Living… the simple life in Durham, N.C.: the ballpark and the bar. Ebby Calvin Laloosh (nickname: “Nuke”) pitches for the Triple-A Durham Bulls. The Bulls bring in veteran catcher Crash Davis to mentor Calvin, who is young and talented but undisciplined. Soon Crash is telling Calvin what to do both on and off the field. Calvin might tolerate the former, but he doesn’t think he needs any tips on his social life from Crash. “What’s he know about fun?” Calvin wonders aloud. “I’m young. I know about fun. He’s an old man. He don’t know nuthin’ about fun.”
Profession… minor-league pitcher. Calvin has a hose for an arm but terrible control. He’ll throw a perfect strike one pitch and fire the next one into the stands. He doesn’t have a reliable off-speed pitch, though that suits him just fine because he just wants to rock and fire the fastball. This infuriates Crash. “You got a gift,” Crash tells Calvin. “When you were a baby, the gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You got a Hall of Fame arm, but you’re pissing it away.”
Interests… driving his Porsche 911 – which has a quadrophonic Blaupunkt! (Let’s just say it’s an awesome sound system.)
Relationship Status… dating the eccentric Annie Savoy, though he tended to get around prior to that. “He [makes love] like he pitches – sort of all over the place,” says Annie’s friend Millie. Though Calvin is mostly dating Annie for the sex, at least in his mind, Annie teaches him about the spiritual component of the physical, both in the bedroom and on the mound.
Challenge… developing some maturity. Calvin is a kid at heart who’s content getting laid and playing the game of baseball. His control problems don’t seriously bother him, and he doesn’t seem to care enough to harness his immense talent. He just wants to throw the ball as hard as he can. Once when he shakes off Crash’s curveball sign, Crash comes out to the mound. Calvin tells him, “I want to give him the heat and announce my presence with authority!” So Crash promptly informs the hitter that the fastball’s coming, and the hitter smashes a home run. With enough tough-love lessons like that, maybe even the stubborn Calvin will learn.
Personality… goofy and fun-loving. He likes to think he’s pretty zen, though at first that’s more because he’s an airhead than because he’s achieved any kind of enlightenment. Calvin has the disposition of a surfer, sitting on the beach and contemplating the rhythm of the waves. When he does start accepting some of Crash’s lessons, he puts his own spin on it, once telling some reporters: “A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.”
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