Tag:Robert Redford
Posted on: December 28, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:46 am
 

An All-Star team from baseball movies



By C. Trent Rosecrans

You may have noticed, but it's been slow 'round these parts. Much of the baseball world is either sleeping or so extended rom Christmas spending that there's not a whole lot to do other than wait for spring training to start.

While many people like to watch Christmas movies this time of year, I'm a Grinch and prefer to spend the cold winter months watching baseball movies -- anything to avoid the scourge that is basketball. Every so often, I start thinking about what would be the best team of players from baseball movies. And since there's not much going on in real baseball, this time I'm going to actually write it down.

But there has to be ground rules:

1. Fictional characters only. No Babe Ruth, no Jackie Robinson, no Ty Cobb -- we know they were great, or there wouldn't be a movie about them.

2. Good guys only. Because, really, we want to root for our team, so no Clu Heywood, even though he leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. But really, we spend more time with the heroes, so they're the ones on this team.

3. There were no sequels to Major League. Just like there was no Rocky V, Major League never had a sequel -- much less two. I refuse to believe it. A silly, arbitrary rule? Yep. But hey, it's my list. (I should note, Matt Snyder loves Major League II and believes it to be superior to the original. I say CBS obviously doesn't do enough drug testing and also point to the fact that he prefers Van Hagar to Van Halen, so that pretty much kills his credibility.)

4. Two entries per movie. This is just to make the list a little tougher, because otherwise you could just say, "everyone from The Sandlot" or the Cleveland Indians from Major League. I limited it to two because doing just one makes it too difficult.

5. Position changes are OK, but have to make sense. I mean, sure, someone can move from center to left, but I'm not exactly about to put a catcher at second base just to fill a spot. It has to be realistic. Also, for players who don't have a set position, they can be placed somewhere and it still has to make sense. This is a necessity because most of the baseball movies center around the pitchers and catchers.

6. Live-action players only. No cartoon characters, or superpowers. So that means no Snoopy or Bugs Bunny, but also no kid who can throw 100 miles per hour.  

So, with that in mind, here's the CBSSports.com All-Movie squad:

C Crash Davis -- Catcher may have been the toughest position to pick, or at least the one with the most competition. The catcher seems to always be not just the sage of any movie baseball team, but they always seem to come through in the clutch and have the best lines. Catchers seem to make the best managers and the best movie characters.

1B Jack Elliott -- He's no 1992 Frank Thomas -- and if Mr. Baseball had been about the rookie, he'd be on here -- but Tom Selleck's former MVP still had enough left in the tank to lead the Chunichi Dragons to the playoffs.

2B Brad Johnson -- A first-round pick by Kansas City out of Stanford, Johnson didn't stay too long in Class A Quad Cities, but instead was on a fast track to the big leagues. Not too many people saw Sugar when it came out in 2008, but it's definitely worth a rental. Johnson is just a side character in the story of a Dominican pitcher's struggles in the United States. It's one of the best and most realistic baseball movies ever made.

3B Doris Murphy -- If it weren't for the limit on characters from one movie, this would be an easy pick for Major League's Roger Dorn, but Dorn isn't as essential as either of our other two picks from that movie, so Rosie O'Donnell's character from A League of Their Own is the default choice. As rare as third baseman are in the Hall of Fame, they're even more rare on screen.

SS Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez -- Rodriguez, the best player on The Sandlot, made it to the big leagues with the Dodgers. The movie shows Rodriguez, late in his career, as a pinch-runner, but doesn't mention what position he played. The guess is either shortstop or center field -- Benny had the ability for either, so we'll put him at shortstop. (As a side note, the worst part in this game is that the main character in that movie apparently grows up and displaces Vin Scully in the Dodgers' radio booth, which is just a shame.)

LF Bobby Rayburn -- OK, the movie stinks and Wesley Snipes' Barry Bonds-like character is far from likable, but there are enough character guys on this squad that it'll work. A three-time former MVP, Rayburn had played center, but we'll move him to left, just like another guy who won several MVPs and then went to San Francisco.

CF Willie "Mays" Hayes -- Surprisingly it's Wesley Snipes, not Kevin Costner, who gets two characters on the list. While Rayburn was in on a technicality, Hayes earns it with his play on the field and his desire -- not to mention his snappy dress. Talk about an amazing story, the guy wasn't even invited to camp and ends up on the team and scores the winning run from second base to send the Indians to the playoffs. 

RF Roy Hobbs -- Yeah, he may be a little old, but he still knocks the cover off the ball -- literally. He does hang around some shady women, though.

SP Bingo Long -- In an upset over so many other popular characters (Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, Montgomery Brewster, Amanda Wurlitzer, Billy Chapel, Henry "Author" Wiggen and Eddie Harris), my starter is the titular character from The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, none other than Billy Dee Williams. The character is based on Satchel Paige and is played by the guy who played Lando Calrissian. That's a combo that's just too tough to beat.

CL Rick Vaughn -- Sure, it's cliched, but Charlie Sheen's performance is one of the best in movie history. It also popularized the intro music for closers. As good as Mariano Rivera's Enter Sandman entrance is, it's no Wild Thing.

Player/Manager Cecil "Stud" Cantrell -- The player/manager for the Tampico Stogies in Long Gone, Cantrell not only brings a young Virginia Madsen to the ballpark every day, he can pitch and slug. He wasn't quite Stan Musial in his younger days, but he did hit them harder than "The Man" -- or so he claims.

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 11:37 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Pepper: Japanese players coping

Daisuke Matsuzaka

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sometimes the nature of our 24/7 news cycle makes us forget -- or at least move on from -- even the biggest of news stories get lost in the next big story.

Even though Japan is still dealing with the destruction of the earthquake and tsunami -- and will be for years -- we're not hearing as much about Japan right now. It's only natural. But that doesn't mean that everything's OK there.

Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa went to Japan last weekend and was deeply moved by what he saw.

"It was pretty disastrous," Igawa told the New York Daily News through an interpreter. "The roads were a mess, and when I was home, the water wasn't running. It was pretty hard for me."

Igawa's parents and family are OK, but keep in mind his hometown of Oarai well south of the epicenter and 100 miles from the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima. He said his house didn't suffer flooding, but did suffer damage from the earthquake.

The Yankees allowed him to return home, where he spent five days and returned earlier this week.

"Compared to the rest of the country -- especially up north, where it was much worse, I feel really fortunate," Igawa said. "I wanted to stay home a little longer, because my family and friends are going through  hard time. But I also had to resume baseball, because that's my job."

Igawa will start the season in Triple-A. He's in the final year of his five-year, $20 million contract.

Many other Japanese players are trying to come to terms with what's going on at home, as well.

"Fortunately, I am a survivor, but it hurts, of course," the Angels Hisanori Takahashi told the Los Angeles Times through an interpreter. "It has definitely been difficult to focus on baseball.

"Seeing all the [TV] footage, you get a little numb, but it's a real thing. I have to keep my eye on the tragedy, but I also have to play baseball here."

Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka said he's still too emotional about the situation to discuss it publicly, but he showed how he felt by giving $1 million to the Red Sox Foundation, which is giving all that money to the Japanese Red Cross Society to help fund relief efforts. The Red Sox said Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa and Itsuki Shoda have also made personal donations through the Red Sox Foundation.

Matsuzaka joins fellow stars Ichiro Suzuki (100 million yen, roughly $1.2 million) and Hideki Matsui (50 million yen, roughly $620,000) in making large donations to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan.

BATISTA FINED -- Reliever Miguel Batista was the only Cardinal fined for last week's scuffle between the Cardinals and the Nationals. Batista hit Washington's Ian Desmond to start the fracas. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

BUCK FALLOUT -- We've already had Buck Showalter backpedaling about his comments to Men's Health about his comments on Derek Jeter and the Red Sox. Derek Jeter, not surprisingly, wouldn't comment on Showalter's comment. However, a look at the stats say Showalter's wrong -- Jeter actually doesn't get the calls on the inside corder. [ESPN]

TULO'S FINAL FOUR -- Finally, a Final Four that matters. You can now vote for one of four songs Troy Tulowitzki will use for his at-bat music. Well, to me they're all crap, but I'm not the target audience. Tulowitzki had "Party in the USA" last year, so the selections this year are just as bad -- "Firework" by Katy Perry, "Baby" by Justin Bieber, "We R Who We R" by Ke$ha and "Yeah 3X" by Chris Brown. Vote here. [Denver Post]

THE LEGEND BEGINS -- I'm reading Jane Leavy's The Last Boy  about Mickey Mantle right now, so I knew about the legend of Mickey Mantle's home run at USC in 1961. Well, the Los Angeles Times remembers it too. A really cool story on the birth of the legend of the Mick.

MILLWOOD GOOD? -- Is Kevin Millwood really that bad? Looking at some of the recent pitchers to have 16 losses and an 82 ERA+ like Millwood did last season shows some pretty decent pitchers have done that before. [Baseball-Reference.com blog]

HE'S NOT FAT, HE'S BLOATED -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal explains he was bloated from medication, not fat when spring training started. Furcal ate contaminated meat in his native Dominican Republic in January and the drugs he took made him bloated. He looked big when he checked in, but he was just 193 pounds, about the same he usually checked in at. He's now at 188, just about where he likes to play. [Los Angeles Times]

D-BACKS BULLPEN ISN'T BORING -- Diamondbacks bullpen catcher Jeff Motuzas has discovered bored, rich relievers will pay people to amuse them. So, Motuzas takes on dares to pick up extra bucks. Among the things he's done -- snorted wasabi, eater regurgitated yogurt, left hot balm on his shaved armpits for an entire game and gotten shot in the earlobe with a BB gun. Livan Hernandez once paid him $3,000 to drink a gallon of milk in 12 minutes. The two also had a deal that Hernandez could punch him in the junk for $50 a pop -- with a $300 bonus after every 10th punch. [Wall Street Journal]

BUT IS HE WRONG? -- An anonymous "MLB star" had several things to say to  ESPN the Magazine about the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, including "why isn't Cabrera paying a guy $100 a night to drive him around? Plenty of guys do that. That he didn't is a slap in his teammates' faces." [MLive.com]

ROCK THE KAZMIR -- Mike Scioscia didn't sound too optimistic about Scott Kazmir when he announced the lefty had made the team's rotation. If Kazmir struggles continue into the regular season, Matt Palmer may be an option. [Los Angeles Times]

TOGETHER WE'RE GIANT -- Our buddy Will Brinson loves the Giants commercials. I found them amusing, but still not as good as the Mariners commercials. I like the Cardinals ones better, too.

RIGGLEMAN DOESN'T CARE ABOUT YOUR STATS -- You've seen some good commercials, now listen to a bad one. The Washington Nationals, MASN and Jim Riggleman are attacking stats in their newest campaign. Apparently a bunt or a "well-placed single" are "smart" -- and the walk is recognized as a good thing. But yeah, a pretty silly campaign.

THE NATURAL ON THE HILL -- Robert Redford will throw out the first pitch at the Cubs' opener on April 1 against the Pirates. [Chicago Tribune]

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com