And That Happened

Before the scores, some important Batman news. You may want to scroll down past this, because I’m gonna take a bit of time here.

In case you missed it last night, Ben Affleck has been cast as the Dark Knight in the upcoming Batman/Superman movie. Many people alerted me to this news last night the way you might alert a mother that her child has died. They tried to break it gently. They made sure that I was not in distress as I tried to process the news. When they saw me in a state less than tears, they assumed I was in the denial stage of the grieving process. It was quite the scene.

But while I thank my friends, real and virtual, for thinking of me and assuming that I would utterly lose it at the thought of Affleck as Batman, I’m really OK with it. Why? Because—and please brace yourself for some Real Talk—Christian Bale wasn’t anything extraordinary or irreplaceable as Batman. There, I said it.

Batman Begins was an incredible movie and, in it, Bale was fantastic. He played the young Bruce Wayne wonderfully and helped connect a, let’s admit it, somewhat silly character, to us as viewers. It was real acting from a guy who is an incredible actor. The Dark Knight was an even better movie. Just perfect on almost every level. But Bale was nowhere near the best part of that movie. His growly voice as Batman may have been faithful to certain comic book interpretations and may have made sense in the “real world” version of Batman that Christopher Nolan was going for, but it was distracting. And his Bruce Wayne scenes, while fine, didn’t exactly require Oscar-level acting. You can almost see Bale getting a bit bored with the Wayne stuff at times. He’s above it.

Dark Knight Rises was a pretty bad movie. Let us not pretend it wasn’t. Some cool scenes and set pieces, but it was pretty weak. You may bristle at this—and, like a kid brother, I may defend it to outsiders who don’t understand that Batman is awesome overall—but among friends we need to be honest and it was a pile compared to the other two. And, I would argue, compared to the two Michael Keaton Batman movies in at least certain respects.

So: no, this isn’t like hiring Jack Lemmon to play Don Corleone in Godfather Part II. This isn’t like getting Robin Williams to play Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs II: Electric Boogaloo. Affleck has dark hair and a square jaw and as we saw in Argo he can play it straight and act like a real adult and not be some stereotypical Boston goon like we often consider him to be. He’ll be fine.

We survived Val Kilmer and George Clooney. We can survive Ben Affleck. End of rant.

[exhales, sits back, stares emptily into middle distance]

Dodgers 6, Marlins 0: Clayton Kershaw (8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER) is like Doctor Manhattan. So superior and gifted that the mortals bore and disappoint him. He’s likely considering going to another planet to find new challenges for himself. He didn’t even have his best stuff yesterday and no one could really touch him. It’s almost unfair.

Pirates 10, Giants 5: Quite the disaster for the Giants as Matt Cain left early after taking a comebacker off his right arm. Thankfully X-Rays were negative. The bullpen, sadly, was pretty negative for the Giants too. And while 10 runs and a win was nice for the Pirates, they have to be worried about Jeff Locke, who is looking increasingly gassed and ineffective as the season winds down.

Reds 2, Diamondbacks 1: Four wild pitches for Arizona, a couple of which set up the Reds’ run in the third and another that actually scored the winning run in the eighth. The Reds took three of four from the D-backs, effectively burying them in the Wild Card race, one figures.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: A lot of the people who think it’s a long shot for the Yankees to get back into the race and make the playoffs think this because the starting pitching has been so poopy lately. As such, seeing Andy Pettitte allow one run over six innings has to be, at the very least, encouraging. The Yanks have won five in a row and 10 of 12. A-Rod for MVP.

Twins 7, Tigers 6:  Chris Herrmann had a couple of RBI doubles, one of which was aided by Austin Jackson misplaying the ball. The Twins take two of three from Detroit.

Nationals 5, Cubs 4: Stephen Strasburg was one out from a complete game but then he ran out of gas and had some defensive miscues behind him allowing the Cubs to rally for three runs. Four innings later Denard Span doubled and some small ball scored him for the go-ahead and, ultimately, winning run.

White Sox 4, Royals 3: Chicago fought back from a three-run deficit to force extras and then Conor Gillaspie socked a homer in the 12th. Pretty sure that’s the first time I ever used the phrase “socked a homer” in my life. Weird.

Phillies 5, Rockies 4: Philly scored four of its five runs in the last two innings, capped with Domonic Brown’s walkoff single. Oh, remember yesterday when I suggested that a walkoff sac fly was the least exciting walkoff event? I’m now thinking a walkoff balk qualifies. By definition it requires the absolute bare minimum of movement to happen. Like, a simple flinch could make it happen. Would love to see a World Series end on a walkoff balk. Joe Buck would probably capture that moment for the ages.

Cardinals 6, Braves 2: Joe Kelly wasn’t sharp, but he was effective. Jordan Schafer was 0 for 5 with two strikeouts leading off for Atlanta. The Braves are gonna miss Jason Heyward something fierce.

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  1. Dave Cornutt said...

    And not only have the Braves lost Heyward for probably the rest of the regular season, yesterday the rumors were going around that Brandon Beachy may need another TJ surgery.  The Braves have been hit hard by injuries this year.

  2. Kris said...


    Dead on with the Batman commentary.  The most interesting scene was when Batman had to climb the wall to get out.  Areeezay !

  3. FeslenR said...

    Both Clooney and Kilmer were Batman. It’s like watching the 1990s Mets…

    Affleck’s Batman can’t be much worse than those two.

    If the script and dialogue was written well, there’s a chance this will be pulled off.
    I seriously think us Bat-Nerds might be surprised by Affleck. (translation: it won’t horribly suck)

  4. Paul G. said...

    Wow.  Don’t say I don’t get results.  I lay claim to the walkoff balk!

    As to Batman, the key to a good movie is always the plot followed by the acting and directing.  Everything else is secondary. 

    The typical replacement level actor in Hollywood probably cannot ruin a great script, though do keep in mind that Hollywood has plenty of Low-A talents who are millionaires many times over, but even so a really good director can typically salvage that.  (For instance, Madonna was actually good in A League of Their Own.  Somehow.)

    A great actor/director can often save a mediocre script and turn a good script into a great movie.  But a bad plot… no one is going to save that.  See Bela Lugosi and anything he did for Ed Wood.  A great actor may still manage to make the movie entertaining, though unlikely in the way the screenwriter imagined.

    As for Ben Affleck… really?  Besides Argo, name one film in the past decade starring him that would recommend to a friend that you do not secretly want to have swarmed by bees.  Going with Daredevil as Bruce Wayne, huh?  Good luck with that.  Let’s hope it’s a good script… and a really good director… and the special effects are splendid… and wardrobe is having a just fantastic day….

    In related news, who gets to play Catwoman?  Please say “Jennifer Lopez!”  Please say “Jennifer Lopez!”  “Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got / I’m still, I’m still the kitten from the block / Used to have a little, now I steal a lot / No matter where I go, I know where I came from (The Pound!  Meow!)”

  5. Bruce Wayne Brosch said...

    Regarding Batman, I agree with you on all points. 

    When Michael Keaton was cast as Batman he, like Affleck, was not necessarily an actor known for his devoutly serious roles; and he did ok.  We all may be pleasantly surprised. 

    There can only be one Adam West!

  6. Jim said...

    Cubs should have won in regulation if their CF could play fly balls correctly.  Even the color guy mentioned it, in a nice way of course.

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