I Watched Pitching Love And Catching Faith (2015, dir. by Randy, Randolph, and Rebecca Sternberg)

I watched Pitching Love and Catching Faith on Tubi because I will always take a chance on a baseball movie.

Heather (Lala Kent) and Tyler (Derek Boone) are both students at the same college.  Heather is a softball pitcher.  Tyler plays baseball and has a chance to play in the majors.  They meet and date but it turns out that they have different approaches to life.  Tyler thinks that a purity ring is romantic gift and he’s never even kissed a girl because he made a pledge to wait until he met “the one.”  Heather has kissed a lot of people because Heather is a normal human being.

One big problem with this movie is that Tyler’s not just weird but also awfully judgmental of anyone who doesn’t agree with him.  There are a lot of people who, for various and understandable reasons, hold off on having sex until they’re married or at least in a committed relationship but Tyler takes it one step further by declaring that he won’t even kiss anyone until he’s sure that he’s in love.  And it’s not just that Tyler won’t kiss anyone.  It’s also that he’ll judge anyone else who kisses someone without marrying them first.  It’s not just kissing, though.  Tyler even judges Heather for flirting with him and then he gives her a purity ring without even finding out if that’s something that she believes in.  I never miss Sunday Mass and even I thought Tyler was being overbearing.  Tyler’s not that much of a catch but every woman in the movie is swooning over him.  I wanted someone to tell Heather that she could do better.

The other big problem is that there wasn’t enough baseball.  There wasn’t even enough softball.  Heather got to pitch once.  Tyler swung the bat once.  But if your movie has the words “pitching” and “catching” in the title, it better have more baseball than this movie!

Final verdict on this movie: Go Rangers!  The whole time I was watching the movie, I was thinking about how much I’d rather see the Rangers have a winning season for once.

I Watched Angels In The Outfield (1951, dir. by Clarence Brown)

Major League Baseball could use some angels right about now.

When this year started, I was so excited for the start of Spring Training at the end of this month.  Finally, I thought, football will be over, baseball will be starting, and maybe my Rangers will finally have another winning season!  Instead, for the last 80 days, we’ve had a lockout while the owners and the players negotiate the terms under which the season can begin.  The start of Spring Training has been delayed.  Opening Day could be delayed.  All I want to do is to enjoy some baseball but who knows when that’s going to happen.

At least I can still watch baseball movies.  The original Angels in the Outfield is about the general manger of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Guffy McGovern (Paul Douglas).  The Pirates are having a terrible season.  They’re last in the league.  Guffy starts fights with the umpires and shocks the media with his unprintable language but he just can’t put together a winning season.  Things are so bad that an orphan named Bridget (Donna Corcoran) stops praying for a new family and instead prays for the Pirates  Then, one night, Guffy hears the voice of an angel who tells him that if he stops cursing and stops fighting, the Pirates will get some heavenly help.

Guffy cuts back on his cursing and learns to control his temper and the Pirates start winning.  Is it because of the angels or is it because Guffy has become a better manager?  He falls in love with reporter Jennifer Paige (Janet Leigh) and they make plans to adopt Bridget but then the voice tells Guffy that, when it comes to the Pennant, he’s going to have to win that one on his own.  Can Guffy lead his team to victory without the help of the angels?

For many baseball fans, Angels in the Outfield is all about wish fulfilment.   That’s especially true if you’re a fan of a team that lost two World Series in a row and who hasn’t had a winning season in a while.  There’s been a lot of times when I’ve watched the Rangers and wished for some heavenly intervention!  Maybe if our coaches would stop cursing or yelling, the Rangers would actually finish somewhere other than in last place.  It’s worth a shot, guys!

Angels in the Outfield is a sweet movie.  I especially liked the scenes where Guffy used Shakespearean language to argue with the umpires so that he could avoid having to curse at them.  Angels in the Outfield captures the excitement of watching your team win.  I actually got jealous of the fans in the movie because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone get that excited over baseball.  When Angels in the Outfield calls baseball “America’s pastime,” you believe it.  I also liked that the angels themselves were never seen.  Instead, all that is seen are the fantastic catches and the home runs that come about as a result of their help.

I’d love some angels to come down right now and talk to the players and the owners for all of us.  Get it worked out, people.  Don’t take away our opening day!

I Watched Boys’ Ranch (1946, dir. by Roy Rowland)

I watched Boys’ Ranch because it was described as being a baseball movie. And it is for the first few minutes.

Dan Walker (James Craig) is a baseball player who learns that he’s going to be benched for the rest of the season. He used to be great but his time has passed and there are younger players who deserve a shot so, with no hard feelings, Dan announces his retirement. His two biggest fans — teenage delinquents Knuckles (Skip Homeier) and Hank (Darryl Hickman) — give him a knife so that he will always remember them when he returns to his ranch in Texas. Just before Dan is going to leave, he learns that the knife was stolen! Knuckles and Hank have been arrested and they’re going to end up in juvenile hall! Dan wins their freedom by offering to take them to Texas with him.

That’s where the baseball stuff ends. The rest of the movie is about Dan and his wife, Susan (Dorothy Patrick), running a ranch where they reform juvenile delinquents by teaching them how to take care of horses and how to be responsible. At first, the locals aren’t happy about having a bunch of bad city kid in town but Dan wins them over. His toughest challenge though is trying to reform Butch (Jackie “Butch” Jenkins), who is tough and a bad influence on the other boys.

Obviously, I was disappointed when Boys’ Ranch turned out to have very little baseball action. That’s the whole reason I was watching the movie! It could have used some more baseball action because the ranch action wasn’t that interesting. When the movie was made, I bet the idea of sending out of control teens to a ranch was a new one but today, it’s not that unique and everyone’s heard all the horror stories about what really goes on at those ranches. Of course, the bad boys in Boys’ Ranch didn’t really seem that bad either. They all just needed someone to tell them to drop the attitude and clean the stalls. Those boys may have had problems but at least they never tried to throw the World Series!

I miss baseball.

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.