This is beautiful.
I grew up in the 80’s, and remember the original “Red Dawn” as a cheesy but entertaining movie, perfectly in tune with the times. You kids today and your “Global War on Terror” - our Cold War was much more distressing, thank you very much. After all, the Soviets actually had weapons of mass destruction. Anyway, it wasn’t particularly great movie, but to this day, I can’t watch a Michigan game without occasionally yelling out “WOLVERINES!”
So when I heard there was going to be a remake, I was skeptical. Certainly, there are a lot of dangers in the world, but invasion by an enemy with a large ground force isn’t one of them. Who could the filmmakers choose as the villains? Well, after initially filming the Chinese as the invaders (which, of course would make no sense - how would we pay back our debts to them or buy their iPhones if we were invaded?), they decided to switch the scary invading army to the North Koreans in post-production. The North Koreans! Of all the nations in the world with a standing army, the North Koreans are about the least capable of invading the United States. I mean, they’re the Washington Wizards of military forces.
Now, I don’t expect my movies to be true to life documentaries or anything. After all, Ivan Drago would have totally killed Rocky Balboa, no matter how many inspiring montages they used. But, c’mon - at least make an effort to suspend my disbelief. Why not choose Kazakhstan and General Borat? Or the French? Or heck, even the Russians again (actually, the Russians are probably still the most capable of pulling it off - but they’re too busy buying our NBA teams). The best approach would have been to go the science fiction route and have the enemy be aliens or zombies. I’d be a lot less surprised to wake up in the morning to find us being ruled by new alien overlords (note to self - see if “Independence Day” is available for streaming on Netflix) than seeing North Koreans in our back yard.
So, please Hollywood, try a little harder next time.
(Image courtesy of G4)
10 years ago, I was in a job interview. It was for an online marketing position, and one of the interviewers noticed that I have a History degree. Deciding to use that as a clever interview question, she asked, “So, what do you consider the biggest historical mistake?” Now, I’m sure she expected something standard, like “appeasing Hitler in Munich,” or “the introduction of slavery into the Americas,” or even “The Star Wars prequels.” But I didn’t hesitate.
“Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series.” I began. “Eighth inning. Derek Jeter hits a fly ball to Tony Tarasco in right field. It should be an easy out, but instead, a 12 year-old kid named Jeffrey Maier reaches over and interferes with the ball to prevent the catch. The umpire missed the call and calls a home run instead.”
At this point the two interviewers look at each other with a Is this guy for real? look. I keep going.
“The Orioles end up losing in extra innings. SInce then, the two franchises have moved in opposite directions. The Yankees have won three World Series and the Orioles have bottomed out. This missed call is what I believe is the biggest mistake in history.”
Two important points from this - 1) This was in 2002, and even at that time I was lamenting the Orioles fall. And they continued to fall after that for TEN YEARS. And 2) You can’t rattle me in job interviews (and yes, I did get the job offer - but took a different one. #Humblebrag).
So, here we are, 16 years later, and the Orioles and Yankees are playing in the playoffs again. And I still look at that play as the moment the two franchises diverged. The the 15 seasons before that game, the Orioles won 5 more games than the Yankees did in that span (and won one more World Series). In the 15 seasons since, the Yankees won a whopping 377 games more than the Orioles (and won five World Series). The 96-97 seasons were the opportunities for the Orioles to get their championships while the Yankees were still getting their sea legs and before the economic system got totally out of whack. And sure, they lost three other games in the 1996 ALCS without the benefit of bad umpire calls, but it still seems symbolic of the crossroads the two franchises were at.
So, if the Orioles beat the Yankees in the 2012 ALDS, do they break the Curse of Jeffrey Maier? Well, I do think the Orioles are at another crossroads. This may be their best chance to win something for another 15 years. Let’s hope that Jeffrey Maier watches the games from home.