Posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
On occasion, movie fans have been known to over analyze. We take trailers and go frame by frame to try and uncover hidden details (such as we did with several Super Bowl commercials yesterday), we watch and rewatch episodes of Lost to figure out the hidden subtexts and we enjoy when fellow critics break down movies in excruciating detail for our amusement.
It should come as no surprise, though, that we aren’t the only kind of fans who do this kind of thing. Sports fans, for example, have the same ability. They pore over all kinds of stats to try and make projections, predictions or find reasons for the outcome of a game.
Once in a while, there’s a rare instance where these two rabid fan bases overlap for our mutual benefit and that’s what’s happened over at Baseball Prospectus. There, one of their writers has poured over the minutia of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as well as baseball statistics, and determined that Ferris and friends were actually at Wrigley Field on June 5, 1985. Read how he came to that conclusion after the jump.
Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus is the Ferris Bueller/baseball fan who did this fascinating analysis. He points out that when we first see Ferris at Wrigley, we don’t learn much. It’s only in this scene that we get some hard data:
Making note of the real players, situations and play by play described in that clip, as well as some info culled from later, Granillo was able to figure out that the movie shot at an actual game. There’s simply too much factual data to ignore. Knowing that Lee Smith was batting against the Braves at Wrigley and that the film was released in June of 1986, he figured there were only four games that occurred before that date where that exact situation happened:
Ferris Bueller and his pals were at the June 5, 1985, tilt between the Cubs and the Braves. The foul ball that Ferris caught was hit by Atlanta rightfielder Claudell Washington (#15) in the top of the 11th inning. The game was tied at two (not scoreless, like the pizza guy claimed) and backup second-baseman Paul Zuvella (#18) was being held on first by Leon Durham (#10) after a leadoff single (the fourth hit of the game, and Atlanta’s first hit since the fifth). Washington would end his at-bat with a flyball to leftfielder Davey Lopes. The next batter, Rafael Ramirez, would wind up hitting a two-run home run and the Braves would go on to win 4-2. The movie, however, cut away before that happened.
Here’s the fun part. If that’s the game they were at, we’re left to surmise that Ferris either left the game early or really rushed the rest of his day off. We know that Ferris went to lunch at noon and that the game started at 1:25 p.m. That’s reasonable. But the 11 inning game took over three hours to complete, leaving him at about 4:30 p.m., which wouldn’t have left a lot of time for Ferris to go to the museum, perform two songs in a parade and do all the other things he did before being home at 6 p.m. But the foul ball in question, apparently, took place in the 11th, so maybe he stayed for the whole thing.
Of course, there’s a weird gray area between reality and the diegetic action in this situation where even if Hughes and company were filming at Wrigley on June 5, 1985, that doesn’t mean the film is beholden to the reality of that game. But it’s still kind of fun to think about.
Head over to Baseball Prospectus for a more detailed analysis and some factual back up for the claims made above. It’s cool to see other fan bases do painstaking research to give us a totally useless, but fun, fact, don’t you agree?