Since this is a site dedicated to film and TV, most of you are asking “Who the hell is Ernie Hays?” right now. Hell, even most baseball fans would ask the same question. Forgive me for taking a break from film and TV to pay homage to someone who made my life better- Ernie Hays, the Busch Stadium organist who passed away on October 31st. Continue reading
Tag Archives: baseball
October is a bit of a sacred month. It’s so sacred that I start preparing for it in the middle of September. It’s the month and a half out of the year that I can put the Criterion Collection away. I can put all of the new releases aside. I stop thinking about the top shelf of cinema. That particular month and a half is dedicated to horror. Continue reading
Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill, hits theaters this coming Friday. It’s the adaptation of Michael Lewis’ book of the same name, published in 2003. The subject of both the film and the book is Billy Beane, General Manager of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics. The book tells the tale of how Beane’s A’s managed to compete at a very high level, year in and year out, against teams that had considerably larger budgets. Specifically, Lewis pointed to Beane’s ability to find undervalued commodities on the baseball market to maximize the value of his roster. What goes unsaid is that Beane was not the first- and certainly will not be the last- to find a way to maximize his roster with undervalued commodities. Here are some examples of other teams from baseball history who, despite mirroring Beane’s accomplishments, will never have a movie made about them. Continue reading
HBO recently debuted one of their latest sports documentaries- The Curious Case of Curt Flood. Not surprisingly, it was excellent. After watching it, it made me think of the loads and loads of other great baseball documentaries (not including Ken Burns’ mammoth transcendent masterpiece, Baseball). Here are some of my favorites:
PBS American Exerience: Clementé
The American Experience creators are masters at tapping into the viewer’s emotions and this one is certainly no exception. In fact, it might be an ideal example. Even knowing how the “story” ends- with Clemente dying during a humanitarian effort to bring aid to his native Latin America- it still hit me in the gut when this episode reached that point. My only real complaint, and it’s a tiny one, is that they could have spent so much more time detailing Clementé’s life. At just under one hour, an awful lot was left unsaid about an extremely inspirational character (particularly for those in the Latino community). Admittedly, this was something of a perfect storm for me- I’m an avid baseball fan and I love PBS’ American Experience series. If either of these things intrigue you, this one registers as a must-see. Continue reading
If you’re a baseball fan, then you’re familiar with a great concept known as “Rain Delay Theater”. Unfortunately, Wikipedia and even trusty baseball resources have left me all wet looking for a definition. I’m left to create one. When baseball games are delayed by rain, groundskeepers roll out the tarp, the fans run for cover or bust out the umbrellas, and the players all tuck safely inside the comfort of their clubhouse or dugout. Local TV stations broadcasting the game, however, are left scrambling for material. After all, they were planning on airing a baseball game. And until it stops raining and the tarp comes off the field, there’s no baseball. There’s our definition: Rain Delay Theater is the programming that local television stations air during rain delays at baseball games.
Things have changed a bit through the years. For instance, I watch my beloved St. Louis Cardinals on Fox Sports Midwest. Whenever there’s a rain delay, they have pre-produced re-caps of the previous season (or seasons) or highlights from great games in the past. Occasionally, they’ll show pre-recorded interviews with baseball personalities. But it hasn’t always been that way. I grew up watching the Milwaukee Brewers. Whenever WMSN (Fox 47) was forced into Rain Delay Theater, they opted to show the syndicated shows in their normal broadcast cycle. When I was 10 through 14 years old, there were a LOT of rain delays because I watched a lot of baseball. I wound up getting exposed to a lot of classic TV shows before Nick at Nite was even a synapse in some producer’s head. Here are eight that I watched while waiting for Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, and Gumby Gantner to come back out to ply their craft on the diamond:
The Andy Griffith Show
Sheriff Taylor’s homespun wisdom would make rain delays fly right by, even if I did want to beat the crap out of little Opie for demeaning children everywhere. Seeing Barney Fife (a.k.a. Don Knotts) made me confront my own mortality, because I had otherwise only known him as the guy from Three’s Company and all of those Tim Conway buddy movies from the 70’s. Seeing Knotts in Mayberry made me realize that there was a life and a natural aging process. “Dammit”, I thought at age 10, “I’m going to get old some day.” Continue reading
Major League Baseball’s opening day is just around the corner. In some baseball-crazed households (mine) and baseball mad cities (St. Louis), it might as well be a citywide holiday. In preparation for it, and in the hopes of appeasing Annie Savoy’s baseball Gods, here are some famous (and some not so famous) TV characters and their favorite baseball teams.
The Entire Cast of Cheers, Boston Red Sox
So much of this show revolved around baseball. The show’s male lead and bar owner, Sam Malone (Ted Danson) was a former pitcher for the Sox. Coach Ernie Pantusso, one of Malone’s coaches and two-time league leader in HBP’s, was one of the bartenders. Real life Red Sox great Wade Boggs made a guest appearance on the show and got pantsed by the gang. And Carla Maria Victoria Angelina Teresa Apollonia Lozupone Tortelli LeBec (Rhea Perlman) once bludgeoned an obnoxious Yankee fan’s head by banging it into the bar. It was baseball fandom at its best.
There are a lot of unsung heroes in baseball but there are few who are more unsung-ier than scouts. They get paid expenses and not much more. They work long hours in hot conditions with nothing more than radar guns, stopwatches, clipboards, and low-grade hot dogs at their disposal, day after day after day for the bulk of the year. And they’re paid next to nothing, all while being asked to predict the future. Other than a week-long drunken orgy at MLB’s winter meetings and getting to do what they love for a living, there aren’t many perks. Today, I’m honoring them by doing some legwork on movie baseball players.
All around baseball, teams have an official Spring Training report date for pitchers and catchers. They all fall between February 13th and February 18th, with the bulk of teams asking their pitchers and catchers to report to camp on February 14th this year. In appreciation for pitchers and catchers reporting, here’s a complete pitching staff made up of the best pitchers from the movies. I’ve even thrown in a handful of movie catchers for good measure. First, the starting pitchers: Continue reading
It’s rare, but occasionally my love of baseball and love of movies can meet. With the playoffs about to begin, it led me to think- what movie would best represent each playoff team’s respective season? Continue reading
Thanks to a fever, I’ve had a day and a half to nap and watch crappy television. Enter Major League II, which I had last seen on a bus in college en route to a game in suburban St. Louis. It was somehow worse than I’d remembered. But that’s not what sticks in my craw. After all, you can’t have high expectations for a movie that lists the All State insurance spokesman as a co-star. No, what bothered me was a series of inexplicably horrible but ultimately successful decisions made by interim Tribe skipper Jake Taylor. You may recall that Taylor took the reins from Lou Brown following Brown’s heart attack mid-season. What did Taylor do wrong? Continue reading