Rejoice, friends, for this week the colors are a little brighter, the food tastes a little better, and the children are laughing a little louder; the awful five-month gray wasteland known as the baseball off-season has come to a merciful end. But why should you limit your enjoyment of the national pastime to every day (and most nights) between now and November? There are tons of baseball movies just a click away on Blockbuster On Demand to help fill in the gaps — here are some of the best:
A baseball prodigy so devoted to the game he carves his own bat out of a felled tree, and so good-looking he’s played by Robert Redford, misses out on his prime when he gets shot by Barbara Hershey, but eventually gets a second shot as a 35-year-old rookie. Not the most realistic movie, but still very entertaining, with Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, and Kim Basinger co-starring.
“If you build it, they will come.” Never has a more patently untrue piece of advice made it into the lexicon, as many a failed restaurant owner can attest. But one ghostly whisper into the ear of Iowa corn farmer Kevin Costner leads him to build a full-on baseball diamond in his cornfield, and next thing he knows, ghosts are playing on it. It sounds weird when you write it out like that, but it’s a good flick.
The massaging of a major-league team’s payroll through the use of innovative statistical analysis may seem like pretty thin gruel for a movie, but screenwriters Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian wisely keep the focus on Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his struggle to get the organization to go along with his plan, and his relationship with his daughter. Far more compelling than it has any right to be.
The owner of the Cleveland Indians, who won the team from her husband in the divorce, needs ticket sales to fall low enough to justify moving the team to Florida, so she purposely assembles a squad from the Island of Misfit Toys, including washed-up old catcher Tom Berenger, Voodoo priest Dennis Haysbert, undrafted prospect Wesley Snipes, and ex-convict relief pitcher Charlie Sheen.
Nearly every aspect in which society has changed in the ’70s can be seen in this movie, which has Walter Matthau drinking beers and tooling around in an old convertible Cadillac before he gets roped into coaching a little-league team, which in no way slows down his drinking, driving, or verbal abuse of the kids. They remade this movie with Billy Bob Thornton but even Bad Santa himself can’t top ’70s Matthau.
When all the baseball players get drafted to fight in World War II, the nation’s insatiable thirst for baseball is satisfied by an all-women’s league, with Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna on the field and Tom Hanks, as a boozy, washed up manager, in the dugout.
The true story of the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, in which the eight members of the Chicago White Sox, considered at the time to be the best team in the game, were caught throwing games and allowing the Cincinnati Reds to win the World Series, is dramatized by the likes of John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, and a cast of “that guy”s cast specifically for their skills on the diamond.
John Goodman plays the most famous baseball player of all time, Babe Ruth, and all the famous hallmarks of his career — the Called Shot, the trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees, the drinking, the whoring, and the ending his career with three home runs in one game.