Baseball movies are difficult beasts because baseball, by its very nature, doesn’t lend itself well to the Hollywood forumla. Rarely is there “one big game” and no amount of training montages can really convincingly turn someone into a champ. The drama of the game is just a bit too nuanced for the rah-rah, ya know?
As a result, the best baseball movies tend to be about things other than baseball. My favorite baseball movie — Bull Durham — is really a romantic comedy. “Major League” is awesome too, but it’s really a football movie — a band of misfits! The Big Game! — transplanted into baseball. It’s calling card is really the comedy, not the sports story. “Field of Dreams” is a tear jerker family drama New Age mess. It’s essential plot could have been moved along with anything. Baseball was just a giant McGuffin, really.
I mention all of this, because I’m hoping the latest baseball movie to hit production has something else going on with it too, or else it’s gonna be a real stinker:
Bradley Cooper may be a member of The A-Team now, but he could be Double-A or Triple-A in the baseball flick Disney is developing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s attached to star in an untitled dramedy about an injured big league player who gets sent back to the minors — “where the only place he can find lodging is in a senior citizens’ home.”
“There,” the trade continues, “he meets an old baseball guru who helps lead him back.”
I got $100 on the guru being played by Morgan Freeman. Anyone want any part of that action? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Freeman could probably start running lines now before the producers even contact him it’s so obviously his role.
Any other casting suggestions to the comments, please.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.