Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Now, I must first admit that this list only includes movies that I have actually seen. I have not seen the new movie 42 yet, but I am eager to do so soon. You will notice that Major League-Back to the Minors is not on this list. The reason that it didn’t make the cut is simple, it is one of the worst baseball movie ever made (yes, even worse than Mr. 3000). The remake of The Bad News Bears is also left off this list for the same reason. So here it is ladies and gentlemen, the first half of the Our Sports Report Top 20 Baseball Movies:
20) Mr. 3000 – To put it simply, this movie sucks. It was supposed to be a comedy, but it ended up getting way too serious and just wound up being a train wreck. Terrible plot, lousy acting, and lousy settings (Miller Park didn’t even exist in 1995, the year Stan Ross retired, but somehow it did in this movie…just lame) all add up to one awful film. Don’t waste your time sports fans. Grade: F
19) Major League 2 – This movie is just flat out bad. This is definitely one of those cases where making a sequel was just a bad idea. Rule #1 of movie making, if you can’t get all of the major cast members to come back for round two, it probably means your movie is going to suck. The one good part about this movie is the new guy, the Japanese outfielder Isuro Tanaka, who provides some creative motivation for Pedro Cerrano. Other than that, the movie just leans too heavily on the comedy of the original. Grade: C-
18) Beer League – I know, technically this isn’t a baseball movie, but it’s better than the first two listed above. What this movie lacks in plot, it makes up for in being very relatable. Who hasn’t played on a lousy softball team from time to time? The game is still fun. Either way, the movie takes a playful life at the reality that faces many guys who…you know…could’ve been good but wound up playing in a beer league. Grade: B
17) Angels in the Outfield – A good old sappy Disney flick at its finest. I loved this movie as a kid, but have had no motivation to watch it since. What can I say; even at a young age I knew that eventually I would outgrow this one. Grade: B-
16) The Benchwarmers – Hilariously funny the first time you watch it, but less so every time you watch it again. The film gives you many memorable quotes to bust out with your friends, but it’s not a grand representation of the game by any stretch. In this case, the grade won’t match the rank, but the rest of this list will explain why it ranks where it did. Grade: B+
15) Rookie of the Year – You’d think that a movie about my Cubbies would rank higher on this list, but it’s really not that great of a flick. Sure it has some funny moments in it, but I doubt that anyone’s life will be worse foe not seeing this movie. Grade: C
14) Eight Men Out – This is a part of baseball history that must be told to all who love the game. Personally, I think that two crimes were committed as it relates to both the subject matter of this movie and the movie itself: 1) Shoeless Joe was banned from baseball for life and 2) they made such a boring movie to tell about this story. Grade: C+
13) Mr. Baseball – This is not the greatest plot as far as baseball movies go, but Tom Selleck’s mustache really carries the film. Grade: A…but strictly for the quality cookie duster sported by the star.
12) The Sandlot – I loved everything about this movie from the huge dog to the PF Flyers. This movie captures the essence of the fascination I had with baseball as a child. We just never had enough neighborhood kids to play any sort of real game. At any rate, after seeing this movie, one cannot drive by an old rundown ball field or vacant grassy lot and think to themselves, “Man that would make a great ball field!” Grade: A-
11) The Rookie – This is a feel good true story about ex-Tampa Bay pitcher Jim Morris. The movie does get a little sappy at times, but what else do you expect from Disney? My favorite moment is when Morris is given a hard time by a teammate for taking too much time on the phone. When Morris tells him that he was helping his son with his homework, his teammate is really put in his place. For some reason that part always makes me chuckle. Grade: A-
So that’s the first half of my list. Stay tuned for the second half coming up in a few days. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of your favorite baseball movies. Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.