Aside from most comedies it is safe to say my favorite movie genre is “sports.” While most are already comedies, a majority of sports movies are dramas. A combination of the two coupled with a sports theme make for one blockbuster of a movie. While Remember the Titans and Space Jam rank up top of my favorite sports movies there is always a place in my heart for films portraying the national pastime. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen upwards of 20 baseball movies in my lifetime, with this list I have narrowed it down to my top seven.
While I am positive this was a bomb at the box office, I find it rather amusing. The fact that funny man Bernie Mac is playing baseball makes for one heck of an interesting movie. The storyline is unique. Mac, Stan Ross, is a longtime player for the Brewers. Seen as a Barry Bonds type player-he is a guy the fans love to hate. He is portrayed as a self centered jerk but his on field accomplishments are second to none. When he gets his 3000 hit he abruptly ditches his team and waits for his Hall of Fame induction to occur. Years later, when he is eligible for the ballot, the fact checkers find that he came up two hits short of the 3000 plateau. A realsitic fiction type of story, because it could happen I suppose. Anyway, he coems back out of shape but manages to join the Brewers and stink up the joint. He never does get his 3,000 hit but has a sense of self relazation when he helps inspire his new Brewer teammates, especially young superstar T-Rex Pennebaker, one of my favorite names in baseball movies.
Call me a pansy but this love story makes for a fantastic movie. I love both Jimmy Fallona and Drew Barrymore so seeing them as a couple makes me happy. But the story is about a man’s love for the game of baseball. Jimmy Fallon is a die-hard Red Sox fan and lives the dream life for any baseball fan. He has season tickets rigth behind the dugout. He makes the games priorities over anything else. His memorobilla collection is second to none, including a replica of the Green Monster in his apartment. But he finds that baseball may have to take a backseat to a girl when he falls in love with Drew Barrymore. Watchin him explain the game of baseball to her is something I enjoy discussing with girls. Going to a baseball game is such a romantic date. Well so is a horse drawn carriage ride and a wine tasting but for any baseball fan a game hits the spot. It is a movie I have to watch with a girlfriend.
The story is one of the greatest basbeall stories ever told. Jim Morris, played by Dennis Quad, is a high school biology teacher who happens to coach the baseball team. Taking a page from most movies the rag-tag group of high school guys are not the most talented group, nor do they care about their play on the field. The team is more concerned that their 40 year old coach actually has some heta left in his throwing arm. Morris challenges the team to reach the playoffs and makes a deal that he will find a major league try out camp and attempt to make the big leagues. The team succeeds and Morris is signed by the Tampa Bay organization. He works his way up the minors and makes his major league debut in his hometown of Arlington, TX against the Texas Rangers. It is a heartwarming true tale. The father-son relationship is defined throughout the movie between Morris and his son as well as Morris and his father. It makes me appreciate my dad so much more and thank him for encouraging my love for the game of baseball.
Angels in the Outfield
Angels in the Outfield making the list? “It can happen.” What do most college students do on a Friday night? Stay in and watch this classic Disney movie? Yep, last Friday my roommate Joe and myself watched this classic and were inspired that with a little prayer anything can happen. The characters in this movie are easy to fall in love with and you have to root for them. Roger and JP may be two of the cutest little kids on the big screen. Danny Glover as the manager makes me wish John Russell had the same fire and drive as George Knox. While I wish the Pirates were able to just flap their wings and play winning baseball it is an inspirational story nonetheless. As a matter of fact, the original Angels in the Outfield filmed in 1951 was about the Pittsburgh Pirates. I caught a glimpse of this once on AMC and really want to sit down and watch the whole thing. The story line is much different but applies to me. It is about a local journalist covering the team-my dream job.
3.) The Sandlot
There may be some baseball movies that feature a group of misfits, but these guys really frost the cake. From Squints, to Benny, from Ya-Ya to Smalls, these characters are so easy to fall in love with. The new kid on the block, Smalls, is just trying to fit in upon moving to a new town. Baseball is the name of the game in this midwestern 1960’s town. Smalls not only learns the game of baseball but also the game of life. He develops friendships and creates everlasting memories. From the encounters with the beast, to meeting James Earl Jones and Squints making out with the life guard, this movie gave the audience something to cherish. The simplicity of the game of baseball is defined through this movie. My favorite scene has got to be the 4th of July “night game” when the neighborhood is lit up with fireworks as the boys play baseball set to the tune of Ray Charles’ version of America the Beautiful. Plus everyone’s favorite line has got to be “You’re killing me smalls!”
There surely ain’t no fun like a game of hardball when you are watching this movie. Think Sandlot in the inner city and throw in a bum to manage the team. Hardball is a story of finding yourself in a tough environment. Everyone has their own story and lives it the only way you know how. It is fun to see these boys actually enjoy the game of baseball. When you think about inner city life, baseball isn’t really the hottest sports on the street. This movie showed that baseball can reach anybody, anywhere. Competition really brings out the best in us. We see through the death of G-Baby that a community really does rally around its children. There does get to me some intense moments but the montages featuring “Big Poppa” and “Party up in Here” create for some spine tingling events. It is so high up on the list because this was such a cool movie when I was in 7th grade. My buddies and I would always watch it during our sleepovers.
1.) Rookie of the Year
This is quite possibly the most quoted movie by myself and my friends. Classic line such as “Funky Butt Lovin,'” “I haven’t seen the floater pitch since Scruffy McGee,” and ‘it’s all about the bells and whistles.” These lines combines with a fantasy of a child making an MLB team equate to one unforgettable movie. Henry Ragenbuser, Gardenhoser, Rowentgartner has a freak accident causing his arm tendons to heal in an odd position. With this he finds that he can throw the ball upwards of 100mph. He is a sideshow freak that is discovered at a Cubs game when he does the traditional “Throw it back routine” He is eventually signed by the Cubs and ultimately leads them to the World Series. It is fun to see Henry go through the clubhouse, playing alongside his heroes. He brings the lighter side of baseball and and an entire nation falls in love with him. With Daniel Stern as hitting coach Phil Brickma and Gary Busey as Chet “The Rocket” Steadman the laughs never stop. With this movie we learn that ‘Conversation and Managing Resources is the key to baseball.’
While not technically a baseball movie, the Naked Gun has perhaps the most funniest baseball scene in all of cinema. Leslie Nielson poses as an umpire to stop an assasination attmept against the Queen of England who happens to be at that afternoon’s Dodger game. His on the field antics are quite histericall as are the bloopers that are shown on Dodger Stadium’s jumbotron. In the end we find that Reggie Jackson of all people is programmed to kill the queen.
Now, now, now I realize I am missing many classics such as Major League, The Natural, For the Love of the Game, Bull Durham and Field Of Dreams. I’m not saying I do not appreciate these movies, it is just that the top 7 are my personal favorites. Feel free to join my debate and post your own favorite baseball movies!
Personally, I can not take it anymore. The Pirates have dropped 16 in a row to the boys from Milwaukee. It’s getting old; it’s getting ridiculous. With the 7-4 come from behind victory the brewers showed once again that they own the Pirates.
Ryan Braun did not get the start in this game and I was pretty excited that their slugger was Missing In Action from the starting lineup. Little did I know he would come back to bite me in the butt. In the 8th inning who else but Braun steps up to the plate and delievers a bloop single that scores two runs and tied the game at 3. Whats more dissapointing is that the ball should have very easily been caught. It floated up in the air for what seemed like forever. When it left his bat I was pumped up for a routine fly ball and an inning ending putout. However, Brandon Moss had other plans as he slowed up and played the ball on a hop. Now I’m no major league rightfielder any mean. Heck, I couldn’t even play for my high school team but I’ll tell you what in little league, I hustled. I wanted to catch everything when I patrolled the outfield. Seeing Moss play the ball way to conservatively makes me question his motivation, drive and also his talent.
He was a bit too jolly for my liking. He did’nt hit a home run or even get good wood on the ball to solidfy a good hit. Just by sure luck was he able to tie the game.
Now the girls of Wisconsin and sports writers across America will gush over his “clutch” performance and steady hands that helped win the game for the Brewers.
What makes matters worse is what he said after the game.
“Unbelievable game,” said Braun, “I was not anticipating playing, that’s for sure. It’s kind of a crazy day, something I’ve never experienced before.”
Blah, blah, blah come on man get over yourself. To make matters worse apparently Braun has never been hit by a pitch either. In last weeks series against the Buccos, Braun didn’t have enough kleenex to dry his tears after he was beaned by a pitch from Jeff Karstens.
“It’s rare for major league pitchers to miss by that much with the fastball,” Braun said. “We play them about 17 more times. Tell Mr. Selig, we’ll see what happens. It’ll be interesting.” I think Bud has better things to worrsy about man. While if I was Karstens I’d love to send a message to hot head Mc. Gee up there but he is a major league pitcher and he does know better. Braun didn’t stop there with the whining, also saying “that kid should know better.” Referring to Karstens.
Now according to pirates.com, Karstens was born on 9/24/1982 making him 26 years old. Braun on the other hand was born on 11/17/1983. Just a tad younger than Jeff. By calling Karstens a “kid” was a belt-lining blow to a fellow major league collegue. He made himself look like like spoiled, frat boy “kid.”
If you haven’t been able to tell I have lost a lot of respect for the Brewers organization. I’ve kind of admired the franchise over the past few years. I’ve been to Miller Park, it is fantastic. The structure is beautiful and the atmosphere is grand. The current and vintage logo is cool with its bold striking royal blue color. And the players themselves are fun. The orgainzation produced and developed their own young talent and groomed them into premier ballplayers. When a piece or two was needed they go out and add a fixture that is solid and contributes to the team. I’ve supported them in their playoff run and idolized their model of a small market team. Even one of my favorite baseball movies “Mr. 3000” starring the late Bernie Mac is a Milwaukee item.
However, the cocky attitude, untucking of the shirts and overall bad mouthing of the Pirates shows the lack of class and respect this team has for a fellow MLB club.
But in the end it is up to the Bucs to right their own ship. It is a pivital game tonight. Ian Snell takes the mound looking to avoid a 17th straight loss to the Brew Crew. Its historically fitting because the Pirates are also on the brink of their 17 straight losing season. A win tonight would be a nice turnaround as the Bucs would end the Crew streak and reach the .500 plateau once again. Who knows maybe it will even avoid the losing season streak come September, but once again. WHO KNOWS.
Taking a page out of Pedro Martinez’s book-We just have to tip our hats and call the Brewers our daddy.
PHOTO CREDIT: Braun-AP Photos