The dead of winter is in full force. Rumor has it that a polar bear escaped this morning from the Brookfield Zoo. Don’t worry. He was seen in a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a suitcase. The Bear is supposedly on the 8 p.m. flight to Tampa. Who can blame him?
You are tired of the snow and cold and the cold and snow. You want to see something warm. You want to see people living and doing things in warm weather.
How about a baseball movie? Spring will eventually get here and your favorite team will return to fight for glory on the green grass and in the sunshine.
But until then, here’s a look at some of my favorite baseball films that you might want to check out again or enjoy for the first time.
1. “Baseball” – You could call it one very long film, but it’s a multi-part documentary from Ken Burns first shown on PBS in 1994. Sometimes, the baseball as life metaphors get a little too much, but there’s no finer work that details the history of the game.
2. “The Pride of the Yankees” – Gary Cooper always came across as genuine in his roles and this 1942 biography of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig is no exception.
3. “Mr. Baseball” – The critics didn’t like this 1992 movie, but it’s always been one of my favorites. Tom Selleck stars as a member of the New York Yankees who is on the downside of his career and gets traded to a team in Japan. I guess what I liked about it was it showed baseball in a world I’m not familiar with. The movie made me want to visit Japan someday.
4. “Bull Durham” – This 1988 film has Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins combining both of America’s favorite pastimes and doing it well. You left the theater wishing you could be sent down to the minors (The first double-entendre of my blog!).
5. “A League of Their Own” – When this movie about the first pro female baseball players during World War II came out during the summer of 1992, I thought, “chick flick.” I gave it try and I think it’s one of the best movies ever on baseball. The deciding game of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is exhilarating and you would have to be pretty cold-hearted not to be touched when the former players are honored years later at the Baseball Hall of Fame in the movie’s final minutes. A small part of the movie was filmed at Cantigny in Wheaton. I interviewed a member of the AAGPBL, who lived in St. Charles, for a story about eight or nine years ago. She thought the film was accurate especially the baseball scenes and the scenes showing life as a player in the league.
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .