Not just "The Simpsons"

If it’s almost time for the baseball season, it’s obviously time for various networks to break out whatever Kevin Costner baseball movies they have in the videotape library. Over the weekend, Turner Classic Movies presented “Field of Dreams,” and Encore countered with “Bull Durham.”

I hadn’t seen “Field of Dreams” since it was in theaters 15 years ago, and I had completely forgotten about the “road trip to Boston to kidnap James Earl Jones” part of the plot. If nothing else, it made me want to play catch with my father. I mean the movie as a whole, not just the part about kidnapping James Earl Jones.

Now, “Bull Durham” reminds me of my summers from 1987 to 1990 in the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s Summer Residential Program, which I see they’re now calling The Academy for Summer Studies. I actually went to a Durham Bulls game as a “field trip” in 1989, but didn’t see the movie for a few years after that, because its R-rated content would have been too much for my tender young mind.

I will quibble with the depiction in “Bull Durham” of an out-of-town game being recreated using sound effects, in a movie supposedly taking place in the present day, although I guess they were trying to give it a timeless quality. But I’m reasonably certain that, by 1987, even small-town radio stations broadcasting Class A minor-league games had advanced as far as broadcasting out-of-town games via a telephone hookup. (Durham kind of seemed like a small town at the time, although I only saw limited portions of it. From what I can tell from afar, these days, it’s no longer like that. Even the Bulls are now in a newer, bigger stadium near the Interstate, and jumped to Class AAA.)