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America's Pastime

April 29, 2009 - Kim Collette

For those who don't know already, I sports!  And......it really doesn't matter what sport it is or who is playing!  I can't get enough!  This even extends to movies.  Sports movies are some of (if not MOST) of my all-time favorite movies!

What better place to start than baseball movies?  This is the season of America's Pastime, right?  Hopefully when you are done reading this week's blog, you will be in the mood for the marathon 160 games left in the 2009 season!

So....against my better judgment (since I have my Tivo programmed to different channels than most of you ), I am going to list my Top 10 baseball movies....which undoubtedly once again leave some of your favorites out!

10. Bad News Bears-Walter Matthau! How would you like this guy as your Little League coach?  Hilarious!  Even watching it now, it reminds you what Little League was REALLY like!  The original Bad News Bears...Hilarious....just don't watch any of the wanna-be sequels!

9.Rookie of the Year-Henry Rowengartner (played by Thomas Ian Nichols who most of you will know as Kevin from the American Pie movies) is not much of a ballplayer.  Henry breaks his arm and when it heals realizes he can throw 100 mph!  Henry ends up pitching for his beloved Chicago Cubs when he's only 12!  The reason I this movie is Daniel Stern's character Phil Brickma!  My brother and I must have driven our parents crazy using "Brickma-isms!  "Hot Ice...the best of both worlds!" or "Help, little help here!"  A movie that brings out the inner-kid in you!

8.Field of Dreams- Who hasn't repeated "If you build it, he will come"? Iowa farmer Ray Kinsela listens to the voice in his head that leads him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield!  He built it...and guess what....they came....Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 "Black Sox."  Better yet..."he" happens to be Ray's father and the father and son finally get to play catch!

7.Major League-The new owner of the last place Cleveland Indians wants to move the team to Miami.  She purposefully fields a team of misfits from "Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn and Willie Mays Hayes to Jake Taylor and Roger Dorn.  The hilarity ensues when these misfits make a run for the playoffs and to stay in Cleveland.  Bob Uecker's performance as an announcer and the grounds crew add extra laughs to this already hilarious movie!

6.Bull Durham-Kevin Costner (if you're keeping track, his 2cnd appearance on this list) plays veteran catcher Crash Davis who is brought in to the minor league Durham Bulls to "handle" their star rookie pitcher "Nuke" LaLoosh.  Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon, creates a romantic, but very comic love triangle when she romances both players.  The opening narration by Annie's character about "The Church of Baseball" hooks you into this classic!

5.Eight Men Out-Eight Men Out tells the true story of the infamous "Black Sox' scandal of 1919.  Mad at the team owner, players accept bribes to throw the World Series.  Some of the players begin to regret the decision and they attempt to turn the series around.  The Sox lose and their secret is safe.  It is safe for 2 years until 2 players confess.  The 8 players all stand trial.  The jury finds the Sox NOT GUILTY, but the commissioner of baseball bans them for life.  One of my favorites, even though it is about a scandal, is because of the wonderful cast:  John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, John Mahoney, Charlie Sheen (another 2-timer on my list), David Straithairn and D.B. Sweeney.

4.A League of Their Own-Another movie I hold close to my heart because my dad, brother and I used "Are you crying? Are you crying? There's no crying in baseball!" and "You're gonna loooossse" non-stop.  Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, is hired to coach the Rockford Peaches.  It's 1943 and the male pros are fighting a war, so the All-American Pro Girls League was formed.  Over time, Dugan realizes that the girls can play ball too!  Another film based on a true story and another with a fantastic cast: Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz and David Straitharin (who is actor #3 to make a second appearance on my list).  Great flick!

3.The Sandlot-Scott Smalls, the new kid on the block, is taken under wing by Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez to play ball with the neighborhood gang.  From their adventures at the pool and carnival to trying to get an autographed baseball back from "The Beast", this movie has something for all ages! If you're a bit older, it takes you back to the fun you had on summer vacation with your pals.  If you're younger, it's a great movie about lasting friendship.  Yet again, another movie on my list that my brother and I quoted endlessly.  "You play ball like a giiiirrrllll!"   "Yeah, yeah"  or "Foooorrrreeeeevvvvveeeerrrr!"  One of the  movies I watch every time it's on!

2.  *61-First off, I'm a huge Yankees fan.  I didn't want to put 2 NY baseball movies on my list, so I chose my favorite of the 2 (leaving off Pride of the Yankees).  Billy Crystal did an excellent job chroniclling the home run race of the summer of 1961.  The "M&M Boys", Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, were both chasing Babe Ruth's home run record. The Yankees "golden boy" versus the quiet Midwesterner.  Any baseball  fan will love this movie.  For those of you who aren't fans....watch the movie to find out why there is an * in the title!

And...

1.The Natural-Hands down, my favorite all-time baseball movie.  Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, is a middle-aged ball player with a mysterious past. Hobbs ends up on the last place Knights team.  When Hobbs leads the team to first place and beyond, he must face demons from his past.  The "wonderboy" bat...his last at bat when he hits the ball into the stadium lights and rounds the bases with sparks trickling down....the score of the movie.   MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE!

There you have it...my favorite baseball movies!  Let me know what you think or what I didn't include!

Until next time friends!

 
 

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