Dr. Osterholm has become one of my trusted sources when it comes to COVID-19. This Iowa native and Luther College graduate runs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. When I listened to his podcast, Osterholm Update, on Wednesday, he stated that we are still in the second inning of a nine-inning game. No, his podcast will probably not cheer you up. But he did say that just like in baseball, we do not know how long each inning will last.
I have no energy to write more about the pandemic and how the church will continue to adapt. But Osterholm’s analogy did give me an idea–an entire blog post about baseball movies. We will not be going out to the ballgames much this summer. We do not know if we will be watching major league baseball on the small screen. We can keep enjoying baseball films.
Trouble with the Curve (2012) (PG-13) A daughter joins her father, a decorated baseball scout, on what may be his final recruiting trip. Starring Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood.
Major League (1989) (R) The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they will lose and she can move the team. When the plot is uncovered, they start winning.
Fever Pitch (2005) (PG-13) Lindsey is tuck in the middle of her relationship with Ben and his passion for the Boston Red Sox. Starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon.
The Final Season (2007) (PG) Based on the true story of Kent Stock, played by Sean Astin, who in the early 1990s gives up a job to take over as head coach of the Norway, Iowa baseball team.
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) (PG) The story of the friendship between a star pitcher, wise to the world, and a half-wit catcher, as they cope with the catcher’s terminal illness through a baseball season.
The Sandlot (1993) (PG) The adventures of young baseball team and their off-field adventures (including facing the dog, over the fence, known as The Beast) in the summer of 1962.
Bad New Bears (1976 version) (PG) An aging ex-minor league player, a perfectly cast Walter Matthau, coaches a team of misfits in California little-league.
The Pride of the Yankees (1942) The story of the life and career of famed baseball player Lou Gehrig, played by Gary Cooper.
The Rookie (2002) (G) A Texas baseball coach, played by Dennis Quaid, makes the major league after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the playoffs.
A League of Their Own (1992) (PG) Two sisters, played by Geena David and Lori Petty, join the first female professional baseball league during WWII.
The Natural (1984) (PG) An unknown, played by Robert Redford, comes seemingly out of nowhere to become a legendary baseball player with almost divine talent. Also starring Robert Duvall and Glenn Close.
61* (2001) Billy Crystal produced this film about this beloved Yankees, specifically Roger Maris and Micky Mantle’s race to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record. You can almost understand being a Yankees fan, but not quite.
Eight Men Out (1988) (PG) A wonderful dramatization of the Black Sox scandal, when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series. This film helps build an appreciation for the next one on the list.
Field of Dreams (1989) (PG) An Iowa corn farmer, played by Kevin Costner, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields. He does and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come. This film has a large and talented cast.
Moneyball (2011) (PG-13) If you think recruiting should be based on statistics, not the sound of the ball hitting the mitt (see Trouble with the Curve), watch this film about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill star in this film based on Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball: The Art of the Winning an Unfair Game.
For Love of the Game (1999) (PG-13) If Moneyball did not justify you in cheering against the Yankees, this film will. After 19 years of playing the game he loves, Detroit Tigers pitcher Billy Chapel, played by Kevin Costner, pitches one last game before retirement. Will he realize that Jane Aubrey, played by Kelly Preston, is the love of his life before she flies to London for a new job?
Bull Durham (1988) (R) The baseball season gets off to a rocky start when the Durham Bull’s new catcher “Crash” Davis punches out the cocky young pitcher, “Nuke,” he’s just been hired to train. Matters get more complicated when Bull’s fan Annie Savoy gets involved. Starring Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon.
42 (2013) (PG-13) In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Chadwick Boseman, as Robinson, and Harrison Ford, as Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, are both fabulous.