I used to live for baseball. Hard to believe now, but when I was a kid my life revolved around the game.
I could play with my friends in the backyard all day every day of the summer. As soon as I was old enough I joined a local team and played for years. Shoot, I’d even go inside early some nights (before the street lights even came on!) just so I could watch the Pittsburgh Pirates on TV while I dutifully kept stats in my score book.
I dreamed of being a big leaguer some day and making a living on that field they called the diamond. Just about anybody who met me after the age of 13 would probably be surprised to learn of this childhood passion of mine.
The game we once called America’s past time is more past its prime than anything these days, but few things can pour nostalgia over me like baseball. When I put on a glove and catch that first long throw in many months, the muscles in my hands and arms remember. And when I hear that thump in the glove or crack of the bat, my mind recalls a thousand days beneath a ball cap cursing the sun for blinding me in the face of a high fly ball but then begging that same sun not to go so I could have just one more turn at the plate.
Baseball is as close to poetry as I’ve ever come.
I could fill a website with personal baseball stories, so you can understand my love for many of the movies about the game. I can quickly rattle off names like Angels in the Outfield, Mr. Baseball, The Rookie, For the Love of the Game, and The Bad News Bears. One of my favorite flicks is called Eight Men Out, based on the book by Eliot Asinof about the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Even if you’ve never heard of that one you’ll definitely recognize a bunch of faces in the cast.
With apologies to many great flicks in this genre, I’m going with five heavy hitters for today’s FFF. Check out this solid lineup.
The Sandlot–Here’s your representative for kids at play. Just a pure, fun story. Don’t miss this one.
Major League–Charlie Sheen was winning as Wild Thing long before Twitter. The casting is superb, the movie uber quotable, the ending unforgettable.
Field of Dreams–Iconic as they come. I haven’t watched this one in a while but can probably quote the entire movie.
Bull Durham–The minor league representative here has a large following. Great theme of talent vs. temperament.
The Natural–Based on the brilliant novel by Bernard Malamud, the movie goes in a different direction. Roy Hobbes loomed large during my childhood. Maybe that’s because this is the first movie I ever remember seeing in a theater. That’s a big memory!
Now it’s up to you, yes you, to select the best from this batch. Swing away!
[UPDATE: Ah, the perils of blogging during finals week. I completely forgot to add A League of Their Own! It was supposed to be in here. Just realized that after Tamara's comment. What a fantastic film.]
Got any baseball memories? Who’s your favorite team/player?
The Friday Flick Faceoff features films that share a common thread. Cast your vote anyway you like and don’t worry if you’ve seen all the movies or not. Love to hear why you picked what you picked though!
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