Jason Lane has not hit a home run in the big leagues since 2007. Heck, he was out of the bigs for the past seven years too, only recently resurfacing as a relief pitcher. Yet a home run of his will be featured in a movie coming out soon.
The movie: “Boyhood,” the new movie from Richard Linklater of “Dazed and Confused” and “Before Sunrise” fame. The flick seems crazy-ambitious: it was filmed over 12 years with the same boy Ellar Coltrane, playing the lead role from age 6 to age 18, being shot a few days at a time on an annual basis. One year, they filmed a scene with Coltrane and Ethan Hawke, who plays the boy’s father. It takes place at an Astros game and they actually filmed it during a real Astros game. During filming, Lane gave them a gift. From Salon’s interview with Linklater, following a question about the level of improvisation in the film:
I was thinking about that scene at the Astros game, where that guy hits a home run. You couldn’t possibly have known that was going to happen.
Yeah, I just — in the script, it says “At Astros game.” There’s little dialogue: “Hey, Dad, do you have a job?” That’s all kind of worked out, but where to fit it in and how to do that, no. That was a wonderful collaboration with the unknown, and the film gods were with us. I’m pointing my camera for one inning, and the Astros are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball at this time. I’m pointing my camera down the third base line, basically the point of view of my people. I’m just saying, well, let’s just hope something happens. I need something! And then Jason Lane, who’s my favorite player of all time now, hits a home run. It’s not out of the frame, it’s not to center or right. It’s right down the line, in the shot. You know, it wasn’t planned, but it just happened.
I hope if “Boyhood” is nominated for an Academy Award that Lane gets an invite to the ceremony. With Adam Dunn going to the ceremony this year and maybe Lane next year, we could have a cool tradition on our hands.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.