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.

Report: Mike Trout as recognizable to Americans as NBA’s Kenneth Faried

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On Monday, the Washington Post cited Q Scores, a firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, with regard to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. According to Q Scores, Trout is as recognized to Americans as NBA forward Kenneth Faried, who has spent seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets and is now a reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. Trout’s score was 22, which means just over one in five Americans know who he is.

We have talked here at various times about Trout’s lack of marketability. He has expressed zero interest in being marketed as the face of baseball. Additionally, based on the nature of the sport, it’s harder for baseball to aggressively market its stars since star players don’t impact teams the same way they do in other sports. LeBron James, for example, carries whatever team he’s on to the NBA Finals. James has appeared in the NBA Finals every year dating back to 2011. Trout, despite being far and away the best active player in baseball and one of the best players of all time, has only reached the postseason once, in 2014 when his Angels were swept in the ALDS by the Royals. Trout can’t carry his team to the playoffs and his team hasn’t helped him any in getting there on a regular basis.

Baseball is also more of a regional sport. Fans follow their local team, of course, and don’t really venture beyond that even though games are broadcast nationally throughout the week. The NFL schedule is much shorter and occurs once a week, so fans put aside time to watch not just their favorite team’s game, but other games of interest as well. A June game between the subpar White Sox and Tigers doesn’t have much appeal to it since it’s one of 162 games for both teams, and both teams will play again later in the season. Comparatively, a game between the Bears and Lions has more intrigue since they only play twice a year.

It’s kind of a shame for baseball that Trout isn’t bigger than he is because he is a once-in-a-generation talent, like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Trout is so good that he’s still underrated. He’s on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time, going by Wins Above Replacement. Despite that, he’s anything but a lock to win the MVP Award at season’s end because the narratives around other players, like Mookie Betts, are more compelling.

Trout’s marketability is an issue that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. Trout is who he is and forcing him to ham it up for the cameras would come off as forced and unnatural. Major League Baseball will simply have to hope its other stars, like Betts and Bryce Harper, can help broaden the appeal of the sport.