“He couldn’t tell the color of the pitch that came at him. All he could think of was that he was sick to death of waiting, and tongue-out thirsty to begin. The ball was now a dew drop staring him in the eye so he stepped back and swung from the toes.”
-The Natural by Bernard Malamud

Every year, at the beginning of spring training, some basic cable channel shows “The Natural” over and over and over again.

Usually it’s Bravo, but today it was on We.

It started at the same time as the Cubs-Giants game. Ron Santo was sick, so Pat had the mic to himself. Now, Pat is a really smart broadcaster and very knowledgeable about the game of baseball, but he is a little dry. He really needs Ron there to keep the smile in his voice.

Now, Ron all by himself - that I’d like to hear.

Well, maybe just for a couple of innings.

Anyway, with the Cubs playing losing baseball for the first time this spring, I decided to turn my attention to “The Natural”.

I had read the original novel my sophomore year of high school. We read two of Malamud’s books that year - “The Natural” and “God’s Grace”. Having seen the movie a few times at that point, I was actually shocked that the book ended completely opposite of the movie. For those that don’t know, in the book, Hobbs struck out in the final game and was disgraced by the indiscretions of his youth and the implication by Max the reporter that Hobbs had stuck out because of a payoff. There’s even a kid at the very end exclaiming, “Say it ain’t true, Roy.” I remember being angry at the book. Furious that this character that I had loved in the film and had been fleshed out so wonderfully in the book was torn and spat out at the end of it all.

Twice the age I was then, I have a better understanding of what Malamud was doing. We don’t always learn from the indiscretions of our youth and we don’t always have the power to make things right.

I always did like the way the movie handled the ‘change-over’ of endings. Max becomes Malamud in the pressbox. He sketches Roy as the failure he is in the book just as Roy blasts a foul through the window. Malamud’s vision of his hero is shattered.

The quote at the top of this post comes right before Roy knocks the cover off the ball in his first game. It’s kind of how I feel right now in regards to this website. I have been doing a lot of research and my idea of what this site would be has evolved considerably. I am nowhere near ready to publish my material. I did want to get a blog going now that we finally have some baseball games to talk about. In the future, I will lay out what I am actually going to do with this site, but for now, I’ll just be one more Cubs blogger banging my head on a keyboard.

4 Responses to “Beginnings…”

  1. Temporary Bleachers » Blog Archive » Natural Says:

    […] first post here at Temporary Bleachers was about “The Natural” and the differences between the movie and the book. It’s […]

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