1. Field of Dreams

“If you build it, he will come.”
“Ease his pain”
“Go the distance”
I would think I was going crazy too if I started hearing these voices in the middle of a corn field.  A wonderful story with likable characters, “Field of Dreams” is just like the title says.  A field where one man gets a chance to hit against major league pitching.  Another man gets his chance to relive his days of watching baseball games at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.  And another man, well, I don’t want to give that away.
Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears these voices.  Builds a baseball field for “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta).  A player that was banned from baseball who was on the famous 1919 Chicago White Sox team.  Him and seven others were banned for throwing the 1919 World Series.  Ray then travels to Boston to bring a writer, Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) into the mix to help “ease his pain.”  They both see that their next stop is to Chisholm, Minnesota to seek Archibald “Moonlight” Graham.
All three have baseball as their common thread that binds them together in this well played plot.  It will hit you at your very core.  Anyone who remembers being a kid and either playing catch with your dad or going to the ball game.  You remember almost every detail about it.  The smells, the sounds, the feeling you got when you caught the ball in your glove.  The sound of the bat hitting the ball in just the perfect spot.  The smell of the freshly cut grass and the dirt flying into the air.
This is my favorite sports movie simply because of the father son connection.  I’m not going to give anything away if you haven’t seen it, but if you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  You remember that time you played catch with your dad.  You remember dreaming of playing in the big league and having your dad watching you play.  I have since chosen a different career path, but I will never forget that feeling I get when I recall those days.
It was recently re-kindled this past year.  I took my father to an Angels game this past May, just a month after he was released from the hospital.  He was at UCI medical center for the last month of his two month hospital stay.  UCI is just down the street from Angel Stadium.  Suffice it to say the view was much better in May as me and him were two rows behind the Angels dugout.  Watching “Field of Dreams” brings that feeling back to me every time I watch it.
The quote by Terence Mann towards the end of the movie really optimizes the meaning of baseball for almost all of its fans.  I’ll leave you with that quote and I thank you for reading each and every post of my top 10 sports movies that I’ve seen.  The list will be left on the main page of this website.
“The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball.  America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.  It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again.  But baseball has marked the time.  This field, this game, is part of our past.  It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”

2. The Sandlot

“You’re killin’ me Smalls.”
Not having a care in the world.  Living life and playing the game of baseball.  This movie sums up a lot of your parents and grandparents childhood.  That is if their childhood revolved around baseball.
One kid named Scott Smalls was having a rough start to his summer.  He just moved to a new place, had no friends and hadn’t a clue about playing baseball.  Thankfully for him there was one kid in town who was willing to bring him along.  Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez.
Benny was considered the best baseball player not just at the Sandlot, but in the whole town.  He flew like a jet around the base paths.  He could hit the skin off a baseball.  There wasn’t anything that Benny couldn’t do on a baseball diamond.
The Sandlot they played at was located next to the lair of “the beast” as they called it.  Anything that went over the fence, was now the property of this beast.  It was a mutual understanding that is until Smalls took an autographed baseball signed by “the great bambino” Babe Ruth.  That same ball was hit over the fence to which they all had to save it and Smalls’ life.  Or he would be grounded most severely.
There wasn’t any sandlots for me growing up, but playing baseball was always welcomed and still is.  Not as many people to play with, but I don’t hesitate at the chance to even play some catch.  I’m sure for my parents and grandparents generation this movie brought back some great memories of playing baseball or even watching the sport.
There is one scene I want to share with you.  The sandlot team was just wrapping up a game when the town’s little league team came by to talk some trash.  There was a lot of back and forth banter, but it ended with some epic smack.
Phillips: It’s easy when you play with rejects and a fat kid, Rodriguez.
Benny: Shut your mouth, Phillips!
Ham Porter: What’d you say, crap face?
Phillips: You shouldn’t be allowed to touch a baseball.  Except for Rodriguez, you’re all an insult to the game.
Ham Porter: Come on! We’ll take you on, right here! Right now! Come on!
Sandlot Kids: Yeah!
Phillips: We play on a real diamond, Porter. You ain’t good enough to lick the dirt off our cleats.
Ham Porter: Watch it, jerk!
Philips: Shut up, idiot!
Ham Porter: Moron!
Phillips: Scab eater!
Ham Porter: Butt sniffer!
Phillips: Pus licker!
Ham Porter: Fart smeller!
Bertram: [sniffs] Ahh.
Phillips: You eat dog crap for breakfast, geek!
Ham Porter: You mix you Wheaties with your mama’s toe jam!
Sandlot Kids: Yeah!
Phillips: You bob for apples in the toilet!  And you like it!
Ham Porter: You play ball like a giiirrrrrrrrl!
[entire group stands in shocked silence]
Phillips: What did you say?
Ham Porter: You heard me.
Phillips: Tomorrow.  Noon, at our field.  Be there, buffalo-butt breath.
Ham Porter: Count on it, pee-drinking crap face!
That’s one reason that I believe this movie has stood the test of time.  It brings back good memories and it tells a great story of kids being kids and perhaps embellishing on certain details of “the beast” that lurks over the fence.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I strongly recommend that you watch it with your parents or even your grandparents so they can restart those memories of their childhood playing at their own sandlot.
This top 10 list is sports movies that I’ve seen.  Not what others recommend, but only what my eyes have seen and that I truly enjoy.  If you haven’t seen this movie, netflix it, pirate the movie, however you go about watching movies, just do it.

3. Major League

It’s a classic and really a modern portrayal of baseball.  A team of no-names become contenders for one of the losing franchises in the sport.  The team of no-names is played by an awesome cast led by Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Corbin Bernsen and Bob Uecker.  This movie hits a bit of a personal note for myself as former catcher and 1981 World Series Co-MVP Steve Yeager was cast in the movie as well.

In the summer of 2008, I was hired to be the play-by-play announcer for the Golden Baseball League’s Long Beach Armada baseball team.  The manager that year happened to be former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager.  My first face-to-face meeting with Yeager was epic to say the least.  He’s a fun guy to be around, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when he’s being serious or playful.  Once you’ve figured it out, it’s a blast to be around him.

Suffice it to say that summer was truly one of a kind.  I was doing what I loved to do and at the same time, I was working with former and aspiring big leaguers.  Unfortunately the league was not as forthcoming and we parted ways after 2008.  Yeager did the same and the Long Beach Armada played their last season in the summer of 2009.  That summer and the movie “Major League” to me are similar in so many ways.

The unquestioned leader for the Cleveland Indians in the movie “Major League” was Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger).  Two no-name players Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) and Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) had talent, but didn’t know how to utilize it to their full potential.  Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) was “high priced talent” but was a major part of the Indians turn around.  Uecker’s character, Harry Doyle was the play-by-play voice of the Indians and had a great comedic charm to his role, which he does in real life as the play-by-play voice of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Armada didn’t have high priced talent, but there were quite a few players that had seen time in the majors.  They didn’t hit their peak until the second half of the season, just like the Cleveland Indians did in “Major League.”  The Indians had an owner that wanted them to lose so she could move the team to Miami.  The Golden Baseball League owned the Long Beach Armada and they didn’t want them to lose, but they sure weren’t looking out for the team’s best interest.

The Indians were traveling on a crappy plane that became a crappy bus.  The Armada on one road trip had a bus driver that didn’t know where he was going and his company gas card wasn’t accepted at most gas stations.  The Indians had no hot water or proper materials for their locker room.  The Armada’s white pants were washed with dark colors that turned them into pink pants.  You can imagine the reaction of Yeager when that happened.  Priceless.

Very similar incidents, but it didn’t affect either team on the field.  The one fact that I will reveal now if you haven’t watched “Major League” is that it didn’t result in the Cleveland Indians winning the World Series.  They beat the rival New York Yankees, but how did they do in the playoffs?  Long Beach made the playoffs, but were ousted by their rival the Orange County Flyers.  Still, every time I watch this movie, even before I worked for the Long Beach Armada I can always laugh at the antics or one-liners that were uttered.

Steve Yeager’s one line in the movie came in Spring Training when he and the manager Lou Brown were wondering why this power hitter, Pedro Cerrano, wasn’t picked up by anyone else after crushing some pitches out of the ballpark.  The answer came after Yeager talked to the pitcher.

Lou Brown: [after seeing Cerrano hit a few fastballs out of the park] Jesus, this guy hits a ton, how come no one else picked up on him?

Duke Temple (Yeager): Alrght Eddie, that’s enough fastballs throw’em some breaking balls.
[Then, Eddie throws Cerrano a curve ball, which Cerrano swings and misses]

Harry Doyle was saying things that were going through my mind that I wanted to say on-air, but knew better.  The fact is that 99.99 percent of what I wanted to say was to be directed at the Golden Baseball League.  I will give you one example.  There was a double header one day and the first game was being delayed by 45 minutes.  Why?  The league didn’t have enough baseballs for both games.  They only had one case for two games.  So naturally as the play-by-play announcer, I came on the air and told the truth.  I said something to the effect of,
“the first game of the double-header today is being delayed due to the lack of baseballs for both games today here at Blair Field.”
I wasn’t going to lie.  I felt it was the right thing to do, plus it was funny as hell that you can forget to have enough baseballs for a double-header.

Bob Uecker did a phenomenal job with his character.  Here are a few of my personal favorite one-liners.

Harry Doyle: [after Vaughn was tossed from the game] So, an eerie start for the Erie warriors as they drop a heartbreaker to the Yankees, nine to nothing. The post game show is brought to you by…
[Rifles through papers]
Christ I can’t find it, the hell with it.

Doyle: [Vaughn is coming out to pitch] So, here is Rick Vaughn, the one they call the “Wild Thing”. So, he sets and deals.
[Vaughn throws a wild pitch]
Just a bit outside, he tried for the corner and missed.
[Vaughn throws another wild pitch]
Ball 4.
[Vaughn throws another wild pitch]
Ball 8.
[Vaughn throws another wild pitch]
Low, and he walks the bases loaded on 12 straight pitches. How can these guys lay off pitches that close?

Doyle: [an Indians pitcher is removed from the game] Well, you can close the book on Kellner.
[under his breath]
Thank God!

Doyle: In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar.

Doyle: Just a reminder, fans, comin’ up is our “Die-hard Night” here at the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant.

There is another one, but I challenge to find it and let me know.  This movie as you can see hits me on a personal note in my life.  The players, the manager, Yeager and Uecker.  Baseball is by far my favorite sport to cover, even though it might not show.  I guess it’s because of the amount of great movies that have been made over the past couple decades.  This is a must see movie.  Yes, I believe it’s better than Rocky, Rudy and Caddyshack.  Numbers 6, 5, and 4 respectively on my list.  It’s partly because of the personal connection, but I just love watching great baseball movies.

This top 10 list is sports movies that I’ve seen.  Not what others recommend, but only what my eyes have seen and that I truly enjoy.  If you haven’t seen this movie, netflix it, pirate the movie, however you go about watching movies, just do it.

4. Caddyshack

“I’m alright
Nobody worry ’bout me
Why you got to gimme a fight?
Can’t you just let it be?”
That’s what you’ll here when you start watching Caddyshack.  “I’m alright” by Kenny Loggins.  The comedic genius of the four men above is timeless.  From left to right Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight not only make this one of the best sports movies ever, but one of the funniest ever.  Chase’s character is Ty Webb.  Murray’s is Carl Spackler.  Dangerfield’s is Al Czervik.  Knight’s is Judge Elihu Smails.
Of course the main part of the movie is centered around a caddy named Danny Noonan played by Michael O’Keefe.  Basically it’s the classic tale of a struggling young adult trying to get a break when he does by playing golf.  Judge Smails quickly develops a rivalry with Al Czervik who is building condominiums next to the Bushwood Country Club Golf Course.  Ty Webb is helping Danny along the way with his golf game and Carl Spackler, the assistant greens keeper of Bushwood is charged with killing the gopher who is slowly ruining the golf course.
Most of you know about the comedic genius I speak of with Chase, Murray, Dangerfield and Knight in other movies or television shows.  Here are some samples of it.  The first is between Ted Knight and Chevy Chase.
Judge Smails: Ty, what did you shoot today?
Ty Webb: Oh, Judge, I don’t keep score.
Smails: Then how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
Webb: By height.
Smails: You know, you should play with Dr. Beeper and myself. I mean, he’s been club champion for three years running and I’m no slouch myself.
Webb: Don’t sell yourself short Judge, you’re a tremendous slouch.
The next is between Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield.
Al Czervik: What’re we, waiting for these guys? Hey Whitey, where’s your hat?
Judge Smails: Do you mind, sir. I’m trying to tee off.
Al: I’ll bet you a hundred bucks you slice it into the woods.
Smails: Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice.
[Swings club, slices ball into woods]
Smails: Damn
Al: OK, you can owe me.
Smails: I owe you nothing.
The last I have is between Bill Murray and Chevy Chase
Ty Webb: This your place, Carl?
Carl Spackler: Yeah, whatta ya think?
Webb: It’s really… awful.
Spackler: Well, I got a lot of stuff on order. You know… credit trouble.
There’s a lot of other wackiness that involves those four, including the gopher.  Bottom line is that you will be laughing your butt off the first time and every other time you watch this movie.  The cast is impeccable and the writing and direction of the movie by Harold Ramis, one of the Ghostbusters and responsible for the movie Stripes, did a great job with what many consider to be a dull sport.  Cheers to this classic comedy and sports movie who has stood the test of time for thirty years.
This top 10 list is sports movies that I’ve seen.  Not what others recommend, but only what my eyes have seen and that I truly enjoy.  If you haven’t seen this movie, netflix it, pirate the movie, however you go about watching movies, just do it.

5. Rudy

Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger lived his dream.  His story was depicted on the big screen in 1993 and is considered one of the best sports movies ever.  Now I don’t take everything from movies to be based on true stories to be fact, but I would imagine this one was a close to the real deal.

Without giving away a whole lot, I will point out that one part of the movie pissed me off immensely.  In the beginning of the movie when Rudy was in high school, there was an announcement from the priest that there would be a bus leaving for Notre Dame.  Sure enough Rudy wants to go and take a tour of the campus.  He shows up to get on the bus.  The priest doesn’t let him on the bus.  He takes Rudy aside and tells him, “not everyone is meant to go to college.”

I was livid.  Let the kid see the campus.  If that part was true, shame on that idiot.  Anyway the rest of the movie for me was very telling.  Rudy’s dream was to play football at Notre Dame.  A simple dream.  Not so simple when your family doesn’t think you can do it.  He gets through that and tragedy in the beginning to finally pursue his dream.

It’s not a walk in the park and along the way he makes some new friends.  One of them was the head groundskeeper at Notre Dame Stadium.  Fortune was his name.  He was played by Charles S. Dutton.  Rudy was working for him to get the feel for being on the same field as his favorite Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Fortune was an important character who got Rudy back into focus on his dream.  Just when things were at their lowest for Rudy, Fortune gave him the pep talk he needed.

Fortune: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey what are you doing here don’t you have practice?

Rudy: Not anymore I quit.

Fortune: Oh, well since when are you the quitting kind?

Rudy: I don’t know I just don’t see the point anymore.

Fortune: So you didn’t make the dress list, there are greater tragedies in the world.

Rudy: I wanted to run out of that tunnel for my dad to prove to everyone that I worked…

Fortune: Prove what?

Rudy: That I was somebody


Fortune: Oh you are so full of crap.  You’re five foot nothin’, a hundred and nothin’ and hardly have a spec of athletic ability and you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years, and you were also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame in this life time you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself and after what you gone through if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen, now go on back.

Rudy: I’m sorry I never got you to see your first game in here.

Fortune: Hell I’ve seen too many games in this Stadium.

Rudy: I thought you said you never saw a game…

Fortune: I’ve never seen a game from the stands.

Rudy: You were a player?

Fortune: I rode the Bench for two years thought I wasn’t being played because of my color I got filled up with a lot of attitude so I quit, still not a week goes by I don’t regret it, and I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walking out letting them get the best of you.  Do you hear me clear enough?

That sums up the entire Rudy story in a nut-shell.  He had to fight through a lot of crap and still knew he had a chance to succeed at one of the finest universities in the country.  Rudy showed us that no matter the dream, if you work hard to achieve you will have lived it out.  Rudy stands alone as one of many examples that what you dream can come true.  There’s always hope, don’t ever forget that.  Rudy-Rudy-Rudy-Rudy.

This top 10 list is sports movies that I’ve seen.  Not what others recommend, but only what my eyes have seen and that I truly enjoy.  If you haven’t seen this movie, netflix it, pirate the movie, however you go about watching movies, just do it.