Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Bull Durham (1988)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Bull Durham (1988)

In writer/director Ron Shelton's feature debut, a popular sports/baseball film:

  • the opening line "I believe in the church of baseball" followed by a lengthy speech, delivered by sexy sports groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon): regarding her beloved team - the Durham Bulls of North Carolina; the camera panned over her 'shrine' of framed sports pictures in her house, and then found her putting on makeup in front of a mirror at her dresser. She described her belief in "The Church of Baseball" as she was preparing to leave her house and walk downtown to the local Durham Bulls ballgame: ("I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. (sigh) But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never borin' (giggle) - which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Makin' love is like hittin' a baseball. You just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hittin' under .250, unless he had a lot of RBIs or was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him. And the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. Of course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe - and pretty. Of course, what I give them lasts a lifetime. What they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade, but bad trades are part of baseball. I mean, who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake? 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.")
  • the classic, philosophical speech of veteran journeyman baseball catcher 'Crash' Davis' (Kevin Costner) beliefs to Annie when he was in her living room with fellow dating prospect and moronic ballplayer 'Nuke' LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) and she proposed to "hook up with one guy a season": ("Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hangin' curveball, high fiber, good Scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, over-rated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there oughta 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. Good-night") - and Annie's breathless reply: "Oh my!"
  • the inspired scene in which the team's players at midnight caused a 'rainout' by flooding a field and then played in the muddy, water-soaked ball field
  • the entire infield meeting on the pitcher's mound to discuss wedding gifts for the upcoming marriage of the team's devout Christian, Jimmy (William O'Leary) to amoral groupie Millie (Jenny Robertson), punctuated by irate fast-talking coach Larry Hockett's (Robert Wuhl) suggestion: ("...candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern")
  • also the scenes of erratic pitcher "Nuke" Laloosh knocking down the bull mascot twice and also sending a pitch into the booth of the sports announcer
  • the scene of veteran catcher Crash Davis teaching Nuke the lyrics to his butchered version of "Try a Little Tenderness" on the team bus (instead of "Young girls they do get wearied" he sings: "Young girls they do get woolly")
  • Nuke's interview with TV reporter Raye Anne in a baseball stadium, using words and cliches that Crash had taught him: ("...Anyway, a good friend of mine used to say, 'This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball. You hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.' Think about that for a while")

"I believe in the church of baseball"

Crash's Beliefs and Annie's Response: "Oh my!"

Pitching Mound Discussion

TV Reporter Interview


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