Screenplay and

Direction by

Ron Shelton


Scene 1: The Church of Baseball [Scene runs from 1:16 to 3:13. For those with DVDs, it begins one minute and 16 seconds into ch. 1.]

As Annie prepares to go out, putting on her make-up and fixing her hair, camera shows pictures of baseball scenes hanging on the wall of her house, including one of a young woman's baseball team.

Annie: (voiceover): I believe in the church of baseball. I tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I worshiped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan . I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary, and 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that I gave Jesus a chance. 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 is no guilt in baseball. And it's never boring. Which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer who slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball. You just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under 250, unless he had a lot of RBI's and was a great glove man up the middle.

(leaving the house)
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 among them I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman. And the guys are so sweet; they always stay and listen. Of course a guy will 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 life time. What they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball. Who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake. It's a long season, and you've got to trust it.

I've tried them all. I really have. And the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in and day out, is the church of baseball.

She arrives at a baseball stadium.

Scene 2: Lesson Number One [The scene runs from 14:08 to16:58. For those with DVDs, it occurs in the three minutes of ch. 4.]

We are introduced to Ebby Calvin LaLoosh, a new rookie for the minor league team, the Durham Bulls, who has a major league fastball but major problems with his control. In his first game, he sets a new league record of walks as well as strike outs. We also meet an older player, Crash Davis, who is invited to join the team for the purpose of "maturing the kid." Insulted, Crash immediately quits, but then decides to stay.

Scene in nightclub. Annie and a friend are having a drink, when Crash sends them a round. Her friend tells Annie that Crash is "really different, I saw him read a book without pictures once," and calls him over to meet Annie. When Ebby joins them, the two men quarrel over who will dance with Annie.

Annie: You guys gonna fight over little ol' me.

Ebby: (to Crash) Step outside and party, man.

Annie: Don't be such guys.

Annie dances with her friend, while Crash watches.

Ebby: (to Crash) You comin' or not, homeboy?

The men go outside, and a crowd follows them.

Crash: Look, I don't believe in fighting, all right? Let's just {crowd boos and laughs) (to Ebby): All right, take the first shot at me.

Ebby: No way, I don't hit no man first.

Crash: (taking a baseball from inside his jacket)
All right, then, hit me in the chest with that. (Throws him the baseball.)

Ebby: I'd kill you.

Crash: From what I hear you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a *** boat. (laughter) Throw it, come on, throw it. Right in the chest.

Ebby: No way.

Crash: Come on, Meat. You're not going to hit me because you're starting to think about it already. You start think how embarrassing it would be to miss in front of all these people, how somebody might laugh. Come on, rook, show us that million dollar arm, because I have a good idea of that five cent head of yours.

Crowd: Hit'm, man.

Ebby throws and hits the window.

Crash: Ball four.

Ebby: (angry) Who the *** are you?

Ebby rushes at Crash, but Crash hits him with his fist, knocking him down onto a pile of boxes behind the club.

Ebby: Good punch (putting his hands over his face).

Crash: I'm Crash Davis, and I'm your new catcher. And you just got lesson number one. Don't think, It can only hurt the ball club. He goes over to him, offers his hand, and helps him up. Come inside and I'll buy you a drink. Turns and goes back inside.

A guy from the audience comes over and hands Ebby his jacket.
Ebby: My new catcher (smiling) (follows him into the club)

Scene 3: A Dubious Honor [The scene runs from 30:00 to 32:25. For those with DVDs, it occurs at the beginning of ch. 9.]

Crash is at the batting cage with Annie. She is hitting balls in the cage.
Annie (giving him a lesson on what is wrong with his swing): Did you see my hips?

Crash: Yep.

Annie: And I think Susan Sontag is brilliant.

Crash: So is this going to happen? Us?

Annie: I'm committed to Nuke [Ebby's new nickname which Annie gave to him] for the season. You had your chance the other day.

Crash: What is it you see in this guy? He's a young, wild, dim, pretty boy.

Annie: Young men are uncomplicated And he's not dim. He's just inexperienced. It's my job to give him life wisdom, and then help him get on to the major leagues.

Crash: Funny, that's my job too.

Annie swings and misses. Crash laughs.
Crash: You're pulling your hips.

Annie: I know. I know. I know.
(turning around to face him) But they're nice hips. I looked up your records.

Crash: You, what?

Annie: You hit 220 home runs in the minors. That's not bad.

Crash: Don't tell anybody.

Annie: Why not? If you hit twenty more this year, you're going to be the all-time minor league champion. The record is 246.

Crash : Well, 247 home runs in the minor league would be a kind of dubious honor.

Annie: I think it would be great. The Sports News should know about it.

Crash: No, just no. Please.

Annie: OK

Crash: Last chance, your place or mine?

Annie: In spite of my rejection of most Judeo-Christian ethics, I am, within the framework of the baseball season, monogamous.

Crash: (annoyed) Give me a break.

Annie: It's true.

Crash: Stop it. The fact is, you're afraid of meeting a guy like me. Because it might be real. So you sabotage it with some bull shit about commitment to a young boy you can boss around. That's a great deal.

(Crash, who is now batting, hits one the balls.)

Annie: Nice.

Crash: I know women like you. You're a regular patron saint. Stray cats, lost causes. Or six foot, three inch homeless studs.

Annie: Oh, Crash, you do make speeches.
Crash laughs

Scene 4: Shaking off the Catcher [The scene runs from 35:28 to 38:50. For those with DVDs, it begins two minutes into ch. 10.]

The Durham Bulls are playing a particularly poor game, and Nuke's pitching is off.

Crash: Time out. (walks toward the pitcher's mound, and speaks to Nuke:) Hey, relax, all right? Don't try to strike out everybody. Strike outs are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls. It's more democratic. (He turns and walks back to the catcher's position.)

Nuke: (to himself) What's this guy know anyway? If he's so great, how come he's been in the minors for ten years? If he's so hot, how come Annie wants me instead of him?

Crash: (walking back to the mound) Hey, and another thing, Meat, you don't know shit. You wanna make it to the Show, you'll listen to me. Annie only wants you ‘cause she can boss you around. Got it? (Louder, to his teammates in the field:) Let's have some fun out here. This game's fun, ok? (to Crash:) Fun, goddamn it. And don't hold the ball so hard. It's an egg. Hold it like an egg.

Nuke (to himself again): What's he know about fun? I'm young. I know about fun. An old man. He don't know nothin' about fun.

Crash: (behind the plate again:) All right. Nobody's goin' out there.(Crash calls for a curve ball.)

Nuke: (to himself:) Why's he calling for a curve ball? I want to bring heat. Shake him off. Throw what you want.

Crash gives Nuke the sign for the pitch, Nuke shakes his head again. Crash walks to the mound.

Crash: Why are you shaking me off?

Nuke: I want to bring the heater. Announce my presence with authority.

Crash: (indignantly) To announce what?

Nuke: My presence with authority.

Crash: (with disgust) To announce your *** presence with authority! This guys a first ball fastball hitter, looking for the heat.

Nuke: So what? He ain't seen my heat.

Crash: All right, Meat. Give him your heat. (He walks back to his place behind the plate.)

Nuke: Why's he always calling me Meat? I'm the guy driving a Porsche.

Crash: (to the batter at the plate:) Fastball.

Nuke throws it, and batter hits a home run, which hits the picture of the Durham Bull. The Bull roars and smoke comes from his mouth. The batter stands here, watching.

Crash: What are you doing standing here? I gave you a gift. You stand here showing up my pitcher? Run, dummy.(The batter runs around the bases.)

Crash: Give me the ball. (He walks toward the mound.) Well, he really hit the shit out of that one, didn't he?

Nuke: Held it like an egg

Crash: And he scrambled it the son of a bitch. Look at that, he hit the *** Bull. Guy gets a free steak. You're having fun yet?

Nuke: Yeah, I'm having a blast.

Crash: Good.

Nuke: The sucker teed off on that like he knew I was going to throw a fastball.

Crash: He did know.

Nuke: How?

Crash: I told him. (He turns and walks back to the plate)

Nuke: (to himself:) Don't think. Just throw. Don't think just throw.

Nuke throws a strike.

Nuke (to himself): Man, that was beautiful. What did I do?

Scene 5: Respect for Oneself and Respect for the Game [Scene runs from 43:49 to 46:16. For those with DVDs, it begins a minute and a half into ch. 12.]

On the bus, at the beginning of a 12-day road trip. Nuke is playing the guitar and singing. Crash comes up from the back of the bus, and takes the guitar from him.

Crash: Stop it.

Nuke: What?

Crash: It's not woolly. Nobody gets woolly. Women get weary. They don't get woolly. Nobody gets "stress." They're wearing a "dress." I hate people that get the words wrong.

Nuke: How come you don't like me?

Crash: You don't respect yourself. That's your problem, but you don't respect the game. And that's my problem. You've got a gift.

Nuke: What do I got?

Crash: You got a gift. When you were a baby the gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You got a hall-of-fame arm, but you're pissing it away.

Nuke: I ain't pissing nothing away. I got a Porsche already. I got a 9-11 quadraphonic Blaupunkt.

Crash: You don't need a 9-11 quadraphonic Blaupunkt.. What you need is a curve ball. In the Show everybody can hit a fast ball

Nuke: How would you know? You've been in the majors?

Crash: Yeah, I've been in the majors.

Teammate: (who has been listening to the exchange): You been in the Show, man?

Crash: Yes, I was in the Show. I was in the Show for 21 days once. 21 greatest days of my life. You know you never handle your luggage in the Show. Someone else carries your bags. It's great. You hit white balls for batting practice. Ballparks are like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The women all have long legs and brains.

Teammate: Really hot, huh?.

Crash: Yeah, and so are the pitchers. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the Show. Exploding sliders. You could be one of those guys. Nuke could be one of those guys, but he don't give a *, Meat.

Nuke: Listen, I'm sick and *** tired of your calling me Meat. You wanna step outside?

Crash: Yeah, I'll step outside. He goes over to Nuke, and they start fighting on the bus. Their teammates attempt to break them apart. The manager sends his assistant over.

Assistant: What's the problem? What's happening?

Nuke: I was just gonna to ask Crash to show me how to throw a breaking ball.

Assistant: Good idea! Did anyone bring a ball?

Scene 6: Released [The scene runs from 1:38:12 to 1:43:42. For those with DVDs, it begins shortly into ch. 26.]

As the Durham Bulls win more and more games, due to Nuke's pitching and to Crash's efforts, both as a hitter and a teacher to Nuke, Nuke is promoted to the major leagues. The manager informs Crash that he is being replaced by a younger catcher, but that he has told the baseball organization that Crash "might be a fine minor league manager one day." Crestfallen, Crash appears at Annie's door, saying that "I am released." The next morning she awakes to find him gone.

Camera alternates shots of Annie with those of Crash driving away and beginning a new job.
Annie: (voiceover) Crash took off at dawn. Said he heard there might be an opening for a catcher at Asheville in the South Atlantic League. A woman should be so strong and powerful that she's not affected by such things. I mean it wasn't the first time I went to bed with a guy and woke up with a note. At least the son of a bitch left me breakfast. You have to respect a ballplayer whose just trying to finish the season. At least, that's what I told myself. Baseball may be a religion full of magic cosmic truth in the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it's also a job.

Crash: (at bat, talking to himself): Come on, Meat. Throw me that weak ass shit, You ain't gettin' that cheese by me.

Pitcher throws ball, which we see coming toward the plate.
Crash: Bring it, bring it, bring it. He hits a home run.

Annie: (voiceover) When Crash hit his 247th home run, I knew the moment it happened. But I'm sure nobody else did. And The Sporting News didn't say a word about it. Shot of Crash running around the bases, as Annie's voice continues, "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air." Thomas Gray. Or William Cullen Bryant. I don't know, I get them mixed up.

Shot to Annie cleaning the kitchen floor.
Anyway, my attempts at housekeeping were feeble as usual. I sometimes get easily distracted.
Funny thing was, I stopped worrying about Nuke. Somehow I knew nothing would stop him. The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness. Crash was right. Nuke had a gift.

Camera cuts to Nuke in a baseball stadium being interviewed before a television camera.
Nuke: mouthing words that Crash had given him for this purpose: I'm just happy to be here, and I hope I can help the ball club. I just wanna give it my best shot, and good Lord willing things will work out. You got to play ‘em one day at a time.
To the woman holding the microphone: Raye Anne, right? That's a beautiful name. Is that Greek? It's a beautiful name. There's a great song by Motley Crue. Do you know it? Raye Anne, she's a stay on. Anyway, a good friend of mine used to say, "This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball. You hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. Sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.

It is raining. Men roll a tarp over the field. Annie sits in an empty stadium with an umbrella. She gets up and walks home, and finds Crash waiting for her on the swing of her front porch.

She sits down beside him on the swing.
Annie: What happened?

Crash: I quit. I hit my dinger and I hung them up.

Annie: I'm quittin' too. I mean boys, not baseball.

Crash: You know there might be an opening for a manager in Visalia next spring. You think I could make it to the Show as a manager.

Annie: You'd be great. You'd be great. I mean, ‘cause you understand about nonlinear thinking Baseball seems like a linear game with all those lines and box scores, but the fact is, it's a spacious non-time kind of time to it.

Crash: Annie,

Annie: What?

Crash: I got a lot to time to hear your theories. And I wanna her every damn one of them, but now I'm tired and I don't wanna think about baseball, and I don't wanna think about quantum physics. And I don't wanna think about nothing, I just wanna be.

Annie: (smiling) I can do that too.

Annie: (voiceover) Walt Whitman once said, "I see great things in baseball. It's our game. The American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us." You could look it up.

Questions on Bull Durham

Guide to unit 2

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