The A&E Staff picks their favorite baseball flicks

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The A&E Staff picks their favorite baseball flicks

By A&E Staff / The Pitt News

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With baseball season upon us, the A&E Staff celebrated the occasion by compiling a sample of our all-time favorite baseball films.

“Major League” (1989)

Simultaneously a satire of every underdog sports story ever told and one of the most entertaining underdog sports films of all time, “Major League” is a different breed of baseball comedy. Finally exhausted with the endless string of terrible seasons from the lackluster Cleveland Indians franchise, the team’s new owner decides to put together a team just bad enough to justify moving out of Cleveland. What she doesn’t count on is that her gang of misfits might pull together and figure out a way to keep fighting. Featuring a career-defining performance by Charlie Sheen as an erratic, hard-living bad boy with emotional issues (really, how did he manage to play the role so convincingly?), “Major League” is an expletive-laden movie about damaged people brought together by one thing — their dream of not getting fired.

“Angels in the Outfield” (1994)

“Angels in the Outfield” is a keen reminder of why people cherish sports like baseball and how they add personality and charm to an often mundane life. The outstanding example of personality in “Angels in the Outfield” is Ranch Wilder (Jay O. Sanders), who plays the part of a loud, belligerent, overbearing radio broadcaster with a tendency to hog the microphone. In sports, it is often the personality of the athlete that makes a story great, and “Angels” is no exception. Angels ace Mel Clark (Tony Danza) plays a central role as a star on the team, despite the fact that he is a cynical, grizzled veteran and an avid smoker. But by far the most touching concept in the movie is the depiction of the protagonist, Roger Bomman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and how the game of baseball helps him rise above his situation. In the beginning of the movie, Roger, a foster child, asks his irresponsible father when they will be a family again, and his dad tells him, “When the Angels win the pennant.” Roger’s prayers are answered and his team makes an improbable late-season run. Now, what child doesn’t have the romantic notion that the same can happen with his or her favorite team?

“The Sandlot” (1993)

What better movie is there to watch during the start of baseball season than “The Sandlot?” This coming-of-age classic focuses on a group of young teenagers playing baseball in the summer of 1962. While it might not be your typical baseball film featuring old-timey sluggers, “The Sandlot” gives viewers a feel-good attitude, as well as a little bit of magic — two aspects of any good baseball game. As the memorable sandlot crew struggles to get a baseball signed by Babe Ruth back from the formidable junkyard that lies on the other side of their outfield wall, they also build an unforgettable friendship that lasts into their adult lives. This movie shows us both that baseball is a unifying force and the reason why we continue to enjoy the beloved game.

“The Benchwarmers” (2006)

Ah, nothing says summer like baseball and a sports comedy starring movie veterans Rob Schneider and David Spade with Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder). 2006’s highly underrated “Benchwarmers” brings out the kid in all of us through the spirit of baseball. But what separates this comedy about three nerdy losers playing baseball from other, more redemptive baseball movies is the fact that it doesn’t take itself as seriously. This is the ultimate washed-up comedic actor alliance — minus Adam Sandler, of course. Who knows when one of these guys will make another funny movie? Of all the baseball comedies, “Benchwarmers” reins as king.

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