ORONO, Maine — Last week, while the University of Maine baseball team was preparing for its home opener, a group of Black Bears players and coaches got together to recreate a bit of cinematic history.
They used Mahaney Diamond to put on their version of the pitcher’s mound conference from the 1988 movie “Bull Durham.” UMaine called its version “Bear Durham.”
UMaine head coach Steve Trimper said the Black Bears did the scene at the suggestion of Athletic Marketing Director John Diamond, who had seen a recent effort by some of the New York Yankees to re-enact a scene from the movie “The Sandlot.”
“He came to us and said, ‘Would you ever want to do something like that?’” Trimper said.
The filming projects actually started with senior outfielder Brian Doran starring in a 37-second piece during which he shovels snow in the stands at Mahaney Diamond and builds a large snowman. The catch phrase, from “Field of Dreams,” was, “if you build it, they will come.”
The “Bull Durham” scene was a bit more complex. The cast included Trimper, assistant coaches Nick Derba, J.P. Pyne and John Schiffner, athletic trainer Benjamin Randall and student-athletes Jake Marks, Jon Salcedo, Brett Chappell, Brian Doran and Jake Osborne.
It bears pointing out that none of the Black Bears players had even been born when “Bull Durham” was released in 1988. The movie starred Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon.
Even so, UMaine players and coaches demonstrated their affinity for the flick with their respective performances.
“The idea came up on a Tuesday night, and we did it on Wednesday morning,” said Trimper, who asserted the individual scene segments were filmed in one take.
Derba, who played the part of catcher Crash Davis, and Trimper, as manager Joe Riggins, gave steady and enthusiastic performances. Marks was solid in his portrayal of pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh.
Schiffner nailed LaLoosh’s arm-waving father shooting video in the stands, Salcedo added an authentic Spanish accent to his character, Jose.
The real scene-stealer was Pyne, playing the role of pitching coach Larry Hockett. He has a poised and commanding presence — he is a big man — but cleverly re-creates Hockett’s high foot kick on his trot out to the mound.
“He was good. He was the best,” Trimper said of Pyne, who watched that scene repeatedly to mimic the proper mechanics.
The Black Bears did some much-needed editing of colorful language used in the original movie and shortened up the scene in a few spots. The game crowd noise in the background provided a ballgame feel.
“The whole teams wants to do them. We kind of asked for some volunteers,” said Trimper, who said more videos are forthcoming.
UMaine returns to real baseball action at 2 p.m. Friday with doubleheader against Stony Brook, the first of a scheduled three-game series at Mahaney Diamond.