In 1982, I remember hoisting little Mike Sopocy on my shoulders after we’d won the Little League Championship Tournament in Schaumburg, IL. In those days, baseball wasn’t just something I participated in during the summer when we were off school, it was a life – complete with its own culture, vernacular and a dedication that continues to fuel my competitive juices.
This week, professional baseball teams from 4 metropolitan cities gather in a variety of arenas to determine who will go head-to-head in the final test of baseball greatness – The World Series – an event that always unveils itself in the crisp days of October.
There’s something about baseball that drives everyone. Whether it’s using baseball-riddled colloquialisms to describe your success or failure level on a workplace task; to describe how fast time is going during an event; or even how far you are along in a whimsical teenage physical relationship, baseball permeates everything around us. It offers a true emotional roller coaster ride for all and that point’s never been showcased more than by the feature films that showcase the game.
Join the Screen Rant Team as we give you the real-life box score for some of the great “Baseball Hit” feature films from years gone by and remember to chime in below with YOUR favorites!
Major League (1989)
Ahh, for those that wonder, I was one of the tens of thousands of extras you’ll see in the audience scenes in Major League. This comedy/cliche’d yuckety-yuck movie features former Milwaukee Brewer Catcher-turned announcer extraordinaire Bob Uecker, and was actually filmed at the now-turned-to-dust Milwaukee County Stadium. I spent many a late school-the-next-morning event with friends there and the evenings when the film was being captured were no exception. Bob Uecker, Tom Berenger, and a cast of very now-famous people shine in this film that is full of over the top, cliche’d funnies that give you the lighter, dumber side of baseball – true – but at the same time it IS truely fun. That aren’t a lot of sports movies that can say that they get the comedy part right, but this one did and does every time I watch it.
The Sandlot (1993)
It’s clearly one of the more obscure movies on the list, but it’s still one of the most cherished. For those of you that ever actually “played” on a sandlot, you’ll have an experience with this film. It’s full of characters that you’ll surely remember (most of whom were and still are nobodies) from YOUR days of sandlot shenanigans, but also features remembrance and clarity on some of the biggest, scare-inducing “myths” that were out there when you were a child. I love this film because like so many of my favorites, it transports me to a time and to memories that were a lot more simple and straightforward.
A League of Their Own (1992)
There are many reasons to like Tom Hanks in the realm of moviedom, and few to hate him for. This is one. But when you get through the rough veneer of how gruff an ass he is here, there’s a COACH – someone that knows about tough love, how to help with experience and pain and hey, here he is. This film also conveys a lot of the struggle that women have been through – not just for “rights to do” something, but to be recognized as a gender. That point is hammered home by a cast that includes Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Gina Davis, who have all since rallied to drive feminine causes of all kinds. The only thing you’ll need intestinal fortitude for is to somehow get by Lori Petty’s baseball skill set which – like Madonna’s integrity – doesn’t exist. Y’know when people say “boy, you throw like a girl…” well.
The Natural (1984)
This movie, based on a Bernard Malamud novel, provides you with one of the great acting showcases by Robert Redford as a gifted baseball player that seemingly came out of nowhere to become a true champion. Directed by Barry Levinson, this movie wins me over because of the mystique that oozes from his total capturing of baseball in the 1930′s. The people around him, the crowd, the almost “smellable” atmosphere that he creates inside this movie is something to behold. It’s also punctuated by an outstanding soundtrack, composed by he who writes soundtracks in his sleep (though this one really IS a solid classic), Randy Newman.