The Sandlot - Greatest Baseball Movie Ever.

Moneyball comes out today and it got me thinking about baseball movies, which sent me to a very solid conclusion: The baseball movie is on the decline. I’m trying to recall the last good baseball movie that’s come out in the last ten years, and I’m struggling. Not only am I struggling to figure out which is a good baseball movie, but also, I’m struggling to think of any baseball movie. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Summer Catch
Mr. 3000
Fever Pitch
Bad New Bears

I could literally only remember 4 movies and lets be honest, these movies suck… that’s how memorable the last decade has been of baseball movies (and one could argue sports movies).

What’s happened to the baseball movie? Here’s my theory –

The sport has been on a steady decline for quite some time and people just aren’t interested. It’s tainted. It doesn’t seem like kids are running around with other kids to get a pick up game together and just play. Having said that, I’m childless, living in a city, and in my 20’s, so I wouldn’t exactly know – but I don’t feel like I’m far off. Baseball has been hurt with the steroid stories and players jumping from team to team that our interest in the game isn’t what it used to be.

I also think that due to technology the veil has been lifted in regards to knowing about salary, personal lives, and personal demands. I don’t think kids look up to baseball players like the once did… Am I wrong about this?

Not sure when we will ever get the likes of Major League, The Natural, The Rookie, Rookie of the Year, or even Angels in the Outfield. I heard that Moneyball is pretty good and I suppose it has potential to slip into the list of really cool baseball movies. The title Moneyball basically sums up the sport, and since I haven’t seen it I can’t judge it quite yet.

I need to stop thinking about the depressing money aspect and Segway into the greatest baseball movie of all time, a movie that movies could learn some serious life themes from: THE SANDLOT.

If you’re in your 20’s you’ve seen this movie and we all probably remember it for different reasons. Some remember it because of baseball, some remember it because of the massive dog trying to kill the kids, some remember it because James Earl Jones was in it, and some remember it because it’s just fucking awesome. That’s where I fall.

The Sandlot is about a group of kids that regularly play baseball next to a house that holds the dog known as “The Beast.” It’s set in the mid 50’s and basically has everything you need for a kids / baseball movie. These kids eventually hit all their balls over the fence including one signed by Babe Ruth. Once the Ruth ball is gone the film swings into a “How the hell are we going to get this thing back?”

I’m contemplating how deep I want to dive into this. Part of me wants to just lay out the entire movie but the other part of me wants to try and build up the film so you want to see it (if you haven’t) without giving too much away. I need to be able to find a steady balance. I will map it out like this with a checklist; if you answer yes to any of these then you’ll like this movie –

Do you like baseball?
Do you like Kid movies?
Do you like watching movies of people trying to get out of a tricky situation?
Do you like the feeling of nostalgia?
Do you like seeing Dennis Leary in a role you wouldn’t imagine?

Yes to any… then you’ll like The Sandlot.

The movie carries a heartbeat that would hold up in any film, and has a story, which is key to any film. Unlike Major League or A League of Their Own (Awesome movies) this film manages to operate with kids and on a G / PG level. Do not take for granted how difficult that is to do.

Adventure + baseball = The Sandlot.

If you get out to see Moneyball this weekend, and like it, enjoy that feeling because it’s not going to be around for another 15 years. And if you want to amplify that feeling and encompass youthfulness once more than I suggest The Sandlot – The greatest baseball movie of all time.

Side note: Come on, look at this poster below. Who doesn’t want to see this?