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Pitchers & Catchers

April 1, 2011
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Alyssa Milano is not just your average baseball fan.  She puts her money where her mouth is (or something), having been linked to Major League pitchers Brad Penny, Barry Zito and Carl Pavano.  Perhaps not coincidentally, each of these guys’ careers fell apart after their respective dalliances with the lovely Ms. Milano.

So Alyssa has plenty of bona fides to opine on her baseball. In fact, she has announced her five favorite baseball movies. Now baseball movies should be better than they are, frankly. There are some good ones, but like most sports movies they veer toward the cheesy. Alyssa’s choices are:

• “Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns” (1994, with an update in 2010): Milano: “It’s the evolution of baseball from the very beginning and I watch it every off-season with my dad and brother.”
• “Field of Dreams” (1989): Milano: “It touched on every piece of romanticism you can create in baseball and James Earl Jones has one of the best speeches ever written for an actor.”
• “Eight Men Out” (1988): Milano: “A wonderful film by John Sayles documenting the 1919 Black Sox scandal. It also has an amazing cast and the cinematography makes you feel as though you’re in that era.”
• “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973): Milano: “If this movie doesn’t make you cry, check your pulse. A sentimental buddy film and a great performance by Robert De Niro.”
• “Bull Durham” (1988): Milano: “I love how the film shows the struggle of getting to `the show’ and no matter how many times I’ve seen it, it still makes me laugh out loud.”

Not terrible choices I guess. the Burns movie is cool (and I own it) but is far too ponderous and Boston-centric. Fuck Ken Burns. Field of Dreams? Sure, but extra cheesy. Eight Men Out is a good one, and I’m due for a rewatching. Same with Bang The Drum Slowly. Bull Durham is a good one, I enjoyed it quite a bit when I saw it again recently. So not a bad list.

What did she leave out? Major League deserves a mention in my view (particularly in this era of Charlie Sheen’s ubiquity). The Pride of the Yankees is an obvious omission, with Gary Cooper playing Lou Gehrig and featuring Babe Ruth as himself. On the extra-cheesy front, there is The Natural, which deserves a mention I guess.

But in my humble opinion, they all pale before the best baseball movie of all time. The Bad News Bears. Don’t agree? Watch it (the 1976 one, not the worthless remake). No, seriously, go and watch it and tell me it’s not the best baseball movie ever. You too Alyssa. I’m waiting.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 10:21 am

    Bad News Bears was great. With all due respect, The Natural sucked big time! Go back and try and watch it again. I dare you. And Field of Dreams was probably the most overrated film of the 80s. I think that field is a Wal-Mart now anyway. What about The Rookie? I think I may be biased by the fact that I was about 35 when I saw it — the same age as the protagonist.

  2. jco permalink
    April 1, 2011 12:33 pm

    Um, A League of Their Own? Where’s the love for the brave women who kept the homefires of baseball burning while the men were out fighting the Nazis??

    • Fat Al permalink*
      April 1, 2011 12:43 pm

      Good Point, I should have mentioned it. But it wasn’t actually that good.

  3. April 1, 2011 12:37 pm

    I love “The Bad News Bears” but how could you leave out “Fear Strikes Out?”

    • Fat Al permalink*
      April 1, 2011 12:43 pm

      I confess I’ve never seen it. Paging Netflix…

      • April 1, 2011 1:09 pm

        I can’t believe you’ve never seen that movie! I can’t guarantee it, but I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it. I’m hoping for a review here soon.

  4. April 1, 2011 5:56 pm

    Ken Burns’ Baseball is good in spite of itself. Way, way too much “baseball is….” So many of the talking heads seemed to like everything about baseball except, you know, the actual game. I just remember endless interviews with America’s foremost plagerist, Doris Kearns Goodwin, talking about she and her father, going to blah, blah, blah, and walking to blah, blah blah, and watching blah, blah blah.

    There were way to many interviews with people who never played the game and too few with former greats or even just former hanger-ons. Where was Yogi Berra, Bob Feller, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Reggie Jackson, Curt Flood, SandyKoufax, and so on. It was much, much worse than his Civil War flick.

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