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Going to Bat for 'Bull'

July 02, 1988

Allow me to rebut letter writer Nick Newton's essentially irrelevant criticism of "Bull Durham" (Saturday Letters, June 25).

First of all, the film doesn't "purport" to be "about" anything but what it's about: an honest and humorous look at a season in the life of a minor-league ball team, and the characters who inhabit and follow it.

As for its supposed lack of a "wonderful lesson for young people aspiring to a sports career," I don't recall the film ever making any such claims, nor do I think a morality lesson to be a necessary component of any adult entertainment.

Other irrelevant criticisms:

--Susan Sarandon isn't shown teaching school, I assume, because it's the summer, school's out, and the movie isn't about her school-teaching career, anyway.

--Tim Robbins' character isn't pulled when he struggles because he's the organization's top prospect and he's supposed to get his work in, no matter what, a completely typical practice of minor-league baseball. Moreover, his character doesn't struggle for very long.

--The Kevin Costner character is released because the organization knows he's got no future in the majors, he's costing them too much money (as an older player), and he's already served their purposes as a tutor; the organization always needs to make room for fresh, young players, another common minor-league practice. The No. 1 priority of any minor-league team is to develop talent for the majors. Winning is important, of course, but still comes second.

Personal taste need not be explained or justified. If one is to assail a film, however, I think it only fair to get one's facts straight and reasoning clear.



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