The Game

Baseball.  Movies about baseball evoke such strong emotion in me – reaching back to my earliest memories.  We didn’t have a TV for years as I was growing up, but every summer night, we had a radio tuned to baseball.  You could hear the roar of the crowds, hear the crack of the bat against the ball, the organ igniting excitement, and plenty of beer commercials.  We didn’t “believe in” beer, but they sure had memorable jingles!  And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if much of my colorful-word love was nurtured by the likes of Harry Carey calling a game.

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When I think of those nights in Des Moines, Iowa, I recall open windows and a swinging screen door, azure-blue-sky dusk, home and family.  I recall St. Louis Cardinal program books I would scour for hours and I embraced my dad’s love of the game.  Because he loved it, and I wanted to please him, I loved it, too.

My first trip to a Bookmobile, I checked out my 3-book limit in baseball books for my dad.

No wonder then…

A good baseball movie awakens every romantic summer notion in my soul.

Little known fact:  I know what a baseball smells like.  I even know how it tastes: salty to the tongue.  And I know a glove that has been around for a long time is a part of you.  It stays. Forever.

Baseball + Movies = I love them!

FAVS, there are seven I wholly love:

1// Field of Dreams, 1989

 

Well, I mean – this is my favorite.  There are a million things to love.  Kevin Costner – a farmer from Iowa, people.  That alone.  The father-son relationship thing, finally maturing and then understanding.  There is history and a writer (James Earl Jones) and “If you build it, they will come…”  Heart-heart-heart!

2// A League of Their Own, 1992

I mean, I am a 40s girl deep inside.  And a baseball girl.  And when, just a few minutes into the movie I saw the scene of the motherless young woman from Fort Collins at the train station leaving her beloved father to go to Chicago with the crass scout – the train pulls away from the station  (there is this God-mom-apple-pie music that starts to swell), she is looking at her dad wave good-bye with a tear rolling down his face and you see a reflection of a flag waving in the train window glass…well, I was in, baby!  I love the clothes, the hair and the characters.  It is family, sisters, values, love.  Great soundtrack, “Now and forever, you are a part of me.  And the memory cuts like a knife…”

3// The Natural, 1984

Roy Hobbs, “the best there ever was,” played by Robert Redford who kind of falls into that category, too.

4// The Sandlot, 1993

Children. Innocence.  Timelessness.  These could be kids I knew in the neighborhood, my brothers.  James Earl Jones shows up again here and Babe Ruth gets the homage he deserves.  It is silly and gritty and realistic and not.  And every kids remembers the friends who made them feel a part.

5// Bull Durham, 1988

crash and annie in bull durham

Adults-only…a little naughty.  But some great quotes!

“I believe in the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch,  and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft wet kisses that last for three days.”

 

6// For Love of the Game, 1999

An aging, once-great pitcher, who has loved baseball like nothing else, pitches the perfect game and leaves it to find that love has been waiting for him.

7// Moneyball, 2011

I have actually only seen it once, but I loved it and will watch again!

“I believe there is a championship team that we could afford.  Because everyone else undervalues them.  Like an island of misfit toys.”

That, my friends is true in every area of life.  I have never had to pay the most to have the best of the best teams (like with Heaven Fest).  I just look for the people with heart, loyalty, commitment and ability not always seen with the naked eye.  Look past the glitz and buzz of the obvious and you will find treasure in people rarely recognized!  Brilliance!

This film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards in 2011 and won several prestigious titles including Movie of the Year from the American Film Institute.  Brad is perfect as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill’s Peter Brand is just cute-as-puddin’-pie in this biographical sports drama.  Great movie!

I like these, too:

Eight Men Out, The Pride of the Yankees, It Happened in Flatbush, It Happens Every Spring, The Rookie (Dennis Quaid!), The Bad News Bears…there are many others I have enjoyed and more I haven’t seen, but want to watch soon (like “Game 6” with Michael Keaton).

But for right now, I can turn on the TV and see the boys of summer running the bases, listen to the crowds cheering (the Cardinals are even in town this week playing the Rockies) and I am just the girl on York Street again, playing paper dolls, enjoying the long summer of carefree days and nights, and singing beer commercials.

MVP:  Kevin Costner.  He loves baseball and he has acted baseball (Chasing Dreams, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game and The Upside of Anger, in which his character is a former pro baseball player) and I love Kevin Costner.

“This field, and this game, Ray, it reminds us of our past, of all that once was good…”  Field of Dreams

 

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