This post originally appeared here: http://www.gazettextra.com/weblogs/peace-and-glove/2012/dec/03/i-guess-its-uh-movie-time-eh/
I’ve always believed that one can make any number of good arguments when discussing the “greatest in the game.” Regardless of which game you are discussing, different people will make different arguments and will attempt to draw apples-to-apples comparisons between players from different eras who never competed against one another. With so many factors to consider, it truly becomes impossible to pick just one man or woman who is the greatest in his or her game.
The same principle applies to almost everything in life. Chocolate ice cream with marshmallow swirl could easily be the best ice cream in the world, but I’d look the fool if I didn’t acknowledge that one could easily make the same claim about regular vanilla, if for no other reason than its versatility. When you factor in other conditions, such as butterscotch syrup or sliced bananas, one literally can make the argument that any ice cream is the best ice cream available.
Since you don’t come here to read about ice cream and because the hot stove heating up isn’t heating me up, I thought we could discuss our all-time favorite baseball movies. It’s not always the plot or characters that make a great movie, but the lines we take from it and incorporate into our daily conversations. (That’s how I make out my scorecard, at least.)
There’s no way I can pick just one baseball movie as my all-time favorite, so I thought I’d list my top three. So, to borrow a line from two brothers in a movie that my bro and I loved while growing up, I guess it’s, uh, movie time, eh!
– “Major League”: Be honest, how many times in your adult life have you been watching a game, seen a wild pitch and said to yourself, “Juuuuust a bit outside? I can’t see a wild pitch and NOT say it. If I’m having a conversation (baseball-related or not) with someone who says something that seems a bit awkward, I can’t help but think (say), “Dynamite drop-in, Monty”.
This is just how my mind works. Outside of the classic one-liners, the movie itself actually is quite epic. Taking a tire-selling former coach and a roster half-full of people he’d never heard of (and those he had heard of were well past their prime (See what I did there?), the team plays as expected in the beginning only to turn it around and make the playoffs — the type of season baseball fans dream about from the day they start to dream about baseball. Add a perfect ensemble of characters and this movie is a “must-see” for any and all baseball fans. (“The Bullpen” notes: The fact that the game scenes were shot at Milwaukee County Stadium only makes the movie that much better for Wisconsinites!)
– “The Natural”: There are but a couple movies I remember watching as a kid that actually gave me the feeling of butterflies in my stomach, but this is the only one that didn’t include a match-winning crane kick. I do think this movie drags on a bit, but when Roy Hobbs grabs the bat with his team down by two runs with two men on base and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, those butterflies tell you something special is about to happen. To add drama to an already-tense situation, Hobbs breaks “The Wonder Bat” and has blood seeping through his jersey with Curt Shilling-type mojo. After he asks Bobby to “pick (him) out a winner,” he of course smashes the next pitch into the lights and the rest is history — sort of.
– “The Sandlot”: Like “The Natural,” this one makes the cut for being a good movie, not just for its one-liners we can use daily. Although one of my most commonly used phrases comes from this movie, it’s the only line that has stuck with me. I’ve had more than a few friends ask, “Who?” when I say “You’re killing me, Smalls”. This flick also is great because unlike the other two on my list, it’s a perfect film to watch with the kids, no matter their ages.
– “A League Of Their Own” (There’s no crying in baseball!), “Major League League 2,” “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams” (If you build it, he will come.) and, while the movie itself is far less-than-classic, “Major League 3″ (yes, they made it) is a must-watch simply because of the first two.
I did this mostly off the top of my melon, so did I miss any? Tell me your favorite baseball movie or the lines you remember from it.