As baseball is now in postseason, I thought it fitting to perhaps play the famous (but fictional) Roy Hobbs homer that clinches the league pennant for the New York Knights in the 1984 movie The Natural. Barnard Malmud originally wrote Hobbs as anti-hero and in the end makes an unwise choice unlike the movie. For the movie, the director decided to remake Hobbs with elements of Greek and Arthurian stories weaved in. The Greek gods famously put down mortals who dared to think they were on their level (called hubris meaning excessive pride). And Hobbs’ journey in the movie reflects that kind of Greek story of a man who reaches too high, falls back to Earth, and then learns to become better than he was before without the hubris.
Hobbs has been tempted in the movie to throw the game. The Judge, Gus and his gal (who is closely allied with Gus, the Arnold Rothstein of this movie). But he realizes after talking with Iris (a friend from his youth who he was close with and the father of her child)he can still do a lot with his remaining time before a forced retirement (his stomach needed to heal from a silver bullet left in years before when he was shot by a woman desiring to kill men who sought greatness). So he tells the Judge to shove it and throws the money back. They think he will fail. And at first it does not look like he will make it. As the trio looks down thinking Hobbs will loose the game, he takes the bat he made with the teams bat boy called the Savoy Special and delivers a hit never to be forgotten in that fictional baseball world. And the music from the movie is often used when they introduce players of note in ballparks or when awards are given.
The Ship That Might Be Built
The most interesting news in a while is that Titanic II is possibly back on again. A spokesman for Clive Palmer’s Blue Star Line told a newspaper that it will be built by late 2018. This follows a string of reports over the year that it was not on. Palmer has had problems getting Chinese investors, the shipyard in China appears reluctant, but worse is his spat with the Chinese government that would doom it completely. The recent news comes from a Middle Eastern news agency. That would suggest that perhaps Palmer is rounding up investors there and that it could be built there. China is already building its own Titanic replica for a theme park so they might not be interested in building one for Palmer. Will it be built? Many doubt it will and until actual construction begins all we have are words floating around the air.
The famous Krakatoa eruption occurred 132 years ago and still fascinates those who study volcanoes. What made this eruption remarkable were a couple of things. It was the first eruption that got instant media attention. Thanks to underwater telegraph cables, the world learned about the devastating eruptions of 26-27 Aug 1883 within hours. People forget that before there was an internet and telephones were still a marvel, it was the telegraph that alerted people to news and other things. Underwater cables, which used a particular rubber from Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) to protect them, made telegraph transmission faster than the old overland route that took a long while. The eruption pushed forward the science of volcanoes and their effects. It confirmed that small bits of volcanic matter thrust into the atmosphere (something that happened when Tambora erupted in 1815 causing the “Year Without A Summer” in the west) would hang around for a long time causing global effects. The massive pressure of the islands eruption was measured on barometers nearby and far, far away. The huge tsunami was also measured quite a distance away as well (though greatly reduced in strength in many cases). Krakatoa spurred more investigation into understanding how our world works geologically speaking. It came at a terrible price with over 36,000 dead.
Baseball Movie: The Natural(1984)
Bernard Malmud’s antihero story was transformed into a more positive story about its central character Roy Hobbs. The movie sought to create a wonderful mythological story with elements of Greek and Arthurian elements. When it was first released, it got mixed reviews from critics and baseball fans. I had a chance to view a new edition of the movie that has put back the scenes deleted from the theatrical run. This director’s edition adds a lot more depth to the movie (it has a lot more background information about Hobb’s). And the extras include interviews about the movie, the book it is based on, and other information most will like. It works. I thoroughly enjoyed this edition and cheered when Hobb’s hits the lights at the end of the movie.
1. A few months ago it was reported that rubber blocks bearing the name “Tjipetir’” had been found on beaches in the UK. Tjipetir is the name of an early 20th century Indonesian rubber plantation. Since rubber from this plantation was cargo on Titanic, it was speculated that it might be from the wreck. Others think it unlikely and possibly from other shipwrecks. While that mystery continues, the New Post Leader has a story about a young boy who found such a block recently at the beach. Eight year old Matthew Sayer found the mysterious rubber block and brought it home. His father did an Internet search and came up with the information about the rubber plantation. Apparently a group has been formed on the matter, the Tjipetir Mystery group. I will try to find out more about this group.
2. Stan Fraser started collecting nautical items for his home. This led to collecting a lot of items over the years and led him to build an 88ft-long model of Titanic built from “parts of a caravan, portholes he picked up at a scrap yard and items such as creels, nets and buoys”, reports the Herald Scotland. His Titanic museum was known locally but much got wider notice in TripAdvisor when people began posting about it. So now Fraser’s museum is a place to visit if your near Inverness in Scotland. And from the photos, worth a visit.
3. Amy’s Baking Company Update
There are rumors that Crazy Amy and Samy the Hammer have done a pilot for a reality show. Whether true or not, it makes one laugh. It tells how desperate they are to get publicity. Going the reality show route, they hope, will clean up their image. I doubt it would work considering the tons of bad press they have. And there is something interesting that popped up. Radar Online got a contract that Amy’s Baking Company now requires its employees to use. You can read it here. Now many employers do have contracts or codes of conduct they want employees to sign. And some places require you to not reveal proprietary information to another employer when you leave. Amy’s contract requires that if you leave, whether voluntary or not, you cannot work for a competitor within a 50 mile radius of ABC for one year without their permission. Now it is common in some industries, like broadcasting, that you cannot jump ship to another station until the contract term is complete. It seems unusual to put such a burden on common restaurant servers. That might be reasonable for head chefs so they do not compete against in another restaurant. Restaurant turnover is usually high and this contract might not pass muster if it gets before a judge if they get sued.
Oh and in case you are wondering, yes they now clearly say you give up any chance for tips. All tips belong to the house and you get paid $8.00 an hour. That still does not get them off the hook for what happened prior and it still may run into legal problems down the road.
4. While listening to a Giant’s game recently, Jon Miller noted of the darkening clouds in Denver and then a lightning strike nearby. Dave Fleming said it reminded him of a scene in The Natural(1984), a great baseball movie. The Natural is a baseball fable about a guy on his way to stardom that gets set back by being shot by a stalker, and returns to the game later in life. I will stop there as you ought to see the movie with Robert Redford. While some of the story is the same as the book, it has a very different ending. A much better one that elevates this movie into a great baseball movie. Other great baseball movies to consider: Field of Dreams (1989 ), For Love of the Game(1999), and The Rookie(2002).