Major League - Memories
by Keith Wahl
The feedback from our "At the Movies" series and the coinciding CG Podcast has led us on a path to continue this exploration of the spiritual lessons we can learn from our favorite baseball movies. Enjoy this month's focus on Major League!
There is little to no question that everything I am about to write is going to make me sound old. I don’t have the first clue when it happened or even how it happened, but I’ve officially transitioned out of this generation and into a guy who talks about “the good old days.”
I believe the saddest part of this Information Age in which we live is that we’ve lost the oral culture of baseball. No longer are there generational conversations that start with a young fan asking his father or grandfather, “Did you see (insert legendary baseball player name here) play?” Now, dad or granddad try to engage the young person in a conversation about what he once saw, and the youngster brings up a clip on YouTube unimpressed.
Dang it. There I go sounding old. Just as a spoiler alert, I’m not going to sound any younger as this continues.
My cousin invited me into the inaugural season of the Broomfield Baseball League, a fantasy baseball league comprised of his friends (about 10 years my senior) and me, in the spring of 1989. I remember a lot, far too much to be honest, about that draft. For example, the National League chapter was named the Darren Daulton League because Daulton was the first player brought up for auction - a terribly humorous and dubious opening to drafts that would continue for over a decade. This was not All-Star Darren Daulton of the early ‘90s, this was the Darren Daulton who hit .208 with 1 HR and 12 RBI the previous season.
As memorable as that draft and many more were, it was the night before that is etched in my memory. My cousin brought me to the mall where I purchased my first official fitted Boston Red Sox hat - a choice I would regret during the draft the next day as all of the other owners drove up prices on the likes of Roger Clemens, Mike Greenwell, Sam Horn, and Ellis Burks. I mean, come on guys, I was 15 years old. Brutal entry into adulthood. After the trip to the mall, he took me to see Major League. I’m not sure any baseball movie holds a more cherished spot in my memory just because of all that was happening around it. I’m hanging out with my cousin, I’ve got a new hat, the draft is the next day, and we’re watching what turns out to be one of the classic baseball movies of all time. It is a cherished memory.
I wonder if we take enough time reflecting on the past. Every time I see Major League, I do just that. But do we, as people of faith take enough time to understand the importance of looking backwards has on our faith? Stop and think about the purpose of the Old Testament. Yes, for those of us who believe in Jesus, it is the collection of stories about God, His people, and the prophecies that point us to Christ. But for the Jewish people, it was (and is) a way of remembering who they were, a reminder of from where they came, and the Creator who was faithful in all. There’s an importance of sharing by generations and we should not shy away from that. If we don’t share our stories of God, of Jesus, and of baseball, they all have the potential of dying out. Think about how important it is to share your stories and your memories of each.
What are my favorite memories of Major League? The piano of the opening song and the lyrics. The unbelievable number of quotable lines in the movie (“This guy here is dead…”). The fact that I look at Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger as Ricky Vaughn and Jake Taylor no matter the movie. What are my favorite memories about God and Jesus? Probably this moment as I sit on my couch looking backwards at the incredible journey we’ve been on together. How he brought me my wife. How he gave us two incredible kids. And how baseball continues to be a part of my daily walk with my family and our Lord.