Looking back at “Eight Men Out”

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Christian Red of the New York Daily News has a fantastic in-depth remembrance of John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out,” which came out 25 years ago last week.

He talks to some of the stars, primarily about the making of the movie, and we learn a lot of neat nuggets about the oh-so-wonderful film. Stuff like D.B. Sweeney having to learn to hit left-handed. Charlie Sheen realizing one day that, oh, he wasn’t the star. But how, despite that, he worked hard and helped draw extras to the set when the lowish-budget movie needed to fill a ballpark. There’s also a good second-hand story from Gordon Clapp about how the guy he played — White Sox catcher Ray Schalk — wasn’t exactly happy when Eliot Asinof, the author of the book “Eight Men Out,” tried to interview him back in the 60s. It’s loaded with great stuff.

There is some effort taken to compare the Black Sox Scandal with the Biogenesis scandal, but neither Red nor his subjects are terribly taken with the idea that PEDs are anywhere near as bad as throwing the World Series for money, even if the PED stuff is regrettable. That talk is both measured and, more importantly, doesn’t take away from a great story about a cool movie.

Now: do one about “Matewan,” which is Sayles’ best movie in my view and a personal top-5.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.