- Gene Wojciechowski, Senior Writer
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The best baseball movie of all time is "Bull Durham." If you don't agree, you either need a CAT scan or a five-word reminder: Susan Sarandon candlelit bath tub. Any questions?
But my favorite scene is when Sarandon's character, Annie Savoy, asks Kevin Costner's Crash Davis what he believes in.
Says Crash: "Well, I believe in the soul. The [University of South Carolina's shortened nickname]. The [James Bond love interest in "Goldfinger"]. The small of a woman's back. The hanging curveball. High fiber. Good Scotch. That the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there are ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve. And I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.''
That's fine for Crash, but I've got my own checklist of beliefs.
I believe you should never smile in a team photo.
I believe any Little League dad who berates an umpire or coach should have his chest hair removed with duct tape.
I believe soccer players are the worst actors since the Baldwin brothers (with the exception of Alec, whose "coffee's for closers'' scene in "Glengarry Glen Ross" is bona fide).
I believe you should have to drink your Gatorade with a nipple if you ever call traveling, three seconds or charging in a pickup game.
I believe in the muni, in the first-tee breakfast ball and in asking a guy to make his gimme birdie putt.
I believe the inventor of the beer cozy should have his own U.S. stamp.
I believe the Davis Cup format is understood by the Gullikson family, several Argentineans and possibly eight other people on the planet.
I believe you shouldn't need Jean Paul Sartre to explain a team nickname. So from now on, no more Heat, Wild, Magic, Red Flash or Red Storm.
I believe Ron Santo should be in the Hall of Fame, and that no self-respecting ballpark should serve sushi.
I believe I'm going to ralph if one more TV golf announcer uses the word "courageous" to describe a shot. Taking the point on a Marine patrol in Baghdad is courageous. Sinking a 6-foot downhill putt at the Cialis Western Open, not so much.
I believe in the jump ball, not the possession arrow; that the ground can cause a fumble; that Auburn would have beaten USC in the Orange Bowl.
I believe I'm going to get a lot of e-mail from USC fans.
I believe Annika Sorenstam, but not Michelle Wie, could make it out of the PGA Tour's Q-School.
I believe I could listen to Vin Scully read the ingredients label from a Beefaroni can.
I believe hitting a split-fingered fastball, picking up a 7-10 spare, playing water polo, finding investors for a Steve Williams (Tiger's caddy) Driving School, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and carrying six cups of ballpark beverages with one hand are the most difficult feats in sports.
I believe at least one World Series game should be played during daylight hours. That way kids won't need to chug four Red Bulls to stay awake until midnight.
I believe in the Miller Park Angioplasty Special: three brats and gobs of special sauce.
I believe coats and ties should be worn on the team charter.
I believe the Boston Red Sox have the best cap logo, the Green Bay Packers have the best helmet decal, the New York Yankees have the best jerseys and Ohio State has the best football unis.
I believe it isn't hunting if your weapon needs Pentagon approval, or if your rifle scope can be used at the Palomar Observatory.
I believe I would pay money to a testing agency to see who threw harder in his prime: John Elway or Brett Favre. I believe I'd bet on the Elway Cross.
I believe in hard ways, the pass line and full odds.
I believe the game tells a player to retire, not the other way around.
I believe in the Curse of the Billy Goat, postgame handshakes and a well-spat sunflower shell.
I believe there should be a federal statute prohibiting male cheerleaders.
I believe every sports library should include these six books: "Ball Four," "Mad Ducks and Bears," "When Pride Still Mattered," "A Season On The Brink," "The Breaks of The Game" and "The Jim Murray Collection."
I believe you shouldn't have to take out a home-equity loan to see an NFL game with your family.
I believe any college president against a Division I-A football playoff ought to have his or her brain stem examined.
I believe NHL players are the pro athletes most likely to invite you and me to a barbecue.
I believe there should be a sequel to "Bull Durham."
And I believe I'll be hearing from Susan Sontag's attorney.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. This is his debut column. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Gene Wojciechowski's world, sports are as much about believing as they are about playing.