Entertainment

Bad weather and baseball movies

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This is my favorite time of year. Stretch runs in hockey and pro basketball. NASCAR is tuning up and college basketball is winding down to March Madness. Teams reporting to spring training.

And like many of you, baseball and softball fun and festivities always seem to catch the early rains here in Central Texas. So I am rifling through my Netflix account and stumbled across Ken Burns’ amazing PBS series “Baseball”. I am a huge fan of baseball history and statistics, so the series intrigued me. It’s really the only game out there that goes both forwards and backwards and is enamored in its own history.

But it also got me thinking: what are my favorite baseball movies ever made?

Here is a listing of mine, in no particular order:

“For The Love of the Game”

It is one of three  movies that come to mind that focuses on pitching perfect games. Kevin Costner plays Billy Chapel, a career-long Detroit Tiger who pitched a perfect game, while the film lapses back to points in Chapel’s career where his love, Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston), came in and out of his life. The other movie, “The Perfect Game” is the true story of the little league team from Monterrey, Mexico who became the first non-US team to win the Little League World Series and won with a perfect game. “Summer Catch” comes up later in the list.

“Moneyball”

Brad Pitt plays Oakland Athletics general manger Billy Beane. Hamstrung by a small market budget, Beane solicits the input from a sabermetrics guru Peter Brand (Jonas Hill, Note: Peter Brand is a fictional character. The guru was actually Paul DePodesta) and built a American League West Champion, despite losing Johnny Damon, Jason Isringhausen and Jason Giambi to free agency. The movie also harkens back to Beane’s playing days, where he was a struggling first-round draft pick of the New York Mets, choosing baseball over Stanford football.

“Trouble with the Curve”

I am a big Clint Eastwood fan, so I had no qualms with adding this to the list. Eastwood plays aging baseball scout Gus Goebel, working for the Atlanta Braves. His eyes were affected by macular degeneration. His daughter Mickie, played by Amy Adams, went on a road trip with Gus to scout a prospect at the request of longtime friend and Braves’ director of player development (played by John Goodman). Gus is the only one who detects the draft pick has trouble hitting a curve ball, as the Braves’ brass was more enamored by the prospect’s power.

“Bull Durham”

Still a baseball favorite of many, Bull Durham goes beyond the product on the field. This focuses on the career minor leaguer (Kevin Costner) mentoring the flame-throwing, space-cased draft pick (Tim Robbins) and their relationships with a Carolina-league southern belle (Susan Sarandon).

“Summer Catch”

This movie focused on Cape Cod summer league and the hijinks of a struggling minor league pitcher Ryan Dunn (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and catcher Billy Brubaker (Matt Lillard) who has problems adjusting from metal bats to wood bats. Dunn falls for a rich girl Tenley Parrish (Jessica Biel), ends up in a class struggle with her father, and eventually combines for a perfect game. Brubaker’ game straightens up with a one-night stand with DeDe Mulligan (the late Brittany Murphy). The movie ends with Dunn making the majors with the Phillies and gets homered off of by Ken Griffey Jr.

Others making my list: Bang the Drum Slowly, Pride of the Yankees, Major League, The Sandlot, A League of Their Own, 61*, The Natural, Cobb, Eight Men Out and The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.

By: Tony Adams, Journal Sports Writer

About Tony Adams

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