' ' Cinema Romantico: Guess Things Happen This Way

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Guess Things Happen This Way

Recently the Super70sSports Twitter account, a beacon of joy in the ever-expanding morass of Tweetsplaining and conspiracy theories, celebrated the 31st anniversary of a rare and wonderful baseball event: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, in the middle of an impossible 22-inning game, understandably fed up, getting the Montreal Expos mascot, Youppi!, ejected for being a general pain in the ass atop the dugout.

The finer points, which have been written about many times before as I discovered, are beside our point today. The point is that I saw the clip on Twitter without sound which merely underlined how a well produced sports telecast can tell a story like a film.

It begins here with a truly incredible image. Youppi! lays in the foreground, wearing a sleeping cap and nightshirt, looking for all the world like he was just startled from a slumber atop the Dodger dugout by Lasorda who is glaring at him, a one of a kind face-off that is either stupendously comical or bizarrely tense depending upon which subject of the frame you make your focus.

Then a cut to the umpire, making a You’re Outta Here gesture...

...at which point we cut back to Youppi! who is turning to go, suggesting he, the mascot, has just been thrown out. Given the context, his natural goofy expression is improbably rendered melancholy while, Lasorda, clearly yelling at the mascot in the background, is rendered the paragon of Get Off My Lawn fury.

Cutting closer to Lasorda, then, one arm up on the dugout, peering in the direction of where Youppi! was just sent off, he looks a little like an aged-out Marlon Brando, or something, like he’s leaning on his locker at school watching the kid he just bullied slink off.

Indeed, in the next shot we see Youppi! slink off, stepping off the dugout, as Lasorda looks back toward the field.

Here the umpire confers with Youppi!...

...who can’t really protest though that fan next to him does.

And Lasorda watches that fluffy punk go, yelling obscenities, or phrases that his lips sure seem to suggest are obscenities, all the way.

All on its own, this was funny. But not long before seeing this video, I watched “Sydney 2000: Stories of Olympic Glory”, a documentary about that year’s Summer Olympics. The movie itself is pretty routine and so I had no plans to write about it, but one of the stories contained within is about the American baseball team of older castoffs and younger nobodies shepherded to the Gold Medal by one Tommy Lasorda.

The segment ends with Lasorda getting misty-eyed during The Star Spangled Banner and, well, I dunno. I was just struck by the inherent duality of a specific kind of American patriotism, the kind that seems so in vogue these days, where pride and rage inexplicably mingle, getting misty-eyed over the Stars & Stripes...

...and telling a fluffy orange mascot representing the Maple Leaf to get the fuck off his dugout.

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