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HBT Extra: The A’s, the Cubs and what’s the best baseball movie anyway?

Apr 16, 2013, 5:02 PM EDT

Kay and I wonder why the heck they left off “The Sandlot.”

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  1. Sideline Mob - Apr 16, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Totally agree, The Sandlot is a damn good movie – both about baseball and growing up. The scene where they all chew tobacco at the carnival? Priceless.

  2. cur68 - Apr 16, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Best quotes: Bull Durham.
    Best baseball characters: Major League.
    Best performance by an inanimate object in a baseball movies: Jobu, in Major League
    Best baseball love story; Annie & Crash in Bull Durham.
    Best depiction of Baseball Players cheating on their wives: Roger Dorn in Major league.
    Best baseball announcing in a baseball movie: Harry Doyle in Major League.
    Best goofy pitcher in a baseball movie: Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham.
    Best catcher in a baseball movie: Crash Davis in Bull Durham.
    Best use of sorcery in a baseball movie: Pedro Cerrano in Major League.
    Best mound conversation in baseball movie: Bull Durham

    Its a wash.

    • butchhuskey - Apr 16, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Every time I see Dennis Haysbert in those All State commercials, I think “Hey! It’s Pedro Cerrano!”

      • cur68 - Apr 16, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        Cerrano sure made an impression, didn’t he?

      • mgflolox - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:14 PM

        Dammit!!! That’s PRESIDENT Pedro Cerrano if you don’t mind. Have some respect for the office!

  3. mudcat9 - Apr 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    8 Men Out

  4. buddaley - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Of the movies generally listed among the best ever, there are four whose virtues elude me. “Field of Dreams” I consider just glop, a mawkish, self-important mess of trite ideas about fathers and sons and the cleansing power of baseball. Similarly, “The Natural” is a heavy-handed, pretentious, artsy-fartsy move about baseball as myth. They are both calculated efforts to convince us they have something important to say while simply repeating threadbare cliches. They remind me of the idiot congressmen during the steroid hearings, each trying to glom onto the purity of baseball to burnish his image. I found neither movie entertaining, both painful to sit through.

    The other two each had some entertainment value but were, in my view, mediocre and derivative at best. “The Sandlot” had a few funny moments, but the nostalgic vision of youth and growing up was inane, and the truly dreadful voice over narration was a blatant ripoff of “A Christmas Story” without the wit or energy of that narration. I am really interested to read why Old Gator likes it so much. Did you say it was filled with irony? I sure missed that.

    Similarly, “Major League” had some funny characters and moments, but recycled just about every cliche in sports movie history to stitch together a basically bad movie. Whenever the movie sought to get serious, the pacing became plodding and the situations uninteresting. Particularly embarrassing was the effort to develop a love interest between Russo and Berenger.

    I have not seen some of the movies people listed, but of those I have seen, my top 5 are:

    “Bull Durham”: Funny, sexy, irreverent and a sense of the spirit of the game without talking about it except with a cocked eyebrow at Annie’s “philosophy”.

    My next 3 all are supposedly based on real events, and in every case there is quite a bit of poetic license in the effort. But I don’t think their accuracy or lack thereof is really important.

    “Cobb”: A wonderful Tommy Lee Jones performance and provocative consideration of the relationship between genius and character.

    “Eight Men Out”: Probably tough for people who do not know the basic story already, but wonderful period atmosphere and fascinating look at the interacting factors that made the scandal and its aftermath.

    “A League of Their Own”: Lighter than the other two, but funny and a worthwhile look at a real phenomenon. And it raises interesting issues without belaboring them.

    “Bad News Bears”: It’s just funny and entertaining. Again, let’s the audience think about ideas without making speeches about them.

    I also thought “Sugar” was excellent. Loved the Ken Burns series and thought *61 was pretty good. Most of the earlier movies, including “Pride of the Yankees” were formulaic, sort of like the bios of musicians that were so popular in the 1940s-50s.

    • derklempner - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:05 AM

      “‘The Natural’ is a heavy-handed, pretentious, artsy-fartsy move about baseball as myth.”

      Man, if the premise of a MLB player getting shot soon after making their debut wasn’t a true story, then your comment would make perfect sense!

      http://phillysportshistory.com/2011/06/14/this-day-in-philly-sports-history-a-demented-fan-and-the-natural/

      • buddaley - Apr 17, 2013 at 6:54 AM

        Yes, I know about Eddie Waitkus. Including a reference to a real event does not make it a good movie. And it is not the fact of the shooting that is the myth; it is the treatment of baseball itself, the solemn, self-conscious exploitation of baseball as some sort of spiritual activity, or some great metaphor, that weighs down the movie.

  5. djpostl - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Long Gone beats them all ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093433/ ):

    Cecil “Stud” Cantrell (played by William Petersen): Kid… let me tell you one of life’s great truths. All girls *fuck*.

    Jamie Weeks (played by Dermot Mulroney): Yeah, but this ones real religious…

    Cecil “Stud” Cantrell: When I said all girls, I meant *all girls*.

    • bla bla bla - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      You’re dead right, djpostl. Best baseball movie ever. Sadly, most people have never seen it. Wish I had it on DVD.

  6. djpostl - Apr 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    For some God forsaken reason HBO never had it released on DVD. It came out on Laserdisc for the love of God, yet not on DVD lol.

    And yes, not many people seem to have seen it. I actually wrote about that very fact a couple of years back ( http://bleacherreport.com/articles/647819-hbos-long-gone-the-best-baseball-movie-most-of-you-never-saw ).

    As for watching it….this is the best I can do:

    • djpostl - Apr 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

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