Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Do These Baseball Movies Never Get Old?

I'm planning on seeing 42 later this week after reading a bunch of glowing reviews about it. Rob Neyer wrote a really interesting article yesterday after asking a bunch of great baseball people (Bill James, Brian Kenny, Joe Posnanski, etc.) what the next historical baseball movie should be. If you're at all interested in the topic, I encourage you to read it.

As for the rest of us, I compiled some of the best baseball movie scenes ever. If you're going to read the list, prepare to laugh in the beginning and cry at the end.

The Sandlot
(Watch the first two minutes, at least.)

I couldn't use the scene when Squints tricks Wendy Peffercorn into kissing him, because it's a classic but it's not a baseball scene. I also didn't want to use the "You play ball like a girl!" scene because I used it in a post a few weeks ago.

The scene I did choose shows us a lot about the movie's two main characters, Smalls and Benny. Smalls is the herb who's new to town and doesn't know how to play ball. And Benny the Jet is the neighborhood stud that just wants the other kids to play well enough so that they can field a team.

Still, Benny acts as a sort of guardian angel to Smalls. "Just stand there and stick your glove out in the air. I'll take care of it." Benny is like the kid version of Ricky Henderson--so cocky yet still likable.

Bull Durham

If you want to kill a large portion of your night, just search "bull durham" on youtube. Better yet, just rent it on Netflix, because you'll end up watching basically the whole movie on youtube anyways.

Major League

"Just a bit outside!" Bob Uecker is an American treasure because of his broadcasting career and movie cameos. However, his playing career was awful. In fact, he's probably better known for his self-effacing quotes than for his skills as a big league catcher. Here are a few of those quotes:
--"People don't know this but I helped the Cardinals win the pennant. I came down with hepatitis. The trainer injected me with it."
--"Sporting goods companies pay me not to endorse their products."
--"The biggest thrill a ballplayer can have is when your son takes after you. That happened when my Bobby was in his championship Little League game. He really showed me something. Struck out three times. Made an error that lost the game. Parents were throwing things at our car and swearing at us as we drove off. Gosh, I was proud."

Now, for a couple of tear-jerkers:

Pride of the Yankees

Some interesting facts about Pride of the Yankees, from IMDB:
--Babe Ruth (behind Gehrig in that clip) played himself in the film, and actually missed several days of filming due to his own illnesses.
--Gary Cooper, who played Lou Gehrig in the film, had never seen or played in a baseball game before being cast.
--The movie was released just 17 months after Gehrig's death, so the actor Cooper was older than the real-life Gehrig ever got to be.

Field of Dreams

Now, if there's a scene even one-tenth as good as that one in 42, the movie will be well worth the price of admission. Classic scene with a terrific actor about our most timeless sport.

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