Joe Finn (Burgess Jenkins) used to the best Little League coach in the state. That was until he decided to leave his family to seek fame and fortune in the Big Leagues. After his wife dies of cancer, Joe returns home to discover that his teenage son, David (Justin Miles), wants nothing to do with him. Determined to stick around and repair his relationship with David, Joe tries to return to coaching Little League but he discovers that things have changed since he left. Runners aren’t allowed to take a lead off base. Pitchers can only pitch for one inning at a time. Practice can only last an hour a day.
That’s not real baseball!
Joe decides to start his own league, one where pitchers can pitch multiple innings, bases can be stolen, there’s no such thing as a tied game, and everyone practices daily for three hours. To be a part of the league, the players not only have to get their fathers to agree to come to every game but also to practice with them at home. It’s not going to be easy. One player’s father is always busy with his job as the warden of the local prison. Another player’s father is an inmate in that same prison. But Joe is determined to teach his players and their fathers about both baseball and life.
Hero‘s a sweet movie and it made a good point about the importance of not only allowing kids to truly compete but also about teaching them the importance of both winning and losing with dignity and sportmanship. It shows why baseball is important but why it’s also just as important to play a real game instead of a toned down version. Burgess Jenkins, who used to play Billy Abbott on The Young and The Restless, is convincing as a coach and Justin Miles does a good job as his son. My only problem with the film is that it spent so much time emphasizing that the fathers needed to come to their son’s games that I felt like it shortchanged all of the moms who have been there for their children whenever a father couldn’t or wouldn’t be. Anyone who has ever been to a real little league game (or just a soccer match) knows that a mom can get just as into the game as a father.
People who complain about “participation trophies” will probably respond best to this film’s message but there’s also enough action of the field that people who just like baseball movies might enjoy it as well.