Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Baseball tryouts are over and spring practice has begun for my son, who plays center field for his middle school team.  His first game is in two weeks, and, I am ready with my peanuts and Cracker Jack to watch some baseball, as I have been doing every spring since T-ball eight years ago.  When I'm not watching him play, I like to watch baseball movies.  Following are nine of my favorites.
  1. The Natural(1984).  Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs, whose dream of being a major league pitcher is shattered by a chance encounter with a mysterious woman; now sixteen years later Hobbs resurfaces as a rookie.
  2. Eight Men Out(1988).  This is the story of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson and the "Black Sox" scandal of 1919.
  3. Major League(1989).  The new owner of the Cleveland Indians wants them to lose so that she can move the team to Florida, so she recruits a bunch of oddballs to seal the deal.
  4. Field of Dreams(1989).  Take some baseball; throw in farm living, the sixties, and the supernatural.  What's not to like?
  5. The Babe(1992).  John Goodman is Babe Ruth, one of baseball's most fascinating players.
  6. The Sandlot(1993). In the summer of 1962, Scotty Smalls wanders over to the sandlot to play baseball with the neighborhood children. Expecting to be humiliated, he is instead welcomed by star player Benny "The Jet" Rodriquez who teaches him the game of baseball.
  7. Angels in the Outfield(1994). A remake of the 1951 film, this is the story of the California Angels whose chance at the pennant is in the hands of a young boy and an angel.
  8. Bad News Bears(2005).  Though I enjoyed the 1976 version with Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal, I prefer this remake with Billy Bob Thornton.  Morris Buttermaker, a former professional ballplayer and current alcoholic exterminator, is recruited to coach the worst team of twelve-year olds in the league.
  9. Sugar(2009).  Sugar is a talented pitcher from the Dominican Republic, whose only chance of escaping poverty is to make it to the Major League.

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