“Life’s a Pitch” is a column by Elizabeth Islas about collegiate and professional sports.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see any actual sports action anytime soon — at least for another month, that is. So in the meantime, I’m going to share some of my favorite baseball movies. These picks come from different genres, ranging from romantic comedies to dramas, so my hope is that there is something here for all types of movie lovers.
They’re all baseball movies because baseball is the superior sport. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. So without further ado, here are my movie picks:
If you’re looking for something romantic …
“Fever Pitch (2005)”
This is one of my personal favorites. Mixing a romantic comedy with baseball … there’s nothing I want more in my life.
It’s a love story about a couple (Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon) that has to deal with one of life’s biggest struggles: a man who is torn between the woman he loves and the sports team he loves. I’m not going to ruin the story if you’ve never seen it before, but it’s a typical romantic movie, so I’m sure you can guess what the outcome is. Nonetheless, it’s a really unique story.
My favorite line in the movie is when Ben (Fallon) receives his fresh season tickets and opens them up with his friends. It really encompasses how I feel when there’s a new baseball season: full of hope and excitement for what’s to come.
“A new season. A clean slate,” Ben’s friends say. Then Ben smells the tickets and says “Yup. This smells like the year.”
This movie is especially great because it follows the couple during the Red Sox’s World Series championship campaign in 2004. When the movie was written and filmed, the Farrelly Brothers did not think the Red Sox were going to take home the Commissioner’s Trophy in October. And I don’t blame them since they hadn’t won a World Series since 1918. So the spur-of-the-moment ending feels really genuine since they had to quickly rewrite the movie with a winning ending.
If you’re looking for something with camaraderie …
How could there be a list of the greatest baseball movies without “The Sandlot?” Although it’s not the same watching it at home as watching it from the outfield grass at Dodger Stadium, an annual Dodgers summer tradition, I think it’s a close second.
It’s a really funny movie about a group of outcast kids who play baseball in their neighborhood. A new kid, Scotty “Smalls,” moves into town and joins them, eager to learn to play. Smalls and the gang get into a bunch of shenanigans, with the main problem in the movie being that they get their last baseball trapped over the neighbor’s fence — and there awaits a terrifying dog.
It’s a really great movie if you want to feel nostalgic about your childhood. It reminds me of the days when a bunch of my neighbors and I would spend the summers outside just making fools of ourselves.
I’ve seen the movie probably about 20 or so times and it never gets old, so if you haven’t seen it (or even if you have) I really recommend you watch it now that we’ve found ourselves with a lot more free time.
If you’re looking for a classic…
“Field of Dreams”
Ah, another one of my favorites. I believe this is the first baseball movie I ever watched as a kid, and the story still hits home every time I watch it.
This one is about a farmer, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), who hears voices. Definitely some “The Sixth Sense” vibes going on there. The voices Kinsella hears say, “Build it and they will come.” How vague.
Kinsella, after struggling to figure out what the voice actually means, eventually discovers they are referring to a baseball field. But the farm is struggling, and building a baseball field would really cut into profits since the field could be used for growing corn.
Alas, Kinsella’s very supportive wife agrees that he should build it. Once the field is complete, the late, great Shoeless Joe Jackson appears playing baseball. But then the voices don’t stop … Kinsella has another few clues to crack before figuring out why he made this field. I don’t want to give the story away, but wow this one is good. Definitely tugs on the heartstrings.
This movie is so great because it’s about dreams coming true, even in the oddest circumstances. Dreams are worth achieving!
Honorable mentions: “The Rookie,” “Major League” and “Bad News Bears.”
“Life’s a Pitch” runs every other Monday.