Not all baseball movies are "Bull Durham"

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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.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.