Editor’s note: Hi folks, it’s Amy Wong, features producer and writer of “‘Twilight’ put Forks, Washington, on the map. Fifteen years later, the saga’s legacy endures.” Fifteen years after the vampire novel by Stephenie Meyer was published, a slew of memes about the Twilight Saga have appeared in what people refer to as the “Twilight Renaissance.”
One of the most heavily memed scenes comes from the film adaptation of the first book, in which the vampire Cullen family plays a revamped (does that count as a pun?) version of baseball, utilizing their supernatural powers to make some pretty unconventional plays.
I know nothing about baseball, so I turned to our sports colleagues for comment. Mariners writer Ryan Divish said that until my email, he had “never watched a single second of the ‘Twilight’ movies,” and described the baseball scene as “four minutes and 15 seconds I’ll never get back.” It made him, he said, “weirdly thankful for having seen the Mariners lose 101 games over two seasons.”
But I had more luck with University of Washington football reporter Mike Vorel, who agreed to watch intense film and break down the baseball scene play by play.
In full transparency, I disagree with both of these men. The baseball scene is art, which is why Netflix’s social media team once referred to “Twilight” as “the most important sports movie in history.”
When asked why, exactly, vampires like baseball, Edward Cullen — 190 pale pounds of hair gel and complicated feelings — explained, “Well, it’s the American pastime.”
Well, it was. Until “Twilight” ruined it.
“Twilight,” of course, is the 2008 film set in Forks, Washington, and based on the Stephenie Meyer book of the same name. It is the sparkly sensation that Netflix jokingly dubbed “the most important sports movie in history.”
It is also an unabashed baseball abomination.
Let’s not even focus on the fact that their uniforms were almost certainly stolen from a museum, or that the Cullen clan attempted to field two teams with seven total players. Let’s excuse the obvious similarities between their strategy of playing in a lightning storm so their inhuman bat cracks might be mistaken for thunder and Andy Dufresne’s use of thunder to drown out his assault on the sewer pipes in an ingenious — and far more original — escape from Shawshank State Prison. Let’s not even contemplate the likelihood that easily influenced (and mortal) moviegoers, having seen their heroes swing metal bats in a lightning storm, subsequently sprinted outside to do the same.
No, let’s focus on baseball.
And let’s start with Alice.
From a technical standpoint, there’s actually a lot to like. With a high leg kick and an overhead delivery, her pitching inspiration was likely Mexican sensation and Los Angeles Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela. But where Alice falls short of Fernando … is in every other conceivable area. For one thing, she shows an alarming lack of awareness or willingness to adjust. Like Dennis Quaid’s character in “The Rookie,” it appears she has only ever learned to chuck a fastball down the middle of the plate. She doesn’t mix pitches. She doesn’t change speeds. When Jasper Hale crowds the box, she doesn’t bother to establish the inside corner or brush him back in any way.
Instead, she serves up identical fastballs that are unceremoniously destroyed. And, even worse, the embarrassing bombardment doesn’t seem to bother her at all. Heck, Carlisle even calls his freaking shot, à la Babe Ruth, and Alice goes right on pitching — apparently impervious to the insult.
Have you no pride? Have you no shame? Have you no changeup, splitter or slider?
But let’s not assume this is all Alice’s fault, either. After all, Esme Cullen — the “catcher” — seems more interested in chatting up Bella than easing Alice out of a first inning jam. It doesn’t appear she ever actually calls a pitch, and she certainly doesn’t utilize a mound visit to soothe her sputtering starter.
And then there’s Edward — perhaps the most physically talented, and frustrating, defensive outfielder in VBL (Vampire Baseball League) history. His athleticism is undeniable, but his effort is inexcusable. When Rosalie cracks a line drive into the right field forest to start the game, Edward stands there for several seconds, frozen, like Cedric Diggory when his body was enveloped by bewitched branches in the maze at the Triwizard Tournament. Esme and Bella had an entire conversation before he broke for the ball.
And, sure, I know what Edward would say: He still made the play. He retrieved the ball in a clearing, turned and fired a frozen rope — Ichiro style — to cut down poor, unsuspecting Rosalie at the plate. In the end, it was the longest possible out.
But just because you can do something extraordinary, that doesn’t mean you should.
And, besides, any lingering goodwill was punctured on the very next play. After Carlisle (inaccurately) called his shot, he sent another fluttering fastball gliding into the gap in left-center field. Instead of calmly communicating who could best catch the ball, Edward and Emmett Cullen both exploded off the ground — as if playing the baseball equivalent of SlamBall, Spike TV’s infamous pairing of basketball and trampolines — then collided and crashed like asteroids down to Earth, while Carlisle slid safely into second.
Emmett, fueled by more testosterone than a mid-’90s Ken Caminiti, did make the play of the day — climbing an actual tree like Ken Griffey Jr. to rob Jasper Hale of an extra-base hit.
In all, there were four pitches, two outs and one song that provided the soundtrack throughout. In Muse’s moody banger “Supermassive Black Hole,” lead singer Matt Bellamy accurately assessed the situation.
Oh baby, don’t you know I suffer?
Oh baby, can you hear me moan?
Bellamy unknowingly sang on behalf of baseball fans everywhere.
Now, please, leave our pastime alone.