Photos via Paramount Pictures
Possibly my favorite baseball movie to date is a gem from 1989 by the name of Major League. It has quotable humor, a great cast, and a real inside baseball-type story. However, upon watching it recently, something began to bother me. Something that’s possibly been right in front of me the whole time: Jake Taylor is a total creep.
Jake Taylor (played by Tom Berenger) is the key protagonist outside of the core “underdog baseball team story” of the movie. His is also the love story of the film, so maybe that’s why I’ve never noticed how disturbed he was before. After coming to this creepy conclusion, the movie just doesn’t sit the same way it did with me before. Not buying what I’m selling? Let me give you a rundown on how Jake fooled us all.
Jake Taylor: Major League Creep
From the start, Jake isn’t necessarily introduced to us as the best guy in the world. Not even in baseball. But he’s the has-been veteran leader that the Indians need, so we’ll just chalk this all up as a redemption story. Sounds like a guy we can get behind, right? Wrong.
It doesn’t take long for things to go south. Jake, Rick Vaughn and Willie Hayes head out to celebrate making the team and go to a fancy French restaurant (that doesn’t sell chili dogs). This is where we’re introduced to Lynn (played by Rene Russo). And not in a normal way, either. When asked whom Jake is staring at, he says confidently, “That’s my wife…” Problem is, Lynn is not his wife. Heck, she’s not even his girlfriend. So right away, if I’m Vaughn or Hayes hearing this statement from Jake, I’m thinking, uhhhh, what?
That was just a warning sign, though. Almost immediately, Jake leaves the table to execute his first sly move: calling Lynn from within the restaurant so he can talk to her and get her number. Besides asking who would do something like this, let’s just look over some of this conversation instead:
Lynn: Jake? Jake Taylor? How’d you know I was here?
Jake: Oh, just a hunch… I took you there when you got your Masters degree, remember? I figured you were wearing that black dress with a red sash…
Lynn: How’d you know that, I didn’t even have this dress…
Then we get this look of realization from Lynn. Smooth move, Jake.
After some fun banter, Jake goes for the kill — err, for her number. Apparently, he’s tried to call her at home but she’s not listed (Hmm, I wonder why?). After some resistance from Lynn, Jake threatens that he’s not leaving until she gives him her number. Truly something to tell the grandkids. The eerie scene culminates with Jake-o Suave hauntingly stating to Lynn, “I’m back, and I’m gonna be around.” I don’t know about anyone else, but after this encounter, if I’m Lynn, I’m planning to move out of state.
Then, after being given a bum phone number, Jake has to top himself. So he shows up unannounced (get used to this) to the library — Lynn’s place of work — for some answers.
Lynn reveals to Jake that she’s getting married. This sets ol’ Jake off, and he makes a scene, responding “I had plans for us.” An odd statement for sure, especially since the guy apparently hasn’t seen Lynn in three years and never even wrote her a letter. So wait, what does this mean if Jake hadn’t been signed to Cleveland where Lynn resides? Would any of this have happened? Regardless, Lynn retreats from Jake like she should, and the cat and mouse game continues.
Jake’s next move is actually a noble one: he’s gonna read Moby Dick, a book Lynn always wanted him to read. You know, to show interest in her interests: normal things. Sadly, that’s quickly interrupted when Willie calls out the sentiment and suggests Jake “just go over there and see her.” Of course, Jake would if he knew where she lived (remember, he already did it at her job). Willie claims, “That’s easy, just tail her home from the library.” (Shame on you, Willie.) Jake questions it briefly, but we all know how this is gonna go.
Jake, in the frightening piece of machinery seen above, tails Lynn in true expert fashion. After finding out where she hangs her hat, he’s left at a crossroads on what to do next. After some contemplation, he decides to go all in and break-and-enter unannounced. You know, because that’s normal. Seriously, the guy does ALL of this, but couldn’t find it in him to ever read Moby Dick before?
The joke was on Jake though, as this was not Lynn’s place, but her fiancé’s! And they had company! It gets pretty awkward, too. Was it because the guests were all snooty folk and Jake — being the regular Joe — was a fish out of water? No. No, it was because these people were just having drinks on their Friday night and then some random dude broke in to their place of congregation and starting insinuating about having Olympic champion babies with Lynn, the host’s fiancé.
After some minor chest puffing for Lynn’s honor, Jake is seemingly put in his place by her fiancé. And rightfully so, as this guy just broke into his house! Obviously, he and Lynn had a conversation about the restaurant call incident. The guy is just trying to put out a fire before it spreads, and boy, can Jake Taylor spread.
Something that also bothered me? We’re honestly never told what happened to Lynn’s fiancé off-screen. She leaves him in the end, sure, but what happened after this night? This scene was the last we saw of the guy. Did Jake murder him before the game? He was able to get that “sacrificed live chicken” awfully fast, so he is resourceful… I guess we’ll never know for sure. (But really, we do.)
It’s only after Jake is beaten where they choose to throw us a “curveball” to the story: after all of these insane situations, Lynn shows up to watch Jake play in a game. I don’t understand it either, but this gesture turns it back on for Jake, and results in him stealing the Indian’s bullpen car to, you guessed it, follow Lynn home. Again. Run, Lynn. RUN!
But wait, this time he follows her to HER place, so it’s…cool? Nope, still creepy.
After some talk about how Jake was an awful boyfriend, Jake literally corners Lynn, and they proceed to have some good ol’ fashioned, post-nine innings, still in his uniform, stalker sex. But this doesn’t change how Lynn feels — that much is made clear — especially when he sees she’s quietly left him (escaped?) in the morning. Probably due to shame (she’s engaged!), or just fear for her own safety. Oh, these two!
Lynn bailing doesn’t stop Jake, though. Later in the movie, he shows up at her place unannounced yet again. Seriously, does anyone lock their doors in Cleveland? How does Jake keep getting into these places? No matter, because sorry Jake, but it looks like Lynn has moved out and in with her fiancé. That’s right. She’s finally free from you, you sick bastard.
It appears all is lost for Jake, and no matter what he does, nothing can bring him and Lynn — oh wait, nope. Nope, he does get Lynn back. Wait, what? What’d I just — what???
Okay, yeah, so it looks like Lynn shows up to his big game, watches the Indians win, ditches the engagement ring and her and Jake seemingly live happily ever after. For some reason.
Now, I’m no expert, but I think it’s been made pretty clear that Jake has some serious stalking issues. And Lynn is totally buying into it. Seriously, what is wrong with this chick?!?! Was there some deep-seated romantic gesture in all of this stalking that I’m somehow missing? I get that women like to be chased, but isn’t all this taking it a little too literally?
You know what, these two deserve each other. Jake Taylor’s a creep, and Lynn’s probably insane. Major League is forever changed for me. I can’t believe I just noticed how unsettling this was. In hindsight, perhaps I never noticed because of Jake and Lynn’s Love Theme that played throughout every time they were on screen together. Seriously, give it a listen and try not to be enchanted. They should have switched it out with this theme and made a more honest story of it all. This movie is about a very, very disturbed man. Who sometimes plays imaginary baseball with himself. I guess, if anything, Major League teaches us that stalking really can bring you love, with or without Jobu. Sleep tight, Indian fans. I know I won’t.