The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'Inception' vs. Attack of the Killer Bees: In baseball, the bees win

July 15, 2010 | 12:11 pm

I'd been making plans to see a screening of "Inception" one night this week, since it's clearly the Movie of the Moment, but fate intervened. My son is playing on our West L.A. Little League 11-year-old all-star team -- you may have read here earlier that we soundly trounced the Beverly Hills team (and their pitcher, Chance King, Larry King's son) last week -- and our team has been refusing to lose. After winning Monday night and Tuesday night, we faced our arch-rivals, Ladera, last night, in the climactic championship game at the very homespun Santa Monica Little League complex.

Bee Someone had to win (and become district champs) and someone had to lose. Baseball is always that simple. Except ... for the attack of the killer bees. When the boys got to the field for warmups, they found their dugout infested by a huge, and I do mean huge, swarm of bees. Maybe not killers, but definitely unruly. It looked like a scene out of an old low-budget Roger Corman movie, with bees flying everywhere, clearly unwilling to vacate the dugout. We sprayed them, we doused them with water, we used some sort of small nuclear device, but by game time, at 6 p.m., the bees were still on the loose.

So the district officials decided that the teams should wait until the game at the field next door was completed and play on that field. Which meant the game started at 8:30, two and a half hours late. It was a barn burner. One of Ladera's players hit a colossal home run that sailed over the center field fence, over the scoreboard and out onto Olympic Boulevard. Our starting catcher, Andrew Moritz, responded with a bomb of his own, which got a big cheer from his grandfather, Milt Moritz, who's actually the guy that marketed all those old Corman pictures at American International Pictures. Ladera's early lead evaporated when our boys stormed back, but Ladera tied the game 8-8 with a two-out rally in the bottom of the 6th inning. Under normal circumstances, we would've simply gone into extra innings (Little League games are six-inning affairs), except that the 6th inning ended at 10:55 and -- if this were a movie no one would believe this part -- the Santa Monica Little League lights go out at 11 p.m., rain or shine, no exceptions.

So the umps called the game, which will be continued again tonight, which means I'll be missing another screening of another new movie I've been eager to see. On the other hand, there's often as much drama in Little League as there is in most Hollywood movies, so I'm not complaining. And I've got the phone number of a really good Bee Whisperer, just in case we need to clear the dugout again tonight.


Photo: Los Angeles Times.