Baseball season is upon us, and we’re a week into the 2017 season.
As my loyal readership knows, I took a week of vacation to catch my Cubs and the beginning of their march to what I hope will be another World Series championship.
I wasn’t disappointed, as Joe Maddon and Co. are off to a respectable 3-2 start with two wins over the hated rival St. Louis Cardinals and one against the Milwaukee Brewers.
But all this baseball got me thinking about other ways we take in America’s pastime. Sure, we enjoy going to a game, catching it on TV or listening to it on the radio, but what about movies?
I Googled such films and compiled a list of those I’ve seen and ranked my five best for your consideration.
You’ll find the list has a nice mixture of drama and comedy with movies that’ll make you laugh and think.
Now, please keep in mind, these are the top five movies I’ve seen personally. There are some, like “The Natural” and “Bull Durham,” I haven’t seen that I’m sure are somewhere on your list.
Without further delay, here’s it is, complete with movie posters and trailers:
5.) Tie between “Fever Pitch” and The Sandlot”
Release date: April 8, 2005
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%
IMDB summary: Lindsay is stuck in the middle of her relationship with Ben and his passion for the Boston Red Sox.
My thoughts: I think this is a cute and funny film with the right mix of baseball and relationships. A movie suited for a date night with funny performances by Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. In the 12 years since its release, it’s stood the test of time, and I would have no problem watching it over and over.
Release date: April 7, 1993
Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%
IMDB summary: A new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his team in this coming of age movie set in the summer of 1962. Together, they get themselves into many adventures involving rival teams, lifeguards, and a vicious dog.
My thoughts: It appears Rotten Tomatoes liked “Fever Pitch” a bit more than “The Sandlot,” but no matter, it’s still one of my favorites. I was 11 when this film was released, and I took to it immediately. There’s just something about coming of age while playing America’s pastime that most kids can relate to.
4.) “Major League”
Release date: April 7, 1989
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
IMDB Summary: The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they’ll lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her.
My thoughts: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie, and I laugh like a fool after each viewing. Sure, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes and Tom Berenger all perform well as players, but, to me, it’s Bob Uecker, portraying play-by-play man Harry Doyle, who steals the show with such classic lines as “Just a bit outside” and “In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar.” It’s the funniest baseball movie on this list. By far.
Release date: April 12, 2013
Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
IMDB Summary: The story of Jackie Robinson from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1945 to his historic 1947 rookie season when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
My thoughts: I remember really wanting to see this movie and finally did after renting it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Chadwick Boseman does a fine job in the lead title role and gives life and truth to history most of us weren’t around to see. Also wonderful was Harrison Ford in the role of Branch Rickey, the executive who signed Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Such a good movie.
Release date: Sept. 23, 2011
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
IMDB summary: Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.
My thoughts: This is another movie I could watch repeatedly. The film tells the tale of what then was a new way of parsing baseball talent. While Beane was indeed an innovator, his methods are now all over baseball and are largely responsible for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs breaking their historically long championship droughts. You could learn a lot about today’s version of Major League Baseball by watching this movie.
1.) “Field of Dreams”
Release date: May 5, 1989
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
IMDB summary: An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago White Sox come.
My thoughts: Come on, how could you not think this was at the top of the list? And it’s not just because I share the film’s Iowa roots, though that certainly helps. Seriously, though, this movie is a quintessential baseball classic. Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster deliver memorable performances that still stand even after nearly 30 years. “If you build it, he will come.” “Is this Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” Ask just about anyone, and they’ll tell you where those lines came from. This film is memorable, it’s great, and it tops my list.
So, there you have it, my top five.
Personally, I can’t wait to see the film telling the epic story of the 2016 World Series champion Cubs. Who knows, at some point, it may top my list.
But that’s enough out of me. What did I miss? What are your thoughts?