Through ShysterBall and ESPN.com's Rob Neyer, word is wending its way through the series of tubes that the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. will have a salute to Bull Durham on Sept. 19 (how ironic that a reporter named Mark McGuire is posting on the Hall of Fame), five years after Dale Petroskey nixed an event for political reasons. From March 26, 2008, here's the OOLF take on Petroskey's ouster from Cooperstown:
Dale Petroskey being forced out as president of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., for "fail(ing) to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility" touches all the bases.
It's a veritable grand slam for fans of baseball, free speech, getting the last laugh and A-holes getting what they've had coming to them for some time. Petroskey, a former Reagan Administration apple-polisher, is the jerk who, back in 2003 shortly after the U.S. invaded Iraq -- how's that going, by the way? -- cancelled an event at Cooperstown marking the 15th anniversary of the release of Bull Durham since its stars, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, had publicly criticized the war. Naturally, he didn't have the grace to tell them by phone. One interpretation was that he was banking that going out of his way to be a jerk would turn Karl Rove's crank.
Robbins' who-me response, if memory serves, was priceless, something like, "I wasn't planning to talk about the war -- I thought we were going to talk about baseball."
The Hall of Fame ended up apologizing to Robbins and Sarandon -- not that the drip-dry Hollywood lefties weren't smug enough already! -- after it got e-mail bombed back to the pre-Internet age. The Hall got so many angry messages that its server crashed. The political climate was pretty sensitive, but politicizing a sports institution was beyond the pale. (An event to mark the movie's anniversary was held, but not at Cooperstown.)
Anyway, the irony is rich. Dale Petroskey is packing it in less than a week after the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion. We all know better about the whole affair. The Bush Administration's "failure to exercise proper fiduciary policy" is causing heartache and financial strain for many Americans every day. At least Dale Petrosky's resignation in disgrace from the Baseball Hall of Fame comes just a few weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of Bull Durham. The classy gesture would be to invite Robbins and Sarandon back.
(And now they are.)
Being a baseball nerd can run a good baseball movie (June 20, 2008)