erik lundegaard

Tuesday April 23, 2013

Rank the Baseball Movies!

Baseball fans! And movie fans! And fans of baseball movies!

As I promised yesterday, you can now rank your favorite and least-favorite baseball movies with our new interactive feature. Just several easy steps:

  1. Drag the movies you haven't seen into the box in the lower right.
  2. Drag your favorite movies into the first column and your least-favorite into the last column.
  3. Organize.
  4. Share.

Once you hit the “Share your rankings” button you can send them to me. Or you can simply cut-and-paste your list and share it with friends.

I'll probably post a few of the lists, as I did with the best-picture Oscar rankings, particularly if there's a good comment attached.

I've made several baseball-movie lists over the years (2004, 2011, 2013), but testing our interactive feature yesterday made me realize, yet again, some of the sad truths of baseball movies.

The greater the player, the worse the movie. At the bottom of my pile, you'll find these titles: The Babe Ruth Story (1948), The Babe (1992), Cobb (1994), The Jackie Robinson Story (1950). I.e., The greatest players to play the game. Apparently we make our worst movies about them. Which is the best baseball biopic about a great star? Probably Billy Crystal's “61*,” about Mantle and Maris and the 1961 season. “42,” mostly about the '47 season, is second. Stick to seasons, kids.

The best baseball movies are about losing: “Bull Durham,” “Moneyball,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Catching Hell,” “Sugar.” Read your Roger Angell: “You may glory in a team triumphant but you fall in love with a team in defeat.” It's a lesson Hollywood never seems to learn.

Don't incude the word “Mr.” in the title. Both “Mr. Baseball” (with Tom Selleck) and “Mr. 3000” (with Bernie Mac) are sad, obvious stories about egotistical assholes who learn the value of teammwork in middle age, and who, on the last day of the season, with self-aggrandizement on the line, sacrifice-bunt their team to victory. Spoiler alert.

Keep the kids away from the Majors. Movies about a kid coaching a big-league team (“Angels in the Outfield”), owning a big-league team (“Little Big League”) or playing for a big-league team (“Rookie of the Year”), are just godawful. Kids should be with kids (“The Sandlot”). Even better if you make them foul-mouthed (“The Bad News Bears” (1976)). Even better if you include Walter Matthau. And best? “Hey Yankees! You can take your apology and your trophy and shove it straight up your ass!” Tanner Boyle for Hall of Fame.


Keep the Bad News Bears in Van Nuys, Calif. If you send them to Texas, or, worse, Japan, or even into 2005, you do so at your own risk. But if you have to go somewhere with them, make sure you take your Josh Wilker with you.

Now rank ball!

The Bad News Bears team picture, North Valley League, 1976

The Bad News Bears, North Valley League, 1976

Posted at 07:49 AM on Tuesday April 23, 2013 in category Baseball  
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