.


becca said...

Tonight we watched Field of Dreams. Jonah cried the whole way through. The symbolic content of movies, he claims, is worthy of tears. However, few events/experiences in his daily life are. I wonder, what could be more poignant and moving than our love for each other? huh? Isn't that worthy of a few tears?

Soxlosophy said...

quiet you.