The Jackie Robinson movie “42” to open next April 15

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Just got a press release announcing that the Brian Helgeland film, “42,” the Jackie Robinson story, will open next year on April 15, the anniversary of Robinson’s entry into the big leagues.  They accompanied the announcement with this pic of actor Chadwick Boseman, who will play Robinson. Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey.

I’m pretty stoked for this, not just because it’s a Robinson story, but because of Helgeland. He did the adaptation for one of my favorite flicks ever: “L.A. Confidential.” Based on how sprawling the book was, it was NOT an easy trick to get it into a workable motion picture, but he pulled it off. People’s lives — especially complex people like Robinson — aren’t always well-suited to the movies either, as a pile of good-but-flawed biopics over the years shows.  Here’s hoping that Helgeland can work that same kind of magic again.

We’re just gonna forget that he also wrote the Kevin Costner disaster “The Postman,” OK?

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”