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 Solar Eclipse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.
Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.
Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union — launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.
Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:
“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”
As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.
I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.