Archive for the ‘baseball’ Tag

Watching Baseball Movies   Leave a comment

This is a re-post of a blog from 6/8/13. Baseball is America’s Pastime, and these are still the best movies about my favorite spectator sport!

It’s Opening Day!

For those of us that can’t watch their favorite team play today….

The Best Baseball Movies

“A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.” Think about that for a while.”

– “Nuke” Laloosh as played by Tim Robbins, in Bull Durham, 1988

A glorious game.

A wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

It’s true that there are 162 games in a season, but it’s also true that every team gets a day off occasionally. And sometimes it rains. For those days when you need more baseball, here are my favorite baseball movies.

The Starting Nine

BB - For Love of the Game1. For Love Of The Game

  • Stars: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Team: Detroit Tigers
  • Year: 1999
  • IMDB Rating: 6.3
  • Plot: Kevin Costner said he was going to keep making movies about baseball until he got it right. He did. Any movie with Vin Scully doing play by play will be great.

BB - Bull Durham2. Bull Durham

  • Stars: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
  • Position: Catcher
  • Team: Durham Bulls
  • Year: 1988
  • IMDB Rating: 7.0
  • Plot: Costner is a long-time minor leaguer sent back to A-ball in the minors to mentor a young hot prospect. Sarandon also thinks the prospect is hot … she married Tim Robbins after they were in this wonderful, fun movie. For Love of the Game is a serious look at baseball … this is the irreverent turn that shows the joy in the boys’ game.

BB - The Natural3. The Natural

  • Stars: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger
  • Position: Right Field
  • Team: New York Knights
  • Year: 1984
  • IMDB Rating: 7.4
  • Plot: Redford is a prodigy from the country that is welcomed to the majors late in life. His talents are almost wasted because of the distraction of a woman. Great film, great acting, great script.

BB - Trouble with the curve4. Trouble With The Curve

  • Stars: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake
  • Position: Eastwood is a major league scout, looking at a high school player with the Grizzlies from Asheville, NC
  • Team: Atlanta Braves
  • Year: 2012
  • IMDB Rating: 6.7
  • Plot: Eastwood directs, and basically reprises his role from Gran Torino as a fading curmudgeon. Amy Adams is his baseball-loving daughter, helping him on one last scouting trip where she meets Timberlake, who is on his first scouting trip.

BB - A League Of Their Own5. A League Of Their Own

  • Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Team: Rockford Peaches
  • Year: 1992
  • IMDB Rating: 7.0
  • Plot: Tom Hanks is an alcoholic ex-major leaguer chosen to manage a girl’s pro team during WWII. The assembled team includes Geena Davis as the star pitcher and Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna for comic relief. The iconic line of the film: “There’s no crying in baseball!”

BB - Fever Pitch6. Fever Pitch

  • Stars: Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon
  • Position: Fan
  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Year: 2005
  • IMDB Rating: 6.1
  • Plot: Fallon is a Red Sox season ticket holder, which means he believes in hope. Barrymore meets him, and a match is made … that has to survive Fallon’s obsession with the Sox.

BB - Moneyball7. Moneyball

  • Stars: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Position: Manager
  • Team: Oakland Athletics
  • Year: 2011
  • IMDB Rating: 7.6
  • Plot: This biopic is about Billy Beane, the A’s manager that challenged and re-made baseball with his beliefs about what statistics are important, and which ones are important enough to pay for. Another film with great acting.

BB - Major League8. Major League

  • Stars: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen
  • Position: Catcher
  • Team: Cleveland Indians
  • Year: 1989
  • IMDB Rating: 7.0
  • Plot: It’s described as a screwball comedy, for better or worse. It’s an ensemble comedy that holds up – it’s not an award-winner, but it’s a fun couple of hours. (Warning: do not bother with the sequels.)  This movie is an entertaining look at a lovable bunch of misfits assembled by a maniacal owner that wants them to lose. Berenger is the aging catcher that holds them together; Sheen is the fire-balling bad boy that needs to save the day.

BB - Summer Catch9. Summer Catch

  • Stars: Freddie Prinze, Jr, Jessica Biel
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Team: Chatham Athletics
  • Year: 2001
  • IMDB Rating: 4.7
  • Plot: Prinze is a local kid struggling to escape from his home town.  He’s playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League and hoping to get a break when big league scouts come to town to watch the stars on the roster. He falls in love with the boss’s daughter … it’s a romantic comedy. It’s a baseball movie. I’m two for two, and really like this film. I don’t care what some may say. Enjoy the popcorn!

BB - Field of DreamsRelief Pitcher: Field Of Dreams

  • Stars: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta
  • Position: Fan
  • Team: Chicago Black Sox
  • Year: 1989
  • IMDB Rating: 7.5
  • Plot: This film is cited by many as their favorite baseball movie, but I just can’t go there. Costner plays an Iowa farmer that has visions and builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield … that is then visited by major league players that only he can see. Emotionally wrenching moments ensue. Where I come from, farmers don’t have visions, so I can’t support this film.

BB - SandlotExtra Innings: The Sandlot

  • Stars: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar
  • Position: it’s a team game
  • Team: it’s a neighborhood team
  • Year: 1993
  • IMDB Rating: 7.6
  • Plot: We follow a bunch of kids playing a never-ending game through their summer vacation. It’s really a nice movie about kids, baseball, and the importance of having fun.

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Posted April 4, 2016 by henrymowry in Media

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Baseball Narrowcasting   Leave a comment

Dodgers LogoCome to find out, Major League Baseball is running the league with the intent of keeping every team very LOCAL.

That means that I can’t watch my Dodgers unless I subscribe to the ONE cable service that has them.

But it means there are a lot of people not watching their baseball teams. According to Yahoo, residents of Las Vegas can’t watch any of their regional teams:

… how can the league advocate for a system in which it prevents people in Las Vegas from seeing the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants, A’s and Diamondbacks if they buy its Extra Innings or MLB.tv packages? There’s a new slogan: What happens in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Arizona doesn’t stay in Vegas.

The same is true for baseball fans in Arkansas, Buffalo, Oklahoma, Iowa, and other MLB-defined “limited areas” that don’t have a clear regional team.

The result? People don’t get to watch baseball unless they are in the right area, and subscribe to the right cable service.

So what’s a fan to do? I thought radio was my answer. Velda got me the portable radio out of her closet … which proved to have leaking batteries that ruined the battery contacts. She bought another radio (every house should have at least one). The result? Static on the LA station, and static on the local station, neither of which worked when I was listening in, or around, my home. Static does not work for me.

Mizzou LogoMichael then turned me on to MLB.com, which streams all of the games. You can listen to any stream, any game. Home or away. Every game. Plus, there are video highlights, box scores and other information about the game. It’s a subscription service, but the fee is really nominal.

Great, right?

Just don’t watch the stream on your screen. The video stream is up to 5 pitches and 2 batters away from the action that the audio delivers. Why can’t they get the audio to sync with the video stream? No idea.

But it doesn’t work, at all.

And the Dodgers’ video partner, Time Warner Cable, hasn’t made a deal with my Dish Network to carry my Dodgers.

So, there’s no good way to watch, and no streaming solution that really works.

It’s 2014, people. We have the technology. It’s baseball that has decided to take the money, and not deliver a watchable product to their fans.

And that’s not a good thing.

One more thing:

If you haven’t paid attention to the media coverage about Yasiel Puig, he’s a Cuban defector that joined the Dodgers last year. An truly interesting article in the Los Angeles magazine (link below) reports that he defected from Cuba with the help of a drug cartel. He was held hostage in Mexico. Now, he’s “free,” and owes his financier 20% of his earnings.

In Cuba, he was paid $17/month to play baseball. The Dodgers paid him $7 million a year … with the money from Time Warner Cable.

The cable company that won’t let me watch Puig play baseball unless I subscribe to their service.

Which I won’t do, as Time Warner doesn’t carry the networks for UCLA or Mizzou.

Sometimes, a sports fan just can’t win.UCLA Logo - Bear

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Posted April 17, 2014 by henrymowry in Sports

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It’s Happening! It’s Really Happening!   Leave a comment

Dodgers LogoIt’s time!

The boys of summer are back in uniform. They’re playing. There’s actual media coverage of actual games. Well, spring training games, anyway.

Very, very soon, we’ll hear Vin Scully’s immortal, “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!”

I enjoy watching sports. I don’t consider myself very serious about it: I’m not in any fantasy leagues. I really don’t follow the NFL. I ignore the NBA, NHL and NASCAR.

I know some guys that can quote players, stats and histories in multiple sports. Their knowledge of their favorite teams and players will make your head swim. That’s great … I just can’t get there.

So I’m not a serious sports fan … but I am dedicated!

I do enjoy following my Mizzou Tigers in football (we had a great year!) and basketball (we’re not having a great year, but we’re close to going to March Madness for the 6th straight season. If we make it, we’ll be the only SEC team with that record). I follow UCLA in the same sports, and have even gone to Jackie Robinson Stadium to see the Bruins play baseball. The family has gone on campus to see the men’s & women’s soccer teams play. We all enjoy sports.

But baseball is my first love, the Dodgers my adopted team, and I usually get to watch at least parts of about 150 of their regular season’s 162 games.

This year, I hope to watch more games as the Dodgers go beyond the regular season into the playoffs. The new owners of the Dodgers (with Magic Johnson out front) have stepped up to buy a team of proven winners … they have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball.

Now, we get to see if those rich players can actually play together, win together and then go to the World Series.

I need some peanuts. It’s time for Dodger baseball!

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ESPN’s Baseball Rule Quiz   2 comments

BaseballIt’s a sports day.

Just saw this great quiz about baseball’s arcane and absolutely counter-intuitive rules. There’s a quiz, and an article about how the baseball professionals – and media – did when they took it.

Me, I got a solid 5.

The quiz.

The article about the quiz.

 

Posted June 19, 2013 by henrymowry in Sports

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It’s Time for Dodger Baseball!   1 comment

I fell in love with baseball listening to Jack Buck broadcast the St Louis Cardinals.  I would lay on my bed in the dark, looking out my window at the starry sky, and let the sounds of the crickets and my AM transistor radio take me away.  What a team the Cardinals had!  Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Gibson.…

When we relocated to SoCal, my new adopted team, of course, had to be the Dodgers.  And all of Los Angeles is blessed with their announcer, who has been spinning stories for Dodger fans since 1950.  Yes, this is Vin Scully’s 63rd year broadcasting Dodger baseball.

Vin is 84 years old, and he’s cut his schedule back so he only does games in California and Arizona.  He does have some senior moments.  He confuses names now and again.  But his pipes are sound, his vocabulary is unequaled in sports broadcasting, and his fans adore him.  Of COURSE the Dodgers have a bobble head giveaway for him this year; he is more beloved than the players.  To paraphrase Babe Ruth, he’s having a better year.

You may have heard Vin doing CBS NFL games in the 70s and 80s, or NBC MLB games in the 80s.  You may even remember him as the announcer in Kevin Costner’s best baseball film, “For Love of the Game.”  Vin paints pictures with words, and brings games to life on radio and TV.

His play-by-play is great, but it’s the stories and thoughts that he weaves through the games that make him a hall of fame announcer.

Against the Giants 6/28, Top of the 4th:

“Interesting statistical note; we were talking about the fact that the Giants have had 121, and this will be 122 consecutive sellouts, so a sellout means 42,000 and change, right?  OK, the Giants say their home attendance averages 41,000 … so you say, ‘So how does that work?’ ”

Against the Mets, 6/29, bottom of the 1st:

In a discussion of the NY Mets’ starting pitcher, Chris Young, who is 6’-10” tall – and not the tallest player on the Mets’ roster! –

“If there are youngsters watching the ballgame, they might ask you the question, and in case you don’t have the answer, we’ll be happy to give it to you.  … Who was the tallest person in history?  … The tallest person was Robert Pershing Wadlow, born in Alton, IL, and he was 8’11”. … Just in case anybody asks you ….”

Also 6/29, bottom of the 4th, as the Dodgers break a 33-inning scoreless streak, their longest since 1962:

“Ring the bell, alert the orchestra, the Dodgers score on a triple by Tejada!”

(note the triple was by Herrera, not Tejada … who was the Met making the relay throw, not the hitter.  But the alliteration was better the way Vin called it.)

To watch Dodger baseball is to hear a master at work.  Do yourself a favor and listen to him this season.  We may not hear his kind again for a very long time.

Posted June 29, 2012 by henrymowry in Sports

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