In the 1988 film Bull Durham, screenwriter Ron Shelton, writes the following opening lines for Anne Savoy, the female protagonist.
It is a window into the mind of a strong-willed woman.
A woman who knows what she wants, and has become good at getting it.
A colourful character, who will deeply affect the lives of a young pitcher and the older catcher assigned to train him.
In just a few lines, Shelton gives us a compelling portrait of Anne Savoy and her particular views of baseball: "Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate.".
His words paint a vivid picture of an eccentric woman, who understands this male-dominated sport so well, she is willing to dedicate her life to it because, as she concludes, "the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball."
"I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 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's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring... which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer 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... not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. 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 alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. 'Course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. 'Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball - now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake? It's a long season and you gotta trust it. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball."