When you want the definition of "relentless", you need look no further than Mike Scioscia and his Anaheim Angels. Talk about guts! This team just doesn’t stop fighting. Mike was like that as a player, and he has instilled the same battle cry in his Angels; he molded this team into true grit. You can’t name one manager any better than Scioscia. Congratulations to a tremendous World Series champion. Hey, Dodgers, Mike Scioscia could have done this for you had you given him the opportunity.
Story of the Week
My movie collection contains more movies about baseball than all the other sports put together. This week’s Sports Junkie feature deals with most memorable baseball movies. If I don’t judge them as the best of that category, they will not appear here. I’m the judge! So who said life is fair?!
*** THREE STAR:
"61". Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chase Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record of 60. You remember those days; that’s when baseballs were not juiced up to leave the yard after being hit as routine fly balls.
"Soul of the Game". Integration was just around the corner. Which of the Negro League stars would Branch Rickey tap to be the first to break the color line?
"Cobb". The meat of this movie is Tommy Lee Jones’ great performance as baseball legend Ty Cobb, a hateful, drunken, bigoted bully who’s looking back on his life with a biographer. Cobb was a despicable human being; the movie doesn’t do enough credit to the bum that he was.
"Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings". Comedy about a black team that breaks away from the established Negro League in 1939, traveling all over the country to play white teams. Mixed in with humor, you get a sense of the frustrations of black players barred from the all-white major leagues.
"The Bad News Bears". Bright comedy about a hopeless Little League baseball team. A beer-guzzling coach and a female star pitcher is the combination that steals the show. The harmless little kids pitching four-letter words grabbed me.
**** FOUR STAR:
"The Rookie". The bio of Jim Morris, a Texas high school baseball coach whose team forces him to promise that he’ll try out as a major league pitcher if they win the championship. They do, and he does, and he makes it to the "show" at age 35. It’s a true story.
"Field Of Dreams". An Iowa farmer hears a "voice" that inspires him to build a baseball field on his property in the hope of bringing Shoeless Joe Jackson back to life. A very well done Hollywood fantasy.
"Major League". Zany spoof about a collection of misfits on the woeful Cleveland Indians. The team is being undermined by a new owner, a scheming ex-showgirl. Lots of likable lowbrow humor; right up my mental alley.
"Eight Men Out". Compelling movie about members of the Chicago White Sox taking bribes to throw the 1919 World Series. Known as the "Black Sox Scandal." Great attention to detail.
"The Pride of the Yankees". A bit soapy, but the superb biography of the superb Lou Gehrig. Truly memorable final sequence.
***** FIVE STAR: THESE TWO ARE THE MAIN EVENT:
"Bull Durham". Smart film about a minor-league North Carolina team, and its attentive, intelligent groupie who feels it’s her mission to live with one young player per season, and help him mature. A hardened vet of the game helps him more.
"The Natural". A not-so-young rookie is battling personal and romantic problems while trying to lead his team to the World Series. Roy Hobbs is more than a gifted baseball player; he’s a mythic hero. (The very altered remake at Dodger Stadium in 1988 starred Kirk Gibson. The remake was non-fiction.)
Last Week’s Trivia
Who is the only player in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP from the losing team? Chuck Howley, great linebacker of the Cowboys, won the award although Dallas was beaten by the Baltimore Colts, 16-13, in Super Bowl 5.
Trivia Question of the Week
Since the beginning of NFL expansion in 1960, two teams made it to the playoffs in just their second year of existence. Who were they? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.