I Watched The Fan (1996, dir. by Tony Scott)


Yesterday, I told my sister that I wanted to watch a good baseball movie.

“How about The Fan?” she said, “It’s on Starz.”

“Is The Fan really a baseball movie?” I asked.

“It’s got people with baseball bats in it.” she said.

The Fan does have people with baseball bats.  Wesley Snipes is a baseball player who is getting paid a lot of money to swing a bat for the Giants but he’s in a slump because Benicio del Toro won’t let him wear his old number.  Robert de Niro is a Giants fan who uses a baseball bat to beat to death his best friend after de Niro kidnaps Snipes’s son and demands that Snipes play better.  Snipes has to win a game, even though it’s raining and he has terrible stats against the opposing pitcher.  De Niro sneaks on the field as an umpire and makes bad calls on purpose, which proves everything that I’ve ever said about umpires.

The Fan wasn’t bad.  I liked the baseball scenes and I also liked the scenes where de Niro would just start overreacting to anyone saying anything bad about the Giants because everyone knows a fan like that.  (Where I live, most of them are Cowboys fans.)  Whenever de Niro started to go crazy, Nine Inch Nails would play on the soundtrack, which was funny but also too obvious.  There was a lot about the movie that didn’t make any sense.  At the end of the movie, it’s raining so hard that there’s no way the game would have been allowed to continue but I guess once you accept that de Niro could sneak on the field dressed like an umpire, you have to accept that a baseball game would continue in the middle of a flash flood.  But we all know fans like the one played by de Niro.  At the start of the movie, I actually felt bad for him because it was so obvious that baseball was the only thing he had.  He still had all of his pictures from Little League and he wanted his son to be as big a baseball fan as he was because that was the only way that he knows how to relate to other people.  But then he started killing people and giving baseball fans everywhere a bad name.

Josh Hamilton once said that Dallas wasn’t a “real baseball town,” which hurt the feelings of fans like me who had supported him, through all of his struggles, when he was a member of the Rangers.  Whenever Hamilton would return to Arlington to play against the Rangers, everyone in the stands would chant, “Baseball town,” whenever he stepped up to the plate.  I still think it was rude for Hamilton to say what he said but he was right that Dallas doesn’t produce the type of baseball fans who will disguise themselves as umpires and take the field with a knife hidden in their cleats.  Rangers fans aren’t “the crazy fans,” like the ones who Snipes says he can’t stand in The Fan.  I hope that never changes but I also hope the Rangers get it together this upcoming season.  Support the team without kidnapping or killing anyone, that’s the duty of every true fan.  GO RANGERS!

The Atlanta Braves Win the 2021 World Series!


Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves, on winning their fourth World Series championship!

Of course, I was hoping the Astros would win. It’s not that I’m really a supporter of either the Astros or the Braves. I’m a long-suffering Rangers fan. But I was hoping the Astros would pull out a victory in Game 6 because I didn’t want the season to end!

It didn’t happen, though. The Braves won and they won decisively. Congratulations on the victory, Atlanta! You earned it and you deserved it!

As for next season, here’s hoping my Rangers can finally get it together. I’m a baseball fan. I never give up on my team.

by V.E. Pyles

Congratulations to the Astros and the Braves!


Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros for finally giving the world what it truly needs this year, an all-Southern World Series!  It’s the Southeast vs. the Deep South as Houston tries to beat Atlanta and win their second World Series title.  Meanwhile, for the Braves, this is their 1st World Series appearance since 1999.

I have to cheer for the Astros because they’re from my homestate but I won’t blame anyone who is cheering for Atlanta!  I think either team could win.  With Game 5 scheduled for October 31st, the Series might even be decided on Halloween!

The Great Pumpkin has been good to us this year!

Congratulations to both teams and good luck next week!

And who knows?  Maybe next year, my Rangers will finally get it together.  Things have to turn around sometime, right?

One Hit From Home (2012, dir. by Johnny Meier and David Aaron Stone)


The MLB regular season has come to an end and right now, I’m so thankful for the Orioles.

Why?  Because I’m a Rangers fan and the Orioles 52-110 record is the only thing keeping my Rangers from havin the worst record in the American League.  This season, the Rangers went 60-102.  In all of major league baseball, only the Orioles and the Diamondbacks managed to do worse.  The Rangers will not be going to the World Series this season.  We won’t be anywhere close.  The Astros might make it.  They’re playing White Sox later today.

I’m a true baseball fan, though.  True baseball fans have faith.  It’s been a long since the Rangers had a winning season and many of my favorite players have been traded to other teams.  (I’m still crying about Elvis playing for the Athetlics.  ELVIS!)  We’ve been struggling for a while but next season, we’ll turn things around.  I have faith.

Faith is also the main theme of One Hit From Home, a baseball movie that I watched last night.  One Hit From Home is about Jimmy Easton (David Aaron Stone), a baseball player who was the best curve ball hitter in the league until career was cut short by a knee injury.  When Jimmy gets into a bar fight, he’s given two options.  He can either go to jail or he can coach a college baseball team.  Deciding to coach, Jimmy returns to his hometown, hooks up with his ex-girlfriend, mentors a troubled a player, deals with his part, and does a lot of praying.

One Hit From Home was really predictable and, because it was a Pureflix film, more into religion than baseball.  I don’t mind religious films but it bothered me that One Hit From Home didn’t even seem to care much about the game.  There was no strategy or talk about teamwork or anything else that makes baseball special.  Jimmy never told anyone to bunt or to hit a sacrifice fly to bring another player home.  After a rough start, the team goes on a winning streak but the movie never shows how Jimmy adjusted his coaching style or what he taught the players.  Instead, Jimmy helps his star player get along better with his father and, after one of the movie’s many tragic car accidents, Jimmy goes to church.  I watched One Hit From Home because I wanted to see a baseball movie and I felt cheated.

The worst part of the movie was when Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend stopped by to welcome him back to town and she got offended when she discovered that Jimmy had spent the night with another woman, despite the fact that she was the one who dropped by the house unannounced and it had been years since she and Jimmy had even seen each other.  That made her seem very judgmental and hypocritical but the movie acted like Jimmy was the one who should apologize.

One Hit From Home wasn’t what I was looking for but it won’t make me give up on baseball movies.  I have faith in them, just like I have fath in my Rangers.

I Watched The Field Of Dreams Game


When I first heard that the Yankees and the White Sox were going to be playing a game in a stadium built next to the field that was used in Field of Dreams, my first thought was that it sounded really corny.

“Is Kevin Costner going to come walking out of the corn field?” I thought.

That’s exactly what happened.  At the start of tonight’s game, Kevin Costner emerged from the cornfield surrounding the stadium and walked out to the mound.  He was followed by the members of the Yankees and the White Sox.  They all emerged from the cornfields and took their positions, just like in the movie.

And it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.  I may have thought it was going to be corny and maybe it was but when it actually happened, it was impossible not to get swept up in it.  As I watched the players emerge like wandering spirits who had finally found their home and as I listened to the crowd cheer, I thought to myself, “This is what baseball is all about!”

I may have started off with some doubts and neither the White Sox nor the Yankees are my team (I’m an AL West girl) but the Field of Dreams Game was still one of the best games that I’ve ever seen.  From the minute the first home run disappeared over the fence and into the cornfield, the Field of Dreams Game captured my imagination and it didn’t let go for the next three and a half hours.  This game reminded me of why I fell in love with baseball in the first place.  There were no big bands or fancy scoreboard or anything else that we associate with modern sports.  Instead, there were just two teams, playing in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd.  It was perfect Americana, a present to all of us baseball fans on Baseball Fan Day.  After watching this game, I now think every stadium should be redesigned to look like it’s sitting in cornfield.  It’s just how baseball was meant to be played!

(Of course, you may have to be a baseball fan to really get it.  My sister was in the room when one home run was hit and she interrupted my cheering by making a joke about the Children of the Corn.)

It was a good game too.  The White Sox won by one run in the ninth inning.  I was cheering for the Yankees but the White Sox played a good game and I can’t complain about their victory.

This was a great game and exactly what I needed tonight!  I hope this is an annual event because I can’t wait for the next Field of Dreams Game!

Artwork of the Day: Rookie Routs Ruffing, Yanks (by Graig Kriendler)


by Graig Kriendler

Today is Baseball Fans Day!

I’m a baseball fan so today is my day.  I’m still a fan even though my Rangers are currently at the bottom of the ranks.  40-73.  I’m still a fan even though we’re not going to anywhere near the World Series this year.  I’ll continue to be fan and, every season, I will continue to say that this is going to be the year that we’re going to do it!  I love baseball, I love my team, and I love my fellow baseball fans.  Even those of you who cheer for the Angels!

Today’s artwork of the day is from 2008.  No one captures the excitement of baseball like Graig Kriendler!

Mr. Baseball (1992, dir. by Fred Schepisi)


I watched Mr. Baseball last night because I was feeling depressed over the Rangers 25-42 record and I thought that watching a movie about baseball (it’s right there in title!) might cheer me up.

Tom Selleck plays Jack Elliott, an aging first baseman player who was once the MVP of the New York Yankees but whose best days are behind him.  Everyone realizes it but him.  Looking to sign a hotshot rookie, the Yankees put Jack on the trading block.  However, the only team that’s interesting in signing an arrogant veteran with a bad knee is a Japanese team, the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons.

Though he’s not happy about the trade, Jack move to Japan and takes his place as a member of the Dragons.  In Japan, he’s nicknamed “Mr. Baseball” and is told by the team’s owner that he’s expected to hit 54 home runs during the season.  However, Jack manages to alienate the team with his boorish attitude and his lack of understanding of Japanese culture.  With the help of another American player (Dennis Haysbert) and his girlfriend (Aya Takanashi), Jack finally sets aside his resentment, becomes a part of the team, and leads the Dragons into a pennant race.  He also learns how to improve his swing.

When Jack first arrived in Japan, I was worried that Mr. Baseball was going to be a culturally insensitive comedy, all about Jack teaching the Japanese players how to play baseball like the Americans.  I was dreading the thought of watching a movie full of stereotypes and cheap jokes about the way people talk.  Instead, Mr. Baseball actually treated Japanese baseball with respect and the emphasis was on Jack learning the importance of setting aside his ego, playing as a member of the team, and listening to the team’s manager, Uchimaya (Ken Takakurya).  Even though most of the film’s humor does come from the culture clash between the American Jack and his Japanese teammates, Mr. Baseball doesn’t really take any cheap shots at anyone and I appreciated that.  Instead, the theme of the film was that, cultural differences aside, everyone on the team loved the game of baseball.

Other than the fact that it was taking place in Japan, Mr. Baseball was a typical baseball film.  The plot did not hold many surprises.  Jack starts off as a star player, goes into a slump once he lets his ego get the better of him, and manages to come out of it just in time for the pennant race.  It’s predictable but Tom Selleck and Dennis Haysbert were convincing baseball players and I liked the film’s look at the culture surrounding baseball in Japan.  Mr. Baseball is hardly the greatest baseball movie ever made but it did cheer up this Rangers fan.

Scenes That I Love: The Worst Play In Baseball History


Not all scene that we love come from the movies. Some of them come from real life!

Behold, from a Cubs/Pirates game, the worst play in the history of baseball!

It’s the top of the third. There’s a runner on second base. There are already two outs. All the Pirates have to do is get one more out and the inning ends. So, what happens? When Javy Baez gets a hit, the shortstop scoops up the ball and throws it to first baseman Will Craig. Instead of simply going back a few steps and stepping on first, Craig runs after Baez, trying to tag him with the ball. This gives the baserunner time to run from second base all the way to home., which he crosses safely because Craig is so busy chases Baez that he doesn’t throw the ball to the catcher in time. The catcher then makes a bad throw of his own that gives Baez time to then make it to the first base and then all the way around to second. (At first, it looked like he might even have been able make it to third.) That’s a run and a double on what should have been an easy out! At the end of the clip, you can see that not even Baez can believe that he’s actually safe on second.

It’s all so amazing that it is easy to overlook that Will Craig is not the only person who made a mistake. If second baseman Adam Frazier had gone over to cover first while Craig inexplicable took off after Baez, he would have been in a position to make the play when the catch threw the ball back to first.

It’s wild moments like this that make me love baseball!

The Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976, dir. by John Badham)


Up until 1947, Major League Baseball was segregated. Though there was no written rule barring blacks from playing on major league teams, there was an agreement among the team owners that no blacks would be signed to a major or minor league contract. Instead, starting in the 1920s, black players could only play for the teams in the Negro League. It was in the Negro Leagues that future greats like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays got their start. Josh Gibson, who spent his entire career playing in the Negro Leagues, is believed to have hit more home runs in a season than Babe Ruth ever did. For that reason, many baseball fans believe that any MLB records set before 1947 should come with an asterisk included. How can you determine who was the best when many of the best players in the game were never allowed to compete against each other?

The Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings is a comedy that pays tribute to those players. Billy Dee Williams plays Bingo Longo, a charismatic pitcher who plays in the Negro Leagues but who, frustrated with the money that he’s earning and the owner’s callous attitude towards the players, breaks away and forms his own independent, barnstorming baseball team, the All-Stars Among the players that he recruits are catcher and power hitter Leon Carter (James Earl Jones) and Charlie Snow (Richard Pryor), who is constantly changing his name and lying about his background in an attempt to get signed to the major leagues. Bingo also steals a player named Esquire Joe (Stan Shaw) away from one of the teams that the All-Stars defeat.

Going across the country and playing other teams, the Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars make a name for themselves as both players and showmen. Though Leon just wants to concentrate on playing the game, Bingo understands that importance of putting on a show for the people in the stands. They start out playing other independent black teams but soon, they’re even playing against amateur white teams. The games against the white teams are tense, as the All-Stars ever know how the people in the stands are going to react when the All-Stars win. The All-Stars usually do win, though. They’re the best and they’re not going to let the people watching forget it.

The Bing Longo Traveling All-Stars is a good film, especially if you’re interested in the history of baseball. It’s an episodic comedy with the emphasis on the various situations that the members of the All-Stars find themselves in as they travel from town to town but there’s also a serious subtext. The All-Stars are proving to a League that refuses to let them play that they are the best. At the same time, no matter how many games they win, the All-Stars still have to deal with living a society that treats them like second-class citizens. Even though they win on the field, they still have a hard time finding a hotel to stay at. It’s a movie that will make you laugh but it also makes you think. Billy Dee Williams is perfect in the role of Bingo Longo and James Earl Jones is the type of player that anyone would want on their team. The Bingo Longo Traveling All-Star & Motor Kings is a good film for both baseball fans and people who have never even heard of the designated hitter rule.

The Babe (1992, dir. by Arthur Hiller)


John Goodman. He’s a good actor but not a very convincing baseball player.

Last night, I watched The Babe, which starred John Goodman as Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth was one of the greatest baseball players of all time, the first of the great sluggers, and the holder of the career home run record from 1935 to 1974. He was the type of player that I wish The Rangers had right now because we’ve got a 22-27 records right now and the only bright spot is that we’re doing better than the Angels.

The Babe starts in 1902, with George Herman Ruth getting dropped off at reform school and learning how play baseball from Brother Matthias (James Cromwell) and then follows Ruth through his career, his first failed marriage, his attempts to become a manager, and his eventual retirement from the game. At first, everyone makes fun of the Babe because he’s not very sophisticated and all he wants to do is hit the ball. Then he shuts them all up by knocking ball after ball out of the park. Babe Ruth was a big man, like John Goodman. But he was also a great athlete. Goodman looked like he was in pain every time he had to swing the bat. Maybe that explains why Goodman plays the Babe as if he never actually enjoyed one minute of playing baseball.

The Babe is like a highlight reel of famous anecdotes. Babe Ruth hits his first home run in the Big Leagues. Babe Ruth promises a sick child that he’ll hit two home runs. Babe Ruth calls his shot. Babe Ruth hits three homers during his final game. In real life, Babe Ruth retired after he injured his knee. In the movie, he retires after he hears an owner talking about how having Babe on the team is only good for selling tickets to the rubes. All the famous Babe Ruth stories are here, along with all of the drinking and the womanizing. The movie never digs too deep into what made Babe tick or what it was like to be the most famous and popular athlete in America. It never even really explores how Babe Ruth changed the sport of baseball. Watching The Babe, you would never know that home runs weren’t even considered to be an important part of the game until Ruth established himself as someone who could hit one ball after another out of the park. The best baseball movies make you feel like you’re either out on the field with the player or you’re in the stands with the fans and they make you want to stand-up and cheer with every hit and every run across home plate. The Babe never does that. There’s no love of the game in The Babe.