Author Topic: Baseball  (Read 11563 times)

colonel_mexico

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Re: Baseball
« Reply #220 on: July 09, 2017, 01:41:29 PM »
Not that I was asked, but I feel like documentaries have covered this a bit better and I have always put forth A PLAYER TO BE NAMED LATER as the best I've seen that has discussed the hard work, dedication, and heartbreak that goes into attempting to summit the Big Leagues.  All the old films on baseball are way too romantic, the modern stuff glosses over all of it. MILLION DOLLAR ARM is such a Disney pile of crap, while I enjoyed it for a kids film, those guys were unlikely to become big leaguers (not to say their story isn't worth noting, because it is a good one). The scouting aspect isn't expanded upon in the docu as much as it was it takes to develop talent. I'm waiting for a piece on the Dominican leagues or Japanese leagues. SUGAR gives a glimpse of baseball school and talent searching, but its main focus is on the character with baseball as scenery.

I played throughout high school, faced Spooneybarger who did make it to the big leagues as well as had cousins and teammates that have played college ball, so I've been around a bit.  I also follow minor league baseball pretty closely and no film has ever really gotten the intense work and dedication, with the huge reality that there will probably be no payoff, except for what I've seen in documentaries. KNUCKLEBALL is an interesting look at a difficult pitch, not really thrown well by anyone save a select few.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 01:45:38 PM by colonel_mexico »
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1SO

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Re: Baseball
« Reply #221 on: July 09, 2017, 08:11:44 PM »
Not that I was asked, but I feel like documentaries have covered this a bit better...

Yeah but who wants to watch a documentary on Baseball that isn't made by Ken Burns.


EDIT: And that one about the guy in the stands who caught the ball and caught hell for it. Can't remember the title.

colonel_mexico

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Re: Baseball
« Reply #222 on: July 09, 2017, 08:18:40 PM »
Ken's BASEBALL is great, but I'm telling you A PLAYER is really good, if you're interested. The Bartman stuff is interesting, but kinda stale
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Re: Baseball
« Reply #223 on: September 02, 2018, 01:24:19 PM »
I finally watched It Happens Every Spring, though 3 years later I bet you've largely forgotten about it. I defend Lloyd Bacon in our conversations, but this is one of his weakest efforts. He largely seems checked out and unconcerned with the numerous potential story lines that go undeveloped. The way to keep the wood-resistant baseball from being the film's sole joke is to use it as a launching pad for exploring the nerdy professor having to learn to pitch, to condition his arm enough to get the ball over the plate. What about the angle of the die hard fan getting to play in the sport he's fanatical about? Why the stupid sub-plot where his girlfriend thinks he's part of a gang of jewelry store robbers? Wouldn't Kelly's no-hit streak raise some questions?

You questioned being in the mood for this sort of comedy, but I'd like to defend all comedies of this time period by saying this is not even a typical average 1940s comedy. I wish I could've traded your time watching this with Big Leaguer (1953) starring Edward G. Robinson, a more honest, educational and entertaining look at the sport during that time period.

Antares

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Re: Baseball
« Reply #224 on: September 02, 2018, 09:41:31 PM »
I have had a lifelong love affair with the game of baseball

I know you posted this over two years ago, but I just found it.

Up until the strike of 1994, I was probably the biggest baseball fan in the history of the game. I lived inside a MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, and was the de facto ass kicker in baseball trivia. But after the strike, and the PED bullshit of the mid-nineties, I drifted away from the game. But I have one great baseball story, and I think you'll get a kick out of it.

Back in the early months of 1991, I went through a painful divorce from my first wife. I started a new job and met the woman who is now my current wife. We started dating in July of that year. She was a huge Celtic & Larry Bird fan, so when her birthday rolled around, I took her to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Ma. (There's also a great story from this date, but it'll have to wait for another time). When my birthday came around in October, she took me to Cooperstown, and it was my first visit. I was completely enthralled, and absorbed and loved every second I was in there. At this time, touch screen computers were just coming into vogue, and as I was walking around, I spotted one. So I start surfing around this database, which has all the info on all the players in the Hall of Fame. Now like I said, I lived in a MacMillan, so this was like being a kid let loose in a candy store. I'm searching through everything I can find in this database. People are milling around, and I can tell that Jan (my wife), is standing right behind me. I'm completely oblivious to anything else, as I soak in all the information I'm finding. Finally, I turn around and I say to her, "OK, I'm done." She hands me back my jacket, and she says "I didn't think you were ever going to get off that thing." I look at her and ask, "How long was I on it?" She looks at me, with a smirk, and says, "You've been on that computer for two and a half hours."

At that moment, I knew I had finally met the person I was meant to be with, for the rest of my life. ANY woman, who'll stand quietly behind you, while you're enjoying the birthday present they gave you, for 2 1/2 hours, has the patience of a saint, and must really love you. True story.

Corndog

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Re: Baseball
« Reply #225 on: September 04, 2018, 07:17:28 AM »
I finally watched It Happens Every Spring, though 3 years later I bet you've largely forgotten about it.

I have largely forgotten it (and for good reason), but I have a few fleeting memories of it generally. It was certainly a disappointment given the fanaticism of the main character, I certainly hoped for a more charming film, one which showed reverence for the game. Oh well.

I have had a lifelong love affair with the game of baseball

I know you posted this over two years ago, but I just found it.

Up until the strike of 1994, I was probably the biggest baseball fan in the history of the game. I lived inside a MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, and was the de facto ass kicker in baseball trivia. But after the strike, and the PED bullshit of the mid-nineties, I drifted away from the game. But I have one great baseball story, and I think you'll get a kick out of it.

What a great story! And I can understand drifting away from the game. i think my excuse was my youth during that time. I was 6 when they struck in 1994. 10 in the summer of 1998 when the game came back with the home run race. And while I was more mature when the PED scandals were coming out, I still had a passion for the game, was still playing it for my high school team. So I was able to weather the storm. I think the game is in a great place right now, with some really interesting personalities and stars.

I'm still in love with the game, otherwise I wouldn't still be playing it at 30 years old with two bum knees.
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Corndog

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Re: Baseball
« Reply #226 on: February 08, 2019, 01:17:39 PM »
The Catcher was a Spy (Ben Lewin, 2018)

Anyone who has followed my film writing knows that I was deep into the ESPN 30 for 30 series, including all the way down to the numerous short films they released under that brand. I have since caught up and stopped writing about their news films with as much passion and vigor as I once did, but I bring it up because of the more curious and interesting 30 for 30 shorts I ever came across was Spyball, a film about a mediocre baseball player who moonlighted as a renaissance man fluent in numerous languages, which made him an important asset to the United States when it came to World War II. Principly, he was task with assassinating German scientist Werner Heisenberg, who was believed to be developing the fission bomb. Well, wouldnít you know it, it seems Hollywood caught wind of the story too and decided to make a dramatic film about it.

Morris ďMoeĒ Berg (Paul Rudd) was mostly a smart defensive catcher for the Boston Red Sox, whose career batting average below .250 assured he would be easily forgotten by baseball historians. However, Berg was also a very sharp man who, come World War II, put his talents to use for the United States government. He took an All-Star barnstorming trip to Japan as an excuse for reconnaissance and is soon tasked by his superior (Jeff Daniels) to seek out and kill a German scientist (Mark Strong). At his disposal is a veteran soldier (Guy Pearce) and a fellow scientist (Paul Giamatti). This secretive mission is one of many which went years without recognition, Iím sure, but what makes this one a little more interesting is Bergís background as a ballplayer.

Iím including this review here as both a 2018 release as well as a Baseball movie. Iím not sure this qualifies as a typical baseball movie, as there is very little baseball action or commentary here, apart from a pretty effective scene where Moe plays a game in war torn Europe with some fellow soldiers, making both their day and his. So from that perspective, this is not a special film. But even when evaluated as just another 2018 release, it seems lacking. Bergís really is an interesting story, but director Ben Lewin is more enamored with the idea of it than its execution, failing to ever connect through his storytelling to the character of Moe Berg. Likewise, Paul Ruddís performance falls flat alongside the tepid direction. The brilliance of Spyball was the curiousness of the story. When extended to a feature length film, it feels too small.

The film surprisingly features an all-star cast: Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong, Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels, Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd. I can see what perhaps attracted these accomplished actors to the project, and their performances are fine. There are a few memorable moments sprinkled throughout the film, including the initial meeting between Berg and Heisenberg, and the above mentioned baseball game with soldiers. But screenwriter Robert Rodat shows little ambition in his delivery of the story, falling victim to familiar tropes and crafting dialogue which often comes across as very forced and fake, which is disappointing given his resume as a screenwriter.

All in all this film is just fine. There is certainly nothing to outright dislike about the story or performances. As I said, itís a very interesting story, and Moe Berg is certainly an enigma. But the film fails to make that intrigue come across in any exciting or engaging manner, resulting in a very standard, somewhat boring, and downright disappointing film. Would more baseball have helped? Maybe if it helped shape who Moe Berg was a little more. Would more battle scenes have helped? Probably not. Perhaps thatís the problem altogether: Nobody really knew who Moe Berg was. But if thatís the case, then I wish there was more mystery than what we get with The Catcher Was a Spy.

★★ - Didn't Like It
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."