Pop Rocks: Just In Time For Spring Training, Here Are The Ten Worst Baseball Movies
I hope you've enjoyed the relatively temperate weather lately, because summer's just around the corner. All the seasonal indicators are there: pitchers and catchers reported last week, spring games start this Friday, and they've begun the process of thawing Tim McCarver from cryo-stasis.
Baseball -- in case you haven't recovered from the stratospheric highs and abysmal lows of the Texans' 2012 season -- is almost back. For some this means a long, satisfying six months of steady improvement and a possible playoff run. For others (Astros fans, especially) it's a prolonged gauntlet of embarrassment and checking the calendar for NFL preseason.
But there's still time to get psyched for the national pastime, and there are plenty of great baseball movies out there to help you out. Just not any of the ones listed here.
Before you ask (someone always asks), the best baseball movies are as follows:
Eight Men Out
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
The Bad News Bears
Catching Hell (ESPN's 30 for 30)
The Pride of the Yankees
Bang the Drum Slowly
And now, the worst.
Summer Catch (2001)
I have a theory that Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake have an agreement: he never brings up this movie, and she never asks any pointed questions about his relationship with Janet Jackson.
Counter-argument: wet Jessica Biel.
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
Sending your characters to another country is typically what happens when TV shows run out of ideas, or when movie screenwriters can't milk their "baseball team composed of juvenile delinquents and misfits" idea any more. Did any reviews describe TBNBGTJ as "worse than Nagasaki?" Because they totally should have.
Matt LeBlanc's dismal attempt to leverage his Friends success on the big screen would lower the bar so much David Schwimmer couldn't possibly fail to clear it (Schwimmer still almost didn't).
The Babe Ruth Story (1948)
The Babe, John Goodman's attempt to bring the Bambino to life, was sappy and boring, but pales in comnparison to this post-war hagiography, rushed into theaters to air before Ruth himself died, it's as unforgivably sappy as it is howlingly inaccurate. William Bendix looks like he'd never swung a bat in anger, and the ending is so shameless (a choir sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" as Ruth lays on his deathbed) you'll hate the Yankees even more than you do now. If that's possible.
Rookie of the Year (1993)
Oh Daniel Stern, I expected so much more from the debut directorial effort of the guy from Celtic Pride. In all seriousness, of all the possibilities put forward in the film, I bought the idea of a 12-year old with a major league arm much more readily than I did the Cubs winning the World Series.