' ' Cinema Romantico: 3,000

Friday, November 23, 2018


As Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray approached his 3,000th hit in 1995 he kept saying the milestone did not matter. He might have been right. Tris Speaker hit # 3,000 in 1925, and, much later, in 1958, told the Associated Press of his, quote-unquote, milestone, “I couldn’t tell you when I hit it, or where, or who the pitcher was.” No, much like the incomparable hitting maestro Ichiro Suzuki upon reaching 3,000 hits in 2016 explained contextualizing his achievement would only truly be possible after the passage of time, 3,000 hits acquired its marker status only once myriad baseball players came and went and a mere few managed to put that many balls in play, causing the number to Mean Something.

And it has come to mean something, certainly it has, given that every baseball player who has achieved 3,000 hits has entered the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Joe Posnanski has argued, sort of, that the real accomplishment is not so much acquiring 3,000 hits as the number of at-bats it takes to get 3,000 hits. In other words, it is almost less about swinging the bat than simply practicing stubbornness. Give yourself enough chances, perhaps, and any yokel can do it, which might well stifle much of the statistic’s fanciful air though maybe that practicality is truer anyway.

That’s why the Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken Jr., managed to get there, and that’s why so many players you distinctly remember playing for certain teams hit #3,000 playing for teams you don’t remember them suiting up for at all – Wade Boggs for the Devil Rays, Rickey Henderson for the Padres, and Albert Pujols, most recent member, for the Los Angeles Angels which still doesn’t sound right to this old-timer on two levels.

In a different time, Pujols’s accomplishment might truly have stopped the national presses, or maybe not. Indeed, when the irascible Ty Cobb reached 4,000 hits (!) in 1927 the headline in the Detroit Free Press went like this: “Bengals In Third Place; Ty Cobb Gets 4,000th Hit.” The late Tony Gwynn got his 3,000th hit in 1999, at the nadir of Montreal baseball, where few were attendance and some of the few who were apparently didn’t even know what had transpired until they stopped the game to honor Gwynn, eliciting the distinct impression that perspective is what matters most about what matters.

Paul Waner reached 3,000 hits in June of 1942 when an opposing shortstop could only knock Waner’s ground ball down, failing to make the throw for an out. The press box ruled it a hit, but Waner literally insisted they change it to an error. “I wanted my 3,000 hit to be a clean one,” he said, and he got that hit two days later. That is my favorite 3,000 hit story because it seems to both embrace the overcooked theatricality of the milestone while also ensuring that he passed the milestone on his own terms.

In that spirit I tell you today is Cinema Romantico’s 3,002nd post. Cinema Romantico’s 3,000th post took place, unnoticed, on Tuesday. And for all our loyal frustrated followers who have endured the diatribes and dissertations, not to mention the no one knows what and don’t even ask, can undoubtedly attest, a “Destination Wedding” wedding review as our 3,000th post is right on our blogging brand along with an absence of letter grades and star ratings, refusal to run ads, and resistance to clickbait unless by cosmic coincidence. Onward and, well, if not Upward, at least in some minor to moderate northerly direction.

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