That clip should say "of your childhood" which is a pretty important detail but whatever. I'm not texting the social guys. They got enough shit on their plate. I'll just reframe the question for you guys because I already made my list and I focused it around the childhood aspect of baseball movies. We're sticking to the list and quite frankly I think mine's not too fuckin shabby. There's gonna some real salty haters around here when we're done. Spoiler Alert: Sorry your childhood sucked dude.
Some other programming notes: go subscribe to Starting 9 so I can get more than 3 hours of sleep every night.
This week we talked about Childhood movies.
I will now rank my top 7
7. Angels In The Outfield (1994)
Honestly this movie fucking blows but if I don't include it, then I know you guys are going to kill me. Fine. Whatever. People call this the greatest trailer of the 90's. Personally I think it's just a little below Danny Glover for the time. A classic actor at his peak powers, he pairs with Tony Danza for a cast that quite frankly deserves a better script. Too many wasted good performances. And also just a jarring way to get kids introduced to the afterlife. Producers were focused on getting the demographic accustomed to suffering tragic loss. What better way to do that then baseball.
6. The Fan (1996)
Maybe you had a more normal childhood but not me. I was exposed to the tough stuff at an early age and for my money this one's lodged in there. Take that for what it is.
5. Hardball (2001)
If you can stomach it. Kind of a routine thing here early on - tragic loss and rallying around baseball to find peace. Keanu Reeves has had finer work but none more impactful to a generation. Also shoutout anybody with a G-Baby jersey. That never gets old.
4. The Bad News Bears (1976)
Walter Matthau absolutely murders and I mean MURDERS. Like the only person who could do the remake was Billy Bob Thornton at the heigh of his Bad Santa powers and even then it wasn't even close. Absolute blowout 30-0 by Matthau on the scoreboard. There's no replicating his saltiness. The casual alcoholic in charge of a group of strange kids. Getting their absolute shit kicked in then having to go hustle some ringers. That's real life stuff right there. We've been there. We know the lengths some adults are willing to go to win little league baseball games. Something about his debauchery though just clicks. All Time Classic Movie.
3. Little Big League (1994)
It's not just the Night Nurses from Jersey. It's the mature vibe that comes with the territory of being owner/manager. As we talk on the pod, by far the best cast of any of these movies. The MLB players alone will simply blow you away. The roster construction of characters from Blackout as the Closer to Silverman playing the thought-provoking reliever. Lou is a classic 1st baseman. On it goes, all utterly flawless. Then you got Griffey and Randy and Wall Joyner and just so many classic names from the 90's as the extras. You just don't see that any more.
The best part though is BIlly Heywood. The cool calm collected intellect that outwits the baseball world while still getting his balls busted by his buddies. It's the best name. He's got the best hair. And easily this is the most underrated one on the list. Nobody ever talks about it as a pure baseball movie - always relegated to the kids division. I'm here to change that.
2. Rookie Of The Year (1993)
A lot of you have this #1 and probably expect me as the diehard Cubs fan but that's simply not the case because #1 is too powerful. This is a distant 2nd place, but a firm 2nd place. Henry Rowengartner is an all time character. Chet Stedman is an all time character. Heddo is an all time villain. Brickma. Hot Ice. Honestly it's just legendary figure and moment after the other. PITCHERS GOT A BIG BUTT. I mean guys I get what I'm doing when I say this is 2nd place. I know it's awesome.
But it falls short and that's just because there's no denying the crown in my life:
1. The Sandlot (1993)
It's becoming a popular take to shit on The Sandlot. Fine by me. Step right up. Anyone who points a finger at this movie negatively is instantly outing themselves as a complete loser with no friends. That was your childhood if you hate The Sandlot because the movie is so less about the sport and much more about the camaraderie it brings to a young age. Of all the sports and leagues in your life, nothing compares to the joy of the little league days with your crew. It's all nostalgia. Going to the pool and fucking around. Trying dip years before you should even consider putting it in your mouth. Basically just doing dumb shit with the boys, and then coming together around baseball. That's a special thing and The Sandlot nails that part of life perfectly.
Obviously it would suck growing up with no friends and being a loser that all the kids avoided. I didn't live that life so I don't have a shitty perspective on The Sandlot. But I completely understand why some people would hate this movie. Jealousy is a very common emotion, and Smalls had it better than you. Think about that for a second.
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