Recently the Daily sports staff got into a discussion about some of the best baseball movies of all time, and yes, even some that aren't so good.
Like the western, war movie, horror flick and romantic comedy Hollywood has put the subject of baseball into its very own genre.
I don't call myself an expert on the subject of baseball movies, nor do I claim to be a film critic, but I have to admit some baseball flicks are very good, and some are a complete waste of time.
For the record, here are some of my favorites and why I like them:
Field of Dreams: The 1989 film staring Kevin Costner is by far one of the best baseball films ever made. This script is loaded with underlying themes.
Of course, this film is pure fantasy, but my favorite scene is when Costner's character is reunited with his dead father.
At the time of his death, the two men didn't get along.
One of the most touching scenes shows the two men playing a game of catch. To me, this represents how generations of fathers and sons have shared a love of baseball, and what an important role the game has played in building a bond between father and son.
The Sandlot: Maybe my favorite of all the baseball movies. The Sandlot is set in the 1960s in a far more innocent time.
Although its a children's movie, I like it because it centers on kids playing the great American Pastime just for fun. I can relate to this movie, because growing up in the 1970s in a suburb of Philadelphia we had a vacant field in my neighborhood. The kids turned it into a sandlot. We played the game for hours without coaches and parents getting in the way. I had more fun playing in those games than in any organized sport, including when a soccer team I was on won a league title.
Bull Durham: Another great baseball flick starring Costner. This film depicts life in the minors and deals with rookies, aging veterans and groupies. This movie is good for plenty of laughs and has a great cast, including Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon.
A League of their Own: Surprisingly a great baseball movie. The Penny Marshall film depicts life in the All-American Girls Baseball League formed during World War II. A good period piece deals with sibling rivalry, patriotism, how women can be good athletes and still be feminine. Eventually, they gain acceptance in a sport dominated by men. Marshall does a great job telling the story in flashbacks.
Pride of the Yankees: Gary Cooper's depiction of Yankee great Lou Gehrig who died of ALS at 37 years of age. The disease was later named for the Yankee slugger. Although I have never seen this movie all the way through, I know a box of tissues is needed to watch this tearjerker.
The Bad News Bears: Not a great baseball movie, but still a comical look at youth league baseball even though it's probably not suitable for young kids because of some of the language. In a way, it makes fun of how some parents take the game too seriously. Some things haven't changed in 20 years.
Walter Matheau and Tatum O'Neal were very funny in this film.
Of course there have been other baseball films not mentioned above, so I guess it goes to show as long as there is baseball, Hollywood won't run out of ideas for bringing the game to life on the silver screen.
Doug Gorman is sports editor for the Daily. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org