Grand Slams | Charger coaches and players choose favorite baseball films

Eli McDaniel | social media editor

The start of this year’s baseball and softball seasons has been exciting, and even if the Royals are underwhelming, the return of baseball is always welcome. In honor of the season, we asked softball and baseball coaches and players to rank their top-5 baseball and softball movies of all time.

Seniors Brayden Meseke and Madisyn Havestein, and current and recent coaches Joe Dee Tarbutton, Lance Fuller, Garret Eck, David Amer, Jess Rutledge and Jeron Weisshaar each voted on an extensive list of films, ranking them 1-5. There was a tie for #5, so here are the six favorites from the ballots.

6. “For the Love of the Game” (1999) 

Kevin Costner stars as player at the end of his major league career who has to overcome an injury. “This is one of my favorite baseball movies because in the end, even if doing a sport or anything, it has to be for the love of it, or else it won’t be any fun,” Weisshaar said.

5. “A League of Their Own” (1992)

Based on a true story about an All-American team in the women’s Professional Baseball League, the film stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna. “I always watched “A League of Their Own” growing up, and I got my old team’s name from it — “The Peaches”. It’s a good representation of where softball came from,” Havenstein said.

4. “The Benchwarmers” (2006) 

The newest film on the list follows a group of three nerds who, with a millionaire’s money and support, form a baseball team to compete against bullies. “I like it because I love the game and despise bullies! It’s just a feel-good movie,” Tarbutton said.

3. “Bad News Bears” (1976)

When a youth baseball team finds an alcoholic former minor league player to coach them, the coach finds out that they are a bunch of untalented misfits. Although the 2005 remake received some votes, the original film, starring Walter Matthau, still holds up. “I really enjoy the plot of the story and it has some comedy to it. The dysfunction between Coach Buttermaker and players is a treat to watch,” Fuller said.

2. “The Sandlot” (1993) 

One of the greatest childhood films ever follows a new kid who struggles to make friends, but quickly discovers a group where he fits in. Between the terrifying dog Hercules and the dreamy lifeguard Wendy Peppercorn, “The Sandlot” is an enduring classic. “I like this movie because, like most kids, they get into some trouble and must scheme a way to get out, thus creating that sense of belonging that “Smalls” has been looking for,” Rutledge said.

1. Major League (1989) 

When the new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they’ll lose and she can move the team to Florida, the  team starts winning just to spite her. It didn’t show up on every ballot, but the people who loved it all ranked it high. “It’s pretty funny and you wouldn’t expect them to be good at baseball,” Meseke said.

Other films that received votes: 42, Bull Durham, Bad News Bears (2005), Hardball, The Natural, Sugar, Trouble with the Curve, Field of Dreams, Moneyball and Rookie of the Year. Let us know your favorite in the latest Question of the Week.

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