Spring returns America’s game to the movie circuit
The start of baseball season usually means three things: warmer temperatures are coming, I can nap better listening to Joe Buck comment on an afternoon game, and on any given Saturday afternoon, I can get lost in baseball fiction.
You know the feeling. You’re cleaning or tinkering, or in the middle of a project. You sit down for five minutes to rest your legs and switch through the channels. Then it happens: You fall on one of the dreaded Saturday afternoon movies that are made to drag you in.
In the spring and summer months, that movie usually has something to do with baseball. So without further ado, these are the five baseball movies that cause me to lose track of time and stay glued to the television.
5. “Fever Pitch”
There are baseball movies, which chronicle a team’s rise or show a star before he was big; then there is “Fever Pitch” — the story of the fan. No, I didn’t put this movie on here because it is about my Red Sox. I put it on here because it highlights the hilarious nature of being a baseball fan.
This isn’t about being a fan in Boston, it’s about being a fan anywhere. I know plenty of guys and girls who do not wear anything but their team colors during the summer months. I know people who live and die with their teams. This one is for them.
4. “Major League”
The one thing that separates “Major League” from all of its counterparts is the humor level. The movie is filled with one-liners, but behind the comedy it actually has a great story line.
But the real reason “Major League” makes the list is its cast of characters. Players like Ricky Vaughn and Roger Dorn keep you laughing with their hijinks, but rooting for them all the same.
3. The ones you loved when you were a kid
Originally I had “The Sandlot” on here. Then I changed it to “Angels in the Outfield.” Gradually, after adding movies like “Bad News Bears” and “Rookie of the Year,” I decided that the silly movies we grew up on as kids needed to be added to the list.
The reason? There is no way to stop yourself from spending two hours watching any one of those movies if you happen to land on it on a Saturday afternoon. You may know that Henry Rowengartner’s shoulder heals and gives him the velocity of Roy Halladay. You already know Benny is going to outrun the Beast. But you still can’t turn away, can you?
2. “A League of Their Own”
When I was younger, I thought this movie was all about women’s rights. Chicks playing baseball — it had to be a chick flick, right? Absolutely not. I have guy friends who love this movie. Everyone knows the “All American Team” theme song.
By the end of the movie, everyone is rooting for these girls. What makes it even better is that the whole thing really happened. No, big Dotty Henson may not have been real, but these women were. And that, my friends, makes the story have even more weight.
1. Anything with Kevin Costner in it
Kevin Costner is to baseball movies what Morgan Freeman is to documentary voice-overs. There is no one who can do it better. Costner has mastered three baseball flicks: “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams” and “For Love of the Game.”
These movies are baseball. When baseball season rolls around, everyone is quoting one of them. The movies speak to everyone, of all generations. “Bull Durham” is widely referred to as the most authentic and accurate baseball movie of all time. “For Love of the Game” is one of the most underrated sports movies ever made, giving an inside look into that journeyman pitcher everyone can’t seem to not love.
And “Field of Dreams”? Well, that’s just American. It’s apple pie and hope and the first sunny day in spring when you realize it’s warm enough to grab a glove and go play catch. That movie is baseball at its very core, the backyard diamond that makes you realize you love the game.
Yes, I can already hear the yelling. These aren’t the best baseball movies of all time, not by far. Of course, there would be references to “The Natural” and “Eight Men Out.” But when someone asks me why I got only half of my to-do list done over the weekend, one of these is usually the reason why.
I know that the school teacher gets the girl in the end. I understand that Ricky Vaughn just needed glasses. And I do understand that the underdog does win. But that doesn’t mean I am still not rooting for them.
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.