Dec 29

Baseball Movies For The Snowed In; Liking Kevin Costner And John Cusak

Saturday afternoon and it’s coming down. With no college games worth watching, channel surfacing has brought me to “Bull Durham,” one of my favorite baseball movies. Is there a better time to watch a baseball movie than during a blizzard?

Most baseball movies, actually sports movies in general don’t come across as believable because it is hard to duplicate the game-action scenes. Robert Redford had a decent swing in “The Natural,” but the movie lost me with the home run that blew up the lights and hitting the cover off the ball. I realize Hollywood takes its liberties, but that’s too much.

I like “Bull Durham,” but it’s not my favorite baseball movie. Not close. Maybe I expect too much, but the more I see it there’s more I find unbelievable. For one thing, nobody will hang around long enough to hit 247 minor league home runs.

Oh well, I guess I’m being too picky.

That being said, the following are my three favorite baseball movies:

1) FIELD OF DREAMS: There’s nothing realistic about this movie, but you go into it knowing it is a fantasy. This is a movie about fathers and sons as much as it is baseball, but it’s more about the bond between fathers and sons that is baseball. To me, that’s powerful and timeless.

There’s a limit on the baseball action scenes and Ray Liotta has a good swing for a right-handed hitter. Too bad Shoeless Joe Jackson was left-handed. That’s unforgivable. There’s such a thing as having a Hollywood license, but that’s just weak. Couldn’t they have reversed the film or something similar?

2) EIGHT MEN OUT: This is a gem. It’s one of those films, like my all time favorite, “Casablanca,” that I’ll stop on it whenever I channel surf. I’m a history buff and this is almost a historical documentary. The action scenes are believable and they got Shoeless Joe’s swing down. I thought John Cusak as Buck Weaver was great, beginning with his scenes with the street kids and concluding with end when he watched Shoeless Joe in a semi-pro game.

3) COBB: Tommy Lee Jones is good in just about everything and this is no exception. If you’ve read the book, this was dead on. It showed what a miserable person Ty Cobb was, but also how driven and intense player, one who hated Babe Ruth.

I thought the saddest part of the movie was the scene at the Hall of Fame when Cobb’s former teammates and colleagues wanted nothing to do with him and shunned him at a party. It was akin to the book about Johnny Carson when his former classmates ignored him at a high school reunion.

I guess “Bull Durham” is fourth. Major League 1 was humorous. Major League 2 was reheating a souffle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 11

Willie Mays became a Met on this date.

He was supposed to be a Giant forever, but on this day in 1972, San Francisco traded Willie Mays to the Mets for future trivia question answer, pitcher Charlie Williams, and $50,000.

MAYS: Playing stickball is how some will always remember him.

The trade was full circle for Mays, who returned to the city where he began his Hall of Fame 21 years before.

Mays showed few glimpses of greatness with the Mets. They were scarce and he looked old in the 1973 World Series. Still, he was still Willie Mays and he carried an aura about him. He was an electric player, in the field, on the bases and at-bat. And, even in those last games there was always the hope he’d provide one more memory.

Mays did not have the longevity in New York as Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider or Joe DiMaggio, but will always be linked to the city, and as they talk of his catch off Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series in the Polo Grounds against Cleveland, they also speak of him playing stickball with kids in the streets.

Mays finished with 660 home runs, but missed nearly two years at the beginning of his career to serve in the military. Had he played those seasons, there’s no telling how close he would have come to Babe Ruth. The numbers were staggering regardless as he played in that wind tunnel known as Candlestick Park. (For the record, Mays hit .298 with 39 homers and 106 RBI lifetime against the Mets).

Much to my regret, I never saw Mays play in person. I saw Mantle, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Roberto Clemente from his era, but never Mays. Television never did him justice. I do know, however, had I had that opportunity, I wouldn’t have taken my eyes off him the entire game.

He was that special a player. I hope you’ll share your special memories of Mays with me.


May 14

May 14.10: Reyes moving back?

.Several days ago I suggested a revamping of the batting order, which included moving Jose Reyes back to the leadoff situation and David Wright second. The moves also included moving Ike Davis up to fifth.

After last night’s game Jerry Manuel suggested line-up changes were coming but would not elaborate. I am hoping he realizes his intentions, although well meaning, aren’t working.

The numbers say Reyes isn’t hitting whether it be first or third in the order, so why change?

Normally, I wouldn’t move a guy just because he’s unhappy, but Reyes is in a definite funk and the Mets need to get him better. They juggled things to get Jason Bay going; they need to do the same to get Reyes going again.

Reyes’ professional identity is as a leadoff hitter and that’s been stripped from him and you can tell in his body language and demeanor he’s frustrated. I recently told him, “you know, Babe Ruth hit third.”

He was not amused, although he has been swinging like the Bambino.

For years we’ve been told Reyes is the ignition to the Mets’ offense as the leadoff hitter, and it is time to move him back. Reyes, because of injuries last year and perhaps a damaged psyche this spring, hasn’t been Reyes since 2008. It’s time to get him back

Apr 24

April 24.10: Chat Room, Game #18 vs. Braves: Looking at .500.

Beautiful day a Citi Field. Sunny with a slight chilly bite in the air. No surprises, the Mets will attempt to reach .500 for the first time in over two weeks with a win this afternoon behind Jon Niese and their new-and-improved line-up.

Jose Reyes insists he doesn’t mind hitting third – I told him Babe Ruth hit third – and he’ll be there again today. There are changes at second and behind the plate, but everything else is the same.

Mets Line-up (8-9)

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Henry Blanco, C
Jon Niese, LP

MAINE UPDATE: John Maine has spasms in his left elbow which he hopes won’t keep him from missing his next start. He admits to being frustrated, saying, “it kind of hard wrapping my head around this.” … Maine experienced something similar a few years ago in Philadelphia, but nothing this season.

Sep 30

This Day in Baseball History ….

Looking Back

Looking Back

No player dominated American sport as Babe Ruth. He is, without question, the greatest player and athlete who ever lived. Nobody captured our imagination, and still does, the way Ruth did.

Ruth became the first player to hit 30, 40, 50 and 60 homers in a single season.

RUTH: Nobody was like the Babe.

RUTH: Nobody was like the Babe.


On this day in 1927, in the eighth inning of a game against the Washington Senators, Ruth slugged his 60th homer of the season off Tom Zachary.

Ruth is greeted by fans waving their hankerchiefs as he took his position in the ninth inning. That game featured an interesting footnote in that it marked Walter Johnson’s final appearance as a player. Johnson pinch-hit for Zachary and flied out to Ruth.