This is how Lane used to bring it to the plate…
1. Lane Change
In 2005 Jason Lane was an outfielder who hit 26 home runs and drove in 78 runs for a Houston Astros squad that advanced to the World Series. Nine years later, and in just a few hours, Lane, now 37, will make his Major League pitching debut for the San Diego Padres.
Lane, who did pitch as a collegian at USC, where he helped the Trojans to a 1998 College World Series championship –Southern Cal defeated Arizona State 21-14 in championship game (not a typo) — has not appeared in a Major League game since 2007. But he will take the hill for today’s 12:10 start today at Turner Field versus Atlanta.
And this is how he’ll do so this afternoon
Lane will be the oldest man to make his first Major League start since Troy Percival did in 2007 at the age of 38–but Percival had appeared in hundreds of games as an All-Star caliber reliever. No, if Lane completes five innings today, he’ll be the oldest pitcher to make his Major League debut and go that long since the legendary Leroy “Satchel” Paige did so for the Cleveland Indians in 1948 at the age of 42.
2. Hail, Mary
The mark of Cain: Mary bruises another finish line tape
With less than 250 meters remaining in the Women’s 3000 at the World Junior Track & Field Championships in Eugene this weekend, 18 year-old Mary Cain of Bronxville, N.Y. (who now lives and trains in Portland) trailed not one but TWO Kenyan runners.
And if you’ve been paying any attention to distance or middle-distance running the past 30 years, that should mean third place at best. Instead, as you are able to see in this video, Cain jostles past one and then blows by the other with about 200 to 180 meters remaining, and then kicks it home for the win. Cain broke the tape in a personal best 8:58:48, winning by two seconds.
“There was a lot of jostling,” Cain told the The Associated Press. “I know I’m supposed to keep running, but I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry!’”
Cain is simply the most gifted U.S. female middle-distance running prodigy since the greatest this nation has ever produced, also named Mary: Mary Decker (later Mary Slaney).
3. He Said, She Tweeted
ESPN: Let’s give two outspoken, brash people 30 minutes a day to expound at length on sports and society. What could possibly go wrong?
Without getting into everything that Screamin’ A. Smith said about Ray Rice and domestic violence on First Ache last Friday and then what fellow ESPN daytime gabfest contributor Michelle Beadle tweeted in response –you may review if you like here and here–, allow me to make two points:
1) Any supposed condemnation you make of domestic violence evaporates as soon as you add the conditional “having said that” or “but….” It just does. In Smith’s case, he said, “But I’ve tried to employ to the female members of my family…”
Unless you unequivocally state, “I am 100% against ever striking a female, no conditions attached,” you are leaving the door open for someone to think that deep in your mind you are thinking, “But in this case, she may have deserved it.”
Screamin’ A would decry this as false. Doesn’t matter (and he may seem a little insincere after you read this). As long as you send out the message that there are times a woman might want to hold her tongue, or not provoke a male, you are really telling females, “Hey, nature’s nature. You gotta know better.”
Screamin’ A, and all people, need to understand that there’s a difference between WHAT YOU SAY and WHAT PEOPLE HEAR. If a white male is accused of racism and defends himself by saying, “I have lots of black friends,” does any black person hear that and think, “Oh, okay. He’s cool?”
I think not.
2. Beadle is going to be at least suspended by Disney as she should be. As anyone who has ever stepped foot in a pro sports locker room knows (and Beadle has), a huge maxim with all franchises is, “What you see here, what you hear here, what you say here, let it stay here.” In short, if Beadle has a problem with a fellow ESPN colleague’s point of view –and he’s paid to have a point of view on camera –pick up the phone and call him. Or email him. At WORST, send him a Direct Message. That’s why Twitter has that function.
You have a daily television show on ESPN, Michelle. Just like Screamin’ A. Only it’s not quite as unctuous, only more insipid. Maybe you use that forum to rebuke what he said.
Beadle already wore out here welcome at NBC by thinking that the rules of the game did not apply to her. She just took a very false step at ESPN on Friday. In this case, I’m sorry, it’s not about domestic violence. It’s about betraying a co-worker. You don’t take that ish into a public forum. And you don’t have to be wishy-washy on violence against women to feel Beadle deserves a suspension. There’s a forum for her to tell Screamin’ A. she disagrees, and Twitter is NOT it.
4. FOX and Not Friends
You guys had 8 days to make this right –and you didn’t. Why don’t you all take the next few plays off?
I love how FOX handled the Erin Andrews-WEEI kerfuffle. Seriously.
FOX remained silent as on-air misogynist Kirk Minihane first referred to Erin Andrews as a “gutless bitch” on WEEI Boston’s “Dennis and Callahan” morning show on July 16 in reference to her dugout interview with Adam Wainwright during the All-Star Game. FOX gave Minihane and WEEI time to make it right.
WEEI “made it right” by announcing that Minihane had taken a few days off to attend a wedding, then hailed his “triumphant return.” This was last Wednesday, during which Minihane apologized for his choice of words but then added that Andrews is in over her head intellectually, saying that if she “weighed 15 pounds more she would be a waitress.”
In the words of one of my favorite New Englanders, Geno Auriemma, “What a dope.”
And even then, FOX waited a day or two.
Great body, but not of work
THEN Eric Shanks, president of FOX Sports, dropped the hammer, informing Entercom, parent company of WEEI, that it would no longer advertise on any of its stations or allow FOX personalities to be guests.
Brilliant. And decisive.
And if I’m WEEI, I get rid of both Minihane and the clueless station manager who allowed a toxic situation to fester. And I hope Kirk enjoys being a waiter. I can give him some advice on that.
I’m no fan of Andrews. When she said to Wainwright, “Social media is a marvelous thing,” it sounded like the head cheerleader telling the quarterback, “They all hate us because they’re sooo jealous of us.” Andrews has never understood that because, I feel, deep down she really does think she’s better than everybody except the cool jocks and exceedingly wealthy. That’s how she comes across. That’s how she always comes across. She’s what we would have called in high school, “Stuck-up.”
Still, that’s no excuse for what Minihane said or how WEEI handled it.
5. Joba the Hutt
Joba Chamberlain: Making plenty of appearances for Detroit this season, but apparently not overly concerned with his own.
The Film Room with Chris Corbellini
In which our intrepid reviewer –who sometimes scales tall escalators to bring you these reviews–waxes profound on Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.”
BOYHOOD *** (out of four)
By Chris Corbellini
The first shot of BOYHOOD settles gently on a 7-year-old actor named Ellar Coltrane staring up at a wide, blue Texas sky, and in the final one, the camera finds Coltrane now as an 18-year-old man, regarding another lovely Lone Star State afternoon with a giggly college girl at his side — a moment of natural and (I think) chemical bliss. In between we watch Coltrane grow up, literally grow up on camera, while his character absorbs the bumps and bruises of several broken marriages and finds his identity. “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment?,” the girl says. “I don’t know. I’m kinda thinkin’ it’s the other way around. You know, like, the moment seizes us.”
That is director Richard Linklater’s summation, and he probably had that line in his back pocket before he started filming in 2002. As she says it you get that unmistakable feeling that the film is about to end, after all our invested time with the same lead, and at that moment I wondered if the making of this movie was more interesting than the movie itself. The character Coltrane plays, a boy named Mason, was a good-natured, video-game-playing little love bug, an innocent gradually tainted and strengthened by the events of his life. Maybe that’s how it went for the actor in real life. Maybe being a part of a movie every year for 12 years, having all these moments on camera, has altered his own life in more interesting ways than a screenplay could ever hope to project. If they ever make a documentary about the making of BOYHOOD, I’ll be the first person in line or online to buy a ticket.
Linklater got lucky the kid was game throughout the whole shoot. They filmed chapters of Mason’s story every year for over a decade, writing as they went along. If Coltrane wanted to bail because it was too much work, or if he became self-absorbed from all the attention, or turned into a typical teenager that believed grown-ups were hypocrites, all those years of sweat equity would be for nothing. In the brilliant “Up” series, those documentaries charting the real lives of the same British citizens every seven years, director Michael Apted had the most trouble interviewing his subjects in their early teens, with some leaving the project altogether until they were fully-formed people. Linklater’s daughter Lorelei played the older sister character Samantha, and I read that she got so tired of being in the movie she asked her father to be killed off. You can see her petulance in the high school years, sporting punk rocker red hair with a smug look on her face at one point. But even that was a lucky bounce – that’s how some teenage girls act.
The creative team anchored all that uncertainty with sure bets cast as the divorced parents. The father is played by Ethan Hawke, at this point Linklater’s doppelganger (look at a picture of Hawke in BEFORE MIDNIGHT and compare it to a photo of Linklater, the resemblance is striking), who is used to revisiting the same characters in the trilogy of BEFORE movies. Patricia Arquette, who has never been asked to do something this ambitious before, portrays the mom. She was the standout. The artist formerly known as Alabama Worley has the most impressive transformation in the film while keeping her sh-tty taste in men intact. It must have been something for Linklater to have the outline in his head, a sketch of what he wanted to accomplish, then watch all these performers spike his punch bowl with such verve and life.
Linklater, Coltrane, Hawke and Arquette
While on the subject of spiking drinks, let’s discuss the occasionally boozy plot. After a bitter, off-screen breakup with Hawke and a fight with a current boyfriend, Arquette, in hot mama mode, decides to sell her home (nice detail: the lawn has not been mowed in weeks, a domestic example of how she felt overwhelmed), move closer to her mother in Houston and go to college, with both her kids in tow. There’s a tough moment early when the young boy is driving away for good and his friend waves goodbye, and some tall grass obscures the wave. It’s played and shot as if it were more memory than matter-of-fact scene: he may not remember what the friend looked like today, but he sure remembers that grass. There would be more goodbyes. The meat of the middle of the picture is Arquette’s second marriage to a snarky professor who hides his vodka behind the laundry detergent, and finally, when her children’s lives are in danger, they bolt as a family. A third marriage comes and goes, but at least as the kids sprout up, the mother grinds her way to becoming a well-respected professor herself, filling her home with culturally rich and educated people. The dad? He doesn’t grind away at it at all, and when he reels off some baseball statistics at a Houston Astros game, with Roger Clemens on the mound, one of the kids asks “Do you have a job?” He doesn’t. But the Hawke character finds his way in the end, too, and offers great advice to the son about girls, and genuine warmth to the daughter when talking about sex.
If this story played out with older actors playing the parts as the story progresses, it would be a decent coming-of-age drama with two basic themes: 1) hard work gives you a shot at a better life, but it doesn’t necessarily make you happy and 2) your kids should come first, always and forever. By the end of the film Arquette, after all those years toiling as a single and not-so-single mom, is a triumph to outside observers. They even fit in a scene where a restaurant manager tells her two teenage kids, who are seated around a table, that their mother inspired him to reach for a better life. Still, Arquette’s final line comes from deep in her world-weary bones: “I thought there would be more than this.” The dad, meanwhile, who didn’t possess the same go-getter attitude about a career, has a new family, an understanding second wife, and some financial security. It’s not fair by comparison, but you can’t say it’s not true to life, and again, both provided enough solid parenting to guide two good kids into maturing into good people.
Of course, this isn’t a simple coming-of-ager destined for afternoon viewings on HBO. It’s an experiment, sprinkled casually with cultural milestones that would be important to adolescents as the Oughts passed us all by. The mobile phones get smarter, the music is familiar with that time, two Harry Potter books are involved, there is some President Bush bashing and later, support for President-to-be Obama, and Linklater can’t help but plop in that one Funny or Die sketch that practically invented the concept of viral content. And as always those kids are right there in front of us, with Samantha towering over Mason until he had a growth spurt late in the movie. The supporting cast ages too, obviously, and I enjoyed the family friend who helped Arquette during her confrontation with jerk-ff husband No. 2 getting another scene during Mason’s high school graduation, older and softer and beaming with pride.
No doubt BOYHOOD started as a big idea, and something I feel a community of artists in Austin, where most of this movie was shot, would discuss passionately at a late-night dinner party or diner. But the director put the rubber to the road and painstakingly made it happen. That should be celebrated, and I suspect critics and audiences and Hollywood insiders alike will enjoy the end result. Out of all the talented directors working out there today, I think there’s no one I’d rather have a late-night beer with than Linklater. But here’s the rub: I wouldn’t ask him about how the ending with the college girl isn’t an ending at all, just another moment in Mason’s life. I’d ask about the process of capturing Coltrane’s life on camera. Yes, I liked the story well enough. But I love how the story came to pass.