Spring training special: Hollywood's baseball all-stars
With Barack Obama in the White House, a new "Star Trek" movie only two months away, the World Baseball Classic starting up and everyone -- even Manny Ramirez -- having reported to spring training, all feels right with the world. We're even starting up our new Little League season at the Bad News Bears complex in West L.A., where my 10-year-old gets to play on what is surely the only Little League field in the world with a plaque dedicated to a Hollywood screenwriter -- Bill Lancaster, who wrote the original 1976 "Bad News Bears" film. (Lancaster, the son of Burt Lancaster, played ball on our Little League field when he was a kid in the late 1950s.)
Hollywood has had a long love affair with baseball -- "Pride of the Yankees," "The Natural" to "Bull Durham" and "The Rookie" to name a few standouts. But instead of compiling the best baseball movies, Rootzoo blogger KoufaxSpahn has come up with a clever post assembling an all-star team of players from classic baseball movies, complete with Bill James-style assessments of their abilities. His all-time movie team's starting lineup includes Wesley Snipes' Willie Mays Hayes (from "Major League") batting leadoff and playing center field; Jackie Earle Haley's Kelly Leak ("Bad News Bears") batting third and playing left field; Robert Redford's Roy Hobbs ("The Natural") batting cleanup and playing right field; and Kevin Costner's Crash Davis ("Bull Durham") batting sixth and catching.
He also has a host of pitchers, with Brendan Fraser's Steve Nebraska ("The Scout") as a starter and Charlie Sheen's Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn ("Major League") as his closer, along with Geena Davis' Dottie Hinson ("A League of Their Own") as a pinch-hitter. And who else but Tom Hanks' Jimmy "There's no crying in baseball" Dugan ("League of Their Own") as his manager. Hanks would have his hands full with all the flakes and troublemakers on this team -- which also features Tatum O'Neal's Amanda Whurlitzer (from "The Bad News Bears") pitching in middle relief -- but I'm sure he could handle it.
The whole roster is here -- but if you really want to get into the spirit, just watch this clip of Hanks' famous tirade, which concludes with the all-time greatest insult ever leveled at a baseball umpire: