Pitchers & Catchers
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.