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OTM Rountable: Favorite baseball movie

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Pretty straight forward, I think.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

We are now a couple of weeks into this hiatus of baseball and, well, I’ve got to be honest. I didn’t think it would take this long for me to dry up of real Red Sox-related thoughts. They’ll come back as time goes on, of course, (both the thoughts and the Red Sox), but this week I couldn’t think of a question there. So, I went generic. Sue me. The question for the staff, and you all in the comments, is simply what is your favorite baseball movie?

Jake Kostik

I debated internally whether I wanted to go with Rookie of the Year, The Rookie, or The Sandlot, but ultimately, top billing for me has to go to Major League for its eclectic cast of characters, fun and simple plot, and its cultural relevance even today (if I remember right, you can still get the “Wild Thing” haircut in MLB the Show, which is awesome).

Plus, Willie Mays Hayes is the best fictional baseball player other than Pablo Sanchez of Backyard Baseball fame.

Shelly Verougstraete

My favorite baseball movie is Ballplayer: Pelotero. If you have never seen or heard of it, I really recommend checking it out. The movie is a documentary on how MLB international draftees are scouted and ‘recruited’. This movie, in particular, follows Miguel Sano and Juan Carlos Bautista and how the two prospects stories differ. More importantly, it really shows you how different their world is and how corrupt the international draftee selection process can be. I mean one scout said of Sano, “At the end of the day, he’s merchandise”. It is really sad and depressing this is how so many kids’ lives are. I really recommend checking this out just to get another perspective on the game.

Michael Walsh

My favorite baseball movie is Moneyball, without a doubt. I must have seen Moneyball about 40 times now. While I enjoy classics like The Sandlot, Moneyball is much more relatable for me. I love the new-age thinking towards baseball established in this movie, as well as the reactions some of the experienced scouts had towards the change in thinking. An aspiration of mine is to work as an analyst in a Major League front office, and watching this movie constantly motivates me. Hopefully poor Billy Beane has some luck turn his way in the playoffs one of these years.

Phil Neuffer

The Sandlot. I was a child in the 90s, so I’m not sure what else you’d expect. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling and it pushes this one past movies with more critical adulation. Plus, Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez is the best fictional athlete of all time. Do not at me.

Mike Carlucci

Baseball movies are weird. The best is probably Moneyball with its excellent cast, rich source material, and professional production. But my favorite is Angels in the Outfield.

The cast is top notch: Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Joseph Gordon Levitt...Adrien Brody(what?), and Matthew McConaughey! What? It’s clearly been many years since I saw this. I didn’t even realize those last two were acting back then.

Anyway, spoiler alert, angels are real. They act like Doc Brown, and they can’t rig the playoffs. And they require goofy arm gestures. It’s a lot of fun.

I just found out that The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon came out after AITO. I would have sworn that was from 1986. This was going to be my Tony Danza intro. He was back to a sports movie. Oh well.

Keaton DeRocher

For me, it’s The Sandlot. It’s the first baseball movie I remember seeing and while there are certain parts of it that didn’t age well, it’s very relatable. My friends and I would meet up every Sunday at our local field and just play baseball all-day every summer so it was really easy to connect to it. It’s also just a really good movie. I’ll probably get killed for this but honorable mention to Fever Pitch. I dig a good rom-com and even better if it’s Red Sox centric. Plus, “Not to pry doc, but why are you shaving my balls” is a go-to quote I drop often in everyday life.

Bryan Joiner

At first I had a hard time deciding what to pick because my brain read this question as “What is your favorite baseball movie (that isn’t Major League)?” In that purely hypothetical scenario I was stuck with some half-decent to good options, probably topping out at A League of Their Own. That movie is good. Major League is better. Major League is damn-near perfect. Major League is everything I want in a baseball movie and nothing I dislike. Spoiler alert: They (the Indians) don’t even win the World Series! They just make the playoffs. And they beat the Yankees. The cast is phenomenal and only grows stronger with time, even as the two biggest movie-star movie-stars in it — Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes — mostly have faded away. The other day I watched the Ballad of Buster Scruggs only to see Harris riding in a coach in the end, under a beard and behind brown teeth and playing at the 19th Century. Sorry, Chelcie Ross, you’re always Harris to me, hiding Vagisil on your thigh to get another two-three inches drop on your curveball and, when that doesn’t work, rubbing your nose with jalapeno to get that viscous, gooey snot. That’s my dude. That’s only how I think of him. Some day you will too.

Matt Collins

To be honest I don’t really think there are any great baseball movies. I enjoy a lot of baseball movies, but none of them really transcend to me. If I had to pick it’d probably be Sandlot, I suppose. That’s most a nostalgia thing as a kid who extremely did not grow up in the 50s but played a lot of baseball and wiffle ball with neighborhood kids growing up. I was a little surprised the classics like Field of Dreams and Bull Durham and The Natural didn’t get any love here, but also I agree with their lack of mention. (I wrote this before I got Jake’s response below.) They are overrated in my opinion. Of course, this staff (besides Joiner, who is old) skews younger so those movies were old by the time most of us were kids. If BASEketball counts I would maybe pick that, too. The best baseball scene in a movie, though, is this. There’s no debate to be had there.

Jake Devereaux

What could be better than a movie about life in the minor leagues written and directed by a former minor leaguer? Ron Shelton’s film, “Bull Durham,” is about more than just baseball. It has friendship, love, personal growth, and of course baseball. The story places 12-year minor league vet who’s been around the block, Crash Davis, in the mentor role of bonus baby Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh and his “million dollar arm with a five cent head.” Crash is obviously pissed about being bumped from Triple-A to A ball in order to groom the new investment, but eventually he settles into the role nicely. Crash instills all sorts of wisdom on Nuke including shower sandal hygiene, the true nature of strikeouts, not to think so damn much, and of course never shake off your catcher. Crash’s line of, “Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls - it’s more democratic”, gets me every time and you know what Crash? I agree.

What’s better than watching some good glove work? By the end of the movie Nuke starts to get it and begins to excel on the field saying, “Don’t think just throw. Oh, God that was beautiful. What’d I just do?” This accelerates Nuke’s trip to the show and clears the way for Crash and Annie Savoy to start their romance. Crash eventually hangs them up after setting the ignominious minor league home run record. In many way’s it’s the most realistic baseball movie and in my eyes it’s pretty much perfect. As Annie points out the Catholic rosary has 108 beads, a baseball has 108 stitches, and guess what? Bull Durham runs for 108 minutes.