Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Just because we have gotten our first snow fall of the season does not mean we cannot look forward to the four most beautiful words one can hear during winter.

Pitchers and catchers report.

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I thought about that last night when I stopped at our little grocery store and saw Moneyball on the dvd rental shelves.

This is one movie I meant to see in the theater and never got around to. The story follows a baseball executive who decides to try something different to find players to make his professional team better without spending money he does not have.

It is a wild idea and he does it with the help of a statistics geek by looking for players who do the little things right.

Crazy, I know.

The movie takes place ten years ago and what Billy Beane was doing at that time was cause for derision. But he was able to take his $37 million team to the play-offs and has repeated that feat several times. These days, Sabermetrics is used all over the league in one form or another.  

Another reason to see this movie is that there is Oscar talk around Brad Pitt and his performance. Jonah Hill is beginning to blossom as an actor as he keeps getting better and better parts. What Hill and Pitt do is make a discussion about math and baseball interesting and relevant.

So what other baseball movies should you see, if you count yourself a true movie and baseball fan?

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Absolutely, you have to have seen Field of Dreams and Bull Durham . Both star Kevin Costner about a man who has baseball as in integral part of his life. The former is about a farmer in Iowa who hears a voice telling him to ‘build it and they will come.’ So he builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield and one night Shoeless Joe Jackson comes out of the cornfield to play catch.

This is only the first part of a wild and crazy adventure that leads to Boston and Minnesota . There are men who cry only with this movie and for one specific scene. This movie talks about why we love baseball and gets it right.

So why Bull Durham ?

I find it to be one of the best movies about the life. Costner plays an aging catcher brought on to train an up-and-coming pitcher with a unreliable rocket thrower for an arm. Tim Robbins makes a big splash as Lash Larue. Then there is Susan Sarrandon as the fan who trains one player each season. This movie is definitely made for adults and not for kiddie viewing at all.

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The best kid movie about baseball that I know is The Sandlot. The story is about a boy who moves to a new town when his mother remarries. He finds himself drawn to a group of boys who play baseball in an empty sandlot every day. The kid is eventually accepted by the other despite being a deplorable player and they go on to have several memorable adventures.

It is a great movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.