For Love of the Game

It was fitting that tonight of all nights I noticed this movie was on TV and was able to sit down and watch. It just happened to show up on a day that I spent my last as an employee. A day that the brokerage I worked for earned the top spot again in sales. Art imitating life or life imitating art?

If you haven’t seen the movie it’s from 1999 and stars Kevin Costner who was also in Bull Durham and Field of Dreams. He’s the perfect male lead for baseball movies. He’s got the movie star good looks without being too pretty and is athletic enough to pull it off. He plays a veteran pitcher Billy Chappel who has played 19 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and is pitching his final game in Yankee Stadium. The game turns out to be memorable because he pitches a perfect game on the second to last day of the season.

During the game while on the mound and in the dugout he retells the story of his career and the relationships along the way.  It’s like he’s enjoying a tour down memory lane between innings.  He’s really toying with the batters he’s facing and mowing them down one by one.  He’s beating them with pure tenacity or by outfoxing them with his choice of pitches keeping them confused in the box.  There are batters he admires and respects and those that disgust him.  He is the ultimate professional using every tool he can and every inch of his body and mind to complete the nine innings.

Is this the best baseball movie of all time?  No.  For me on this night is was fitting and it was a story I could relate to.  I didn’t have 19 years in the bigs like Billy Chappel but I had enough to be considered a seasoned veteran.  I had the scars from the injuries over the years and had to come back from them once or twice.  I was part of a team.  I wouldn’t compare mine to the Tigers unless we’re talking about the 1984 Tigers then I would say yes we were the Tigers.

I am a sucker for happy endings and this movie has it.  Not only does Billy Chappel get to leave his career on the perfect game all time high he also gets the girl played by Kelly Preston.  I mean as far as happy endings its romantic comedy sappy but it still gets me enough to make me tear up.  Thanks Billy Chappel for ending it on a high note and reminding me that there can be a better life waiting for you after you end your career.