Baseball Movies: All Baseball Lovers Need to See
Baseball movies: America loves them. What could be better than just a few friends on a sofa, staring at the screen, unified in the moment, sharing in a tribute to “America’s favorite pastime”. Baseball themed movies take male bonding to the next level. There is a universe of childhood memories that revolve around watching movies about baseball. You never outgrow it. The movie making industry obliges. Each year there are new plots that twist their way around the topic, running the bases as it where. Some of them are real “home runs”. Let’s discuss a few winners in no particular order.
Field of Dreams
This movie highlights baseball as a binding force throughout the recent history of America. The character Terence Mann (aka James Earl Jones) explains in his deep Darth Vader like voice, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.” The central focus of the movie is coping with loss and the death of a loved one. The main character Ray must reconcile with his late father. But the plot and premise gain their heart touching power from the sport that connects the audience with the movie, baseball. Terrence continues, “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”
This movie was set in 1920s America. Roy Hobbs (played by Robert Redford) was an up and coming baseball star whose career was halted by his involvement with a woman. After being out of the game for 16 years, he decides to return to Major League Baseball.
Historically speaking, classical stories about heroes empowered to overcome dire situations have cemented hope in the hearts of humanity. Much like Sampson in the Bible, betrayed by Delilah, he came back in the strength of God to conquer. Roy Hobbs armed with a baseball bat named “Wonderboy” made from the wood of a lightening struck tree, swings his way to victory. This epic archetype transposed onto the ballpark battlefields of the 1920s, moves us to never abandon our dreams.
When the situation is dire and there seems no way out, you can pull it all together for the win. You can always come back. The rules of baseball force you to play until you win. Other sports are timed and once a team gains the advantage they can simply “run the clock down”. This aspect of the game reflects one deeply entrenched American value, that the final inning is for triumph, not defeat.
A League of Their Own
This piece of endearing cinema is about an all female team learning to compete in a game usually played by men. This movie addresses an interesting part of American history. During WWII so many young men were drafted into the military there wasn’t enough players to staff the teams. The Major League Baseball owners put together an all women’s baseball league.
Tom Hanks plays Jimmy Dugan, a former Major League player gone alcoholic, who coaches the Rockford Peaches. Both drama and humor make this movie delightfully entertaining highlighting the power of baseball. As Jimmy Dugan says, “Hey, there’s no crying in baseball!”
The sport of baseball has effectively played its roll in defining masculinity for men and women, one movie at a time. From your first time losing, to the elation of a win. We learn about teamwork and father-son connection. We discover how to get back up from a failed slide. These life-shaping events form the backdrop for some heart touching cinema that sounds deep in our souls with the words “play ball!”