From April to October my main hobby is watching baseball. My house looks like a shrine to Fenway Park, with photographs my husband and I have taken while attending games over the years. We even have warning track dirt from the field in a baseball shaped container! When we’re not watching the Red Sox we enjoy attending games at Fuessenich Park to support our local collegiate team, the Torrington Titans.
It’s hard to describe just exactly why I love baseball so much. I love the concentration required to play the game, whether fielding, hitting, or pitching. I love that no matter what the odds are going into a game, the final score doesn’t always reflect the previous stats. I love that the cheer of the crowd can energize players so they have a chance to score one more run. And most of all, I love being outside and enjoying the weather as I chew on sunflower seeds.
Now that I’m about to settle into my winter hobbies, like crafting away in my chilly home office, I’ll watch films of hot, summer days. Here’s the list to warm me up:
A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in Angels in the Outfield. He has trouble at home and prays that the L.A. Angels will win the World Series. As any fan dreams, his wish comes true. Angels, played by Danny Glover and Christopher Lloyd, keep the team from making too many mistakes.
Imagine that a freak accident gives you the power to be a major league pitcher at the age of 12. That’s the plot of Rookie of the Year. Henry enjoys the roar of the crowd and all the perks that come with being a starting pitcher.
In a different but similar film, Billy inherits the Minnesota Twins when his grandfather dies and bequeaths the team to him in Little Big League. Imagine being twelve and managing a professional baseball team. These movies can be enjoyed at any age, channeling your 12-year-old self, dreaming of making it big!
My sister got me hooked on ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series. This series covers all sports (not just baseball). There are 30 different filmmakers who made one-hour films about issues, trends, and rivalries from 1979-2009 that transformed the sports landscape. Of course, my favorite is called “Four Days in October,” which features the four games in the American League Championship series between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Red Sox trailed 0-3, and came back to win 4-3 games to go to the World Series. This hour is truly emotional so get your tissues ready! I remember these games in real-time, as my husband and I were newlyweds. We thought we had something to do with the team winning because of our nuptials (you never know, right?!).
Kevin Costner hears voices in Field of Dreams. He decides to build a baseball field after listening to, “If you build it, they will come.” Ghosts of the Chicago White Sox team come to play. If you haven’t seen this classic, it’s a must-add to your list! Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, and Timothy Busfield create a winning team.
I remember watching The Sandlot when I was young. I still quote lines from the film to this day! It has the perfect mix of baseball, rivalry, nicknames, dares, and scary neighbors. This film really resonates with my generation. It helps me remember my days of youth when my sister and I played with the neighborhood kids all day long and had to be called back inside to get ready for bed. Recently Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury (of the Red Sox) posed with “Ham” and “Squints” from the film.
I put off watching this film for so long because Clint Eastwood plays his usual role in Trouble with the Curve. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake balance his burly, gruff attitude and make this movie about baseball scouting quite enjoyable. I never really thought about scouting until I watched this film.
My current favorite television writer, Aaron Sorkin, wrote the screenplay for Moneyball. This biography about Billy Beane features his struggle to assemble a team on one of the lowest budgets in the MLB based solely on statistical data. My favorite parts of the film include watching the actors analyze Red Sox alums including Johnny Damon and Kevin Youkilis.
The newest addition to my list is 42; the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American major league baseball player. This biography tells the tale of Robinson’s life and rise in the big leagues. It’s no wonder why every team in the MLB retired number 42 after watching this film!
I know I only covered a fraction of the baseball films out there. What’s your favorite?
Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who will be watching the playoffs and keeping her fingers crossed!