'Bull Durham' 25th Anniversary Stirs Memories

'Bull Durham' 25th Anniversary Stirs Memories
"Bull Durham" changed the way I looked at baseball.

All I knew was that I wanted a man who was sensitive enough to paint my toenails.  In bed. Wearing tighty whities.

I wanted a man who knew what to do when candles were lighted, a bath was drawn, and “60-Minute Man” was playing in the background.

I wanted a man who could deliver, with conviction, these lines:


Well, I believe in the soul, the c**k, the p***y, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe 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, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) Bull Durham

“Oh, my……”

Alison Moran, pretending to be Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon)

Twenty-five years ago, a ‘little movie’ from Orion Pictures changed the way the world looked at minor league baseball.

The triangle-shaped story was also about the relationship of big brother Crash and small-town Nuke.

The triangle-shaped story was also about the relationship of big brother Crash and small-town Nuke.

Bull Durham celebrated the relationship of baseball to small-town America, the mysterious and symbiotic connections between baseball, poetry, and religion, and the molecular chemistry that draws people together and makes them whole.

It also put Durham, North Carolina on the map, and the Durham Bulls square at the center of the baseball world.

The story of a “Baseball Annie” groupie well past her prime, the intelligent but marginally talented career minor leaguer who spent “21 of the greatest days in my life in the Show,” and the nickel-headed, $5 million armed pitcher resonated with audiences who dreamed big, got knocked down, and dared to dream again and again that just maybe, love was real, and talents and ambitions could become realities.

“Think I could make it to the show as a Manager?” asks Crash. “You’d be great, you’d be great!” sobs Annie, tears in her eyes. 

David Ansen said it best in his review for Newsweek magazine. He wrote that the film “works equally as a love story, a baseball fable and a comedy, while ignoring the clichés of each genre.”

“Repeat after me: Women are too strong and too powerful to get lured”

Annie to slut-in-training Millie

But the film, with its quotable quotes, hot-love triangle, and memorable sub-characters like the Baseball Annie-in-training Millie (Jenny Robertson) and Jimmy (William O’Leary) the little movie, which was turned down by every studio in Hollywood, and finally got made for $9 million, clearly spoke to the lover and dreamer in all of us.

It grossed over $50 million in North America.

And, it was a critical success as well: As reported, Sports Illustrated ranked it the #1 Greatest Sports Movie of all time. The Moving Arts Film Journal ranked it #3 on its list of the 25 Greatest Sports Movies of All-Time. In addition, the film is ranked #55 on Bravo’s“100 Funniest Movies.” It is also ranked #97 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years…100 Laughs” list, and #1 on Rotten Tomatoes‘ list of the 53 best reviewed sports movies of all time.

Directed by former minor league ballplayer Ron Shelton, the movie broadly brushed the ins and outs of the minor-league system, from learning the cliches of answering reporters’ questions to figuring out how to breathe through your eyelids.

I was young at the time, but I knew I wanted what Annie Savoy got out of life…wisdom, a young stud through the season, and most of all, Kevin Costner at the end of the rainbow.

It is just hard to believe that this weekend marks 25 years since its release. but indeed, if you can get to North Carolina this weekend, Patrick Kinas, the play-by-play announcer for the triple-AAA team (think Casey Garlin in the movie, only cuter. And a Northwestern grad.), sent me a press release that  said fans of the movie can take part in the Bull Durham 25th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, June 16.

Throughout the 5:05pm game, the Bulls will honor the movie that made them internationally famous. The team will wear Bull Durham era throwback jerseys on the field, while all game entertainment will focus on memorable moments and little known facts from the movie. Fans will have a chance to take photos with the new Bull Durham Racers, unveiled this season as a tribute to the anniversary, and also with the original Bull mascot from the movie.

In the Ballpark Corner Store, themed Bull Durham merchandise will be available for the first time this season.


“It’s a long season and you gotta trust it. I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.


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