Like sports themselves, sports movies are a turf ripe for debate.
And baseball is where that’s most true. Among the various sports out there, baseball movies are the New York Yankees — which is to say there’s been an embarrassment of riches over the years. But which is the best baseball movie? Which others are in the top 5?
Those topics have been debated for some time, but this week in my Open Mike video series, I’m here to give you the best list you’ve ever seen of the Top 5 baseball movies. You might want to debate me on this, and that’s all well and good, but at this point in my life, after numerous watchings of all the most important baseball movies — I’ve even seen “Major League 2” more times than I’m proud of — I’ve arrived at this list.
5. “ROOKIE OF THE YEAR”
I know some people don’t like the comic book-y plot, but it ended with a Chicago Cubs World Series win — so it’s OK to suspend belief every now and again. The fact that you still see Henry Rowengartner jerseys at Wrigley Field is proof of how much this one still resonates with people.
4. “THE NATURAL”
I’ll give “The Natural” this, it probably has the best baseball-movie homer. As you’ll see in this list, I prefer fun baseball movies over the more serious, dramatic movies. But even I can’t deny the greatness of Roy Hobbs.
3. “BULL DURHAM”
This is Kevin Costner’s best baseball movie — more on that in the video — and a wonderful glimpse into both the clubhouse culture in baseball and the shenanigans that happen in the minor leagues. It preceded the baseball-movie boom of the ’90s, which is a good reminder that “Bull Durham” wasn’t just trying to ride a wave.
2. “THE SANDLOT”
If you insist on Benny the Jet, Smalls, Ham Porter and crew being No. 1, I wouldn’t hate you. I wouldn’t agree, but I wouldn’t hate you. “The Sandlot” is the perfect marriage of coming-of-age summer flick with baseball nostalgia, and it hits every note correctly. And without it, the lexicon of baseball quotes wouldn’t be as great.
1. “MAJOR LEAGUE”
There’s only one correct answer in my book and it’s “Major League” — a great baseball movie and just an all-around entertaining flick. I’ve seen it at least 100 times and I’ll still watch it when it’s on TV, still laugh and still imagine those fictional Indians were real. Jobu forever!
As I talk about in the video, there’s one movie conspicuously absent from my Top 5. I expect to hear about it from angry readers/watchers. So have it.
Previously on Open Mike:
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
On the 25th anniversary of ‘A League of Their Own’, aspiring baseball players recall their favorite scenes from the film.
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