Favorite Fictional Characters, #98: Lou Brown
As we leave Florida, it's time to pivot from Disney characters and acknowledge something else that happened this past week - Opening Day! Baseball has a long tradition in literature and film. It's a game of sitting around for long stretches punctuated by brief, almost surprising activity, and so lends itself to characters. Among baseball movies, Major League has a special place in my heart. It's one of the funniest sports movies around (along with Caddyshack and maybe Slapshot), and the humor is very character-driven. Tom Berenger's last-chance catcher Jake Taylor, Corbin Bernsen's silver-spoon third baseman Roger Dorn. Cerrano, Willie Mays Hayes, even Wild Thing Ricky Vaughn. But I like the reluctant ringmaster of this circus, manager Lou Brown.
Brown is a baseball lifer, a gravel-throated acolyte of the game's traditions and unwritten rules. His clubhouse and dugout presence is one of weary resolve, determined yet resigned. He's been around, and seen it all. My favorite Lou Brown moment, among many, is when Charlie Sheen's mercurial Vaughn gets taken deep in a big spot. "Let's see how he reacts," says Lou. He doesn't react well, hitting the next batter. "You can go get him now," Lou deadpans to his bench coach.
James Gammon, the actor who portrayed Brown, passed away in 2010. Forget the curveball, James gave us the heater with Lou Brown.