Tagged: Major League

Derek Jeter and the 5 Players We Can’t Imagine in Another Jersey

Imagine my poor blood pressure this morning when I woke up to a headline like THIS today.

Something like what Derek Jeter is alluding to would be disastrous if it actually came to fruition. I’m no Yankee fan by any measure, but I truly respect Jeter and have looked up to him since I was a little kid. And I just can’t imagine him wearing anything besides the pinstripes.

None of that Joe Montana-to-the-Chiefs, desperate-to-keep-playing, end of the career crap from Jeter, please.

Sure, the unthinkable has been done before – Ken Griffey, Jr. moved to Cincinnati from Seattle even though he looked like a super hero in the silver and teal. Heck, we had one happen this past off-season when Albert Pujols jumped ship to Anaheim, despite looking so damn good in Cardinal red.

But the super fan in me would like to keep that kind of olé B.S. to a minimum. I don’t know what it is…the players themselves, the jersey/color combo of the teams they represent, or just the nostalgia of a childhood long-gone (okay, I’m not that old), but I identify Jeter and the rest of this list as players who I could never, ever see in a different jersey:

*Disclaimer: Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones not included because they are guaranteed to stay a Yankee and Brave, respectively, for the remainder of their Hall of Fame careers*

1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

Let’s start with the Captain himself. Jeter has played all 18 seasons as the shortstop of the Yankees, number two plastered on his back. Needless to say, Mr. November will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the next great Yankee to have his number retired. There is no more iconic jersey in sports than those of the Yanks, and even imagining Jeter in an Angels, Cubs, Red Sox (god forbid) or any other jersey is painful.

2. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

I know he’s only been around a few years, but damn if Posey hasn’t made himself a celebrity in San Francisco at Usain Bolt-esque speed. There is no way the team will let this guy walk away as long as he’s physically able to play the game. It’s really hard to predict this early, but we could be seeing the next great “one-team” lifer in Posey, who should be representing that awful orange and black for another decade and a half.

3. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if Mariners GM Jack Zdurineck trades Felix, he should not only be fired, but tarred, feathered and forced to watch Jack and Jill on loop. Hernandez is the King of Seattle and it should stay that way forever. I dig the silver and teal uni’s up there in the Pacific Northwest, and Hernandez wears it best. Plus, he wants to stay a Seattle Mariner. I’m sure Brian Cashman has visions, but I just can’t see this guy in Yankee garb.

4. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies

When I say Rockies, you say Helton! “ROCKIES!” “HELTON!” Thank you. But seriously, Helton is about as synonymous with Colorado baseball as macaroni is with cheese. He’s played all 16 years of his career manning first base at Coors Field, and will most definitely have his number retired there whenever he hangs up the spikes. Todd Helton in anything but purple would be straight criminal.

5. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

I know a few Cardinals fans who would actually sob uncontrollably if Yadi ever slips on another team’s jersey. And they should, because it would arguably be more devastating than the loss of Pujols to that devoted fan base. Whereas Pujols was the power and glam of the team, Molina is the heart, soul, lungs and kidney of the franchise. I know NL catchers have a short shelf life, but just trying to picture him as a Dodger or Phillie makes me want to elbow drop a baby penguin.

6. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

Last, but certainly not least, we have arguably the best all-around player in the National League. I don’t know what it is with him and that black and gold, but McCutchen just looks so right in a Pirates uniform. Maybe it’s the dreads, or the blindingly white smile, or the elegant physique over which the Pirates’ jersey falls. No matter, McCutchen can never go play for the Indians or Orioles or anyone else. He needs to be in Pittsburgh for life.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Mike Trout (Angels), David Price (Rays)

Comment below if you think someone else should be considered for this list! And don’t forget to VOTE in the poll:

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– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

What’s the Best Baseball Movie Ever?

“Trouble with the Curve” comes out this Friday, September 21st.  It joins a long list a movies that are focused around America’s pastime, baseball.  It got me to thinking what’s the best baseball movie of all-time?  We’ll be breaking down all of our favorite’s on this week’s podcast, but here’s my complete top ten.

10) “Pride of the Yankees”-1942
I love that this movie actually has Babe Ruth in it. It chronicles Lou Gehrig’s career, leading up to the culmination of his “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech. It may be the saddest of the movies on this list, watching the crippling disease ALS take over the body of one of the greatest players of all-time. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won one. Gets some bonus chuckles for Gary Cooper batting right-handed in the movie, even though Gehrig was a lefty.

9) “Bull Durham”-1988
This is where I’m going to get in trouble. A lot of trouble. I don’t really like “Bull Durham” as much as everyone else. Which is surprising because 90% of the time when I have the choice I’ll choose the comedy over the dramatic film. Kevin Costner is great as minor league player Crash Davis, but they movie just doesn’t do it for me. The movie in general is well received and was named the #5 Best Sports (not just baseball movie) by the American Film Institute.

8) “Moneyball”-2011
I have enjoyed this movie that times I watched it, but it didn’t win any of the Academy Awards it was nominated for. It was even cooler when I got to watch “Moneyball” from the outfield of o.Co Coliseum when I was in California last month. I think have twenty more times watching this movie it might move up the list. I already do the Jonah Hill/Peter Brand fist pump when I’m excited.

7) “Rookie of the Year”-1993
Please humor me. I’m not saying that “Rookie of the Year” is the 7th best baseball movie of all-time, it’s probably far from it. However, it’s the movie that hardly ever left 10 year-old Bryan’s VCR. Thomas Ian Nicholas plays Henry Rowengartner, a middle school afterthought who by a freak injury becomes the flamethrowing pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Super bonus points for the only time the Cubs have won the World Series since 1908. Plus, if you’re a baseball fan from ages 21-35 and you have uttered the words “funky butt-loving” or “pitcher’s got a big butt” you haven’t lived. Don’t worry this one wasn’t nominated for anything.

6) “Baseball”-1994
The perfect movie for any baseball history lover. Ken Burns documentary that chronicles the evolution of baseball through 18.5! wonderful hours. Each film goes over a different era in baseball history from the origins of the game through 1993 and was sadly released during the 1994 baseball strike. The film gave baseball fans a much needed baseball fix during the absent 1994 playoffs. A new film was released in 2010 called “The Tenth Inning” which chronicled the game from 1994-2010. Plus the 9-part VHS tapes, looked so awesome sitting on the bookshelf in the family room growing up. “Baseball” won an Emmy for Best Informational Series.

5) “A League of Their Own”-1992
A movie that I don’t think gets enough respect over the years. Tom Hanks entering his acting prime, this movie came out right before “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”. This movie had entertaining performances from Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’ Donnell. The film tells the story of the short-lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League through the team the Rockford Peaches, while MLB is shut down for World War II. The slew of storylines from player-manager, to husband-wife, to sister-sister weaves together wonderfully. The final scene is one of the few where you didn’t see it coming. Jimmy Dugan’s famous line “There’s no crying in baseball” is still uttered 20 years later.

4) “The Natural”-1984
When I first visited the Baseball Hall of Fame when I was an early teen, what the most exciting piece of baseball history for me? Not the plaques chronicling baseball greats, not the exhibits on the 500 HR club, 3000 hits, etc. it was the baseball movies exhibit. The piece that I still remember seeing this day? The Wonderboy bat and Robert Redford’s New York Knights jersey. I even debated buying a Knights jersey in Cooperstown before I left, before settling on a Brooklyn Dodgers one. The Roy Hobbs character was just so fun from striking out The Whammer to appearing as a 35 year-old rookie for the Knights completely knocking the cover off the ball. The climax is still one of the most memorable for not just a baseball film, but any movie. Imagine if a player like Hobbs came around today in the world of around the clock sports news and social media, it’d be Tebow and Lebron wrapped into one. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, sadly none of them for Redford’s role as Roy Hobbs.

3) “The Sandlot”-1993
From this list you can pretty much guess my baseball movie peak was from 1992-1994 (there’s even another one on the list coming). “The Sandlot” was what I was when I was nine, a kid who went out every day and wanted to play some baseball. I was very much like Smalls, not the best player, but a kid that grew to love the game. The only difference is I actually knew who The Great Bambino was. The characters were all fun from Benny, to Ham, to Squints (and Wendy Peffercorn), to Yeah-Yeah. The story with the beast was great and was the quintessential baseball family movie.

2) “Major League” AND “Major League 2″-1989 and 1994
Please don’t throw things at me for what I’m about to say. I like “Major League 2″ more than the original. “Major League” is a great movie in its own right, but the young teenage silliness in me enjoyed the more ridiculous “Major League 2″. The movie shows the lovable loser Cleveland Indians as they turn from a ragtag group of nobodies into a bonafide contenders. Find another baseball movie that has fans of the team actually wearing the jerseys from the movie rather that the teams own players. You know you own a Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn #99 jersey Indians fans, don’t try to deny it. But why do I prefer #2? Except for the slight downgrade from Wesley Snipes to Omar Epps as Willie “Mays” Hayes, the entire cast is back, plus the hilarious editions of Rube Baker and Isuro Tanaka, just make the rare preference for the sequel. I still ask people if they “have no marbles”, but I don’t quote anything from the original.

1) “Field of Dreams”-1989
1989 was a great year for baseball cinema, with arguably the best baseball drama and comedy being released in the same year. “Field of Dreams” is based on the book “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella. Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice telling him “if you build it, he will come” Kinsella turns his crops into a homegrown baseball field in the middle of nowhere, while the ghosts of baseball greats like Shoeless Joe Jackson appear to play the game they loved while they were alive. The fantasy story continues as Kinsella travels to find Terence Mann (the always entertaining James Earl Jones) and “Moonlight” Graham. The ending where people will always come for the game of baseball, helps show why it is America’s pasttime. It’s one of the few movies that any time it is on TV, the channel doesn’t get changed.

Honorable Mention:
61*, The Bad News Bears, Eight Men Out, Cobb, The Rookie, Catching Hell, Bang the Drum Slowly, For Love of the Game, Angels in the Outfield and Little Big League

Does “Trouble with the Curve” have what it takes to crack the top ten?  I might know when I walk out of the theater, but I’ll probably need to watch it ten times on TV first.  With my favorite team, the Braves, involved it might have a chance.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

What’s the Best Baseball Movie Ever?

There has always been a special connection with baseball fans and baseball movies. They can bring out every emotion from tears to laughter. “Moneyball” came out in October 2011 after years of uncertainty of even being released. Brad Pitt portrays Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane as the team has lost star players Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi to free agency following the 2001 season. How can Beane replace two great players on such a small-market budget? Enter Jonah Hill’s character Peter Brand (the real-life Paul DePodesta) to show off a new way of analyzing how to score runs and get wins on a shoestring budget, creating Moneyball. Pitt grabbed a Best Actor nomination for his role and Hill nominated for Best Supporting Actor. “Moneyball” received 4 other nominations including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and of course Best Picture. Where does “Moneyball” rank among the all-time great baseball movies? I’m sure everyone’s list is different, but these are my nominations for the Best Baseball Picture Oscar.

10) “Pride of the Yankees”-1942
I love that this movie actually has Babe Ruth in it. It chronicles Lou Gehrig’s career, leading up to the culmination of his “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech. It may be the saddest of the movies on this list, watching the crippling disease ALS take over the body of one of the greatest players of all-time. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won one. Gets some bonus chuckles for Gary Cooper batting right-handed in the movie, even though Gehrig was a lefty.

9) “Bull Durham”-1988
This is where I’m going to get in trouble. A lot of trouble. I don’t really like “Bull Durham” as much as everyone else. Which is surprising because 90% of the time when I have the choice I’ll choose the comedy over the dramatic film. Kevin Costner is great as minor league player Crash Davis, but they movie just doesn’t do it for me. The movie in general is well received and was named the #5 Best Sports (not just baseball movie) by the American Film Institute.

8) “Moneyball”-2011
I’ve already gone to great length talking about the movie, but this seems like the right spot for it. I may feel differently in a decade after 50 more replays of it.

7) “Rookie of the Year”-1993
Please humor me. I’m not saying that “Rookie of the Year” is the 7th best baseball movie of all-time, it’s probably far from it. However, it’s the movie that hardly ever left 10 year-old Bryan’s VCR. Thomas Ian Nicholas plays Henry Rowengartner, a middle school afterthought who by a freak injury becomes the flamethrowing pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Super bonus points for the only time the Cubs have won the World Series since 1908. Plus, if you’re a baseball fan from ages 21-35 and you have uttered the words “funky butt-loving” or “pitcher’s got a big butt” you haven’t lived. Don’t worry this one wasn’t nominated for anything.

6) “Baseball”-1994
The perfect movie for any baseball history lover. Ken Burns documentary that chronicles the evolution of baseball through 18.5! wonderful hours. Each film goes over a different era in baseball history from the origins of the game through 1993 and was sadly released during the 1994 baseball strike. The film gave baseball fans a much needed baseball fix during the absent 1994 playoffs. A new film was released in 2010 called “The Tenth Inning” which chronicled the game from 1994-2010. Plus the 9-part VHS tapes, looked so awesome sitting on the bookshelf in the family room growing up. “Baseball” won an Emmy for Best Informational Series.

5) “A League of Their Own”-1992
A movie that I don’t think gets enough respect over the years. Tom Hanks entering his acting prime, this movie came out right before “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”. This movie had entertaining performances from Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’ Donnell. The film tells the story of the short-lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League through the team the Rockford Peaches, while MLB is shut down for World War II. The slew of storylines from player-manager, to husband-wife, to sister-sister weaves together wonderfully. The final scene is one of the few where you didn’t see it coming. Jimmy Dugan’s famous line “There’s no crying in baseball” is still uttered 20 years later.

4) “The Natural”-1984
When I first visited the Baseball Hall of Fame when I was an early teen, what the most exciting piece of baseball history for me? Not the plaques chronicling baseball greats, not the exhibits on the 500 HR club, 3000 hits, etc. it was the baseball movies exhibit. The piece that I still remember seeing this day? The Wonderboy bat and Robert Redford’s New York Knights jersey. I even debated buying a Knights jersey in Cooperstown before I left, before settling on a Brooklyn Dodgers one. The Roy Hobbs character was just so fun from striking out The Whammer to appearing as a 35 year-old rookie for the Knights completely knocking the cover off the ball. The climax is still one of the most memorable for not just a baseball film, but any movie. Imagine if a player like Hobbs came around today in the world of around the clock sports news and social media, it’d be Tebow and Lebron wrapped into one. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, sadly none of them for Redford’s role as Roy Hobbs.

3) “The Sandlot”-1993
From this list you can pretty much guess my baseball movie peak was from 1992-1994 (there’s even another one on the list coming). “The Sandlot” was what I was when I was nine, a kid who went out every day and wanted to play some baseball. I was very much like Smalls, not the best player, but a kid that grew to love the game. The only difference is I actually knew who The Great Bambino was. The characters were all fun from Benny, to Ham, to Squints (and Wendy Peffercorn), to Yeah-Yeah. The story with the beast was great and was the quintessential baseball family movie.

2) “Major League” AND “Major League 2”-1989 and 1994
Please don’t throw things at me for what I’m about to say. I like “Major League 2” more than the original. “Major League” is a great movie in its own right, but the young teenage silliness in me enjoyed the more ridiculous “Major League 2”. The movie shows the lovable loser Cleveland Indians as they turn from a ragtag group of nobodies into a bonafide contenders. Find another baseball movie that has fans of the team actually wearing the jerseys from the movie rather that the teams own players. You know you own a Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn #99 jersey Indians fans, don’t try to deny it. But why do I prefer #2? Except for the slight downgrade from Wesley Snipes to Omar Epps as Willie “Mays” Hayes, the entire cast is back, plus the hilarious editions of Rube Baker and Isuro Tanaka, just make the rare preference for the sequel. I still ask people if they “have no marbles”, but I don’t quote anything from the original.

1) “Field of Dreams”-1989
1989 was a great year for baseball cinema, with arguably the best baseball drama and comedy being released in the same year. “Field of Dreams” is based on the book “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella. Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice telling him “if you build it, he will come” Kinsella turns his crops into a homegrown baseball field in the middle of nowhere, while the ghosts of baseball greats like Shoeless Joe Jackson appear to play the game they loved while they were alive. The fantasy story continues as Kinsella travels to find Terence Mann (the always entertaining James Earl Jones) and “Moonlight” Graham. The ending where people will always come for the game of baseball, helps show why it is America’s pasttime. It’s one of the few movies that any time it is on TV, the channel doesn’t get changed.

Honorable Mention:
61*, The Bad News Bears, Eight Men Out, Cobb, The Rookie, Catching Hell, Bang the Drum Slowly, For Love of the Game, Angels in the Outfield and Little Big League

There you have it. My personal Best Baseball Picture Oscar nominations. This no doubt is always one of the most controversial baseball topics. What’s on your list? Feel free to pick apart mine, there should be no one that completely agrees with me.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)