73 Sports Movies In 73 Days: ‘The Sandlot’ (Special 20th Anniversary Edition)

Back in May, the news that the Great Hambino and Squints (real names: ummmmm…) from The Sandlot stopped by the broadcast booth during a rained out Minnesota Twins/Boston Red Sox game went mostly unnoticed, but it still eventually reminded us that this year marks the 20th anniversary of that beloved baseball movie. On Saturday, the majority of the cast returned to the Glendale, Utah baseball field at which The Sandlot was filmed for a special anniversary screening for the community. (Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez couldn’t make it because of his firefighter duties.)

The event was so special that director David Mickey Evans even proposed to his girlfriend, Stacey McGillis, at home plate in front of 1,500 strangers. Personally, I would have gone with pretending to drown at the local pool, but that’s because, much like Squints, I’m a massive pervert.

But because this past weekend marked such a special occasion for the cast, and because I’m still so pissed off from watching Caddyshack 2 yesterday, I figured that today is the perfect day to watch The Sandlot for the thousandth time – and this installment of 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days – and reflect on what it has meant to so many people for the past 20 years.

The Sandlot In 1993

I played baseball for the majority of my childhood. I wasn’t good by any means, but I still played and thoroughly enjoyed it, except for one season that I played for a complete slob of an abusive a-hole coach who berated young children while letting his son be our team’s star, even though he was easily three years older than us. It truly was a glorious time, growing up in South Florida, I’d later tell my therapist.

But when that movie came out, there wasn’t a kid on the field, regardless of age, who wasn’t quoting it to death. The Sandlot was a precursor to Anchorman in terms of films that would be shoehorned into an entire generation’s lexicon. Show me a person who doesn’t still shout, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” when a temp makes the wrong coffee and I’ll show you a person who never truly lived. And if you don’t think that a boy named Ashley heard the line, “You play baseball like a girl!” at least once a day, then I have some oceanfront property in Kansas with your name on it.

Much more importantly, though, The Sandlot was a film that reminded us what being kids was all about. Youthful indiscretion, wild imaginations, balls the size of Jupiter’s moons and a carefree attitude that told the unknown world on the other side of that fence to go f*ck itself.

The Sandlot In 2013

Nowadays, The Sandlot would be about a group of friends that stays inside and plays MLB 13: The Show because their allergies won’t allow them to touch leather or have contact with the sun, while Squints’ parents would be working extra jobs to pay for the attorneys from their son’s sexual assault case.

Life was easier in 1993 when we were reflecting about life in the 60s. And while I don’t ever like to be that guy who has no children yet still tells parents how to do their jobs, when I finally do accidentally have a child or six, I plan to show them all The Sandlot once a year while encouraging to make mistakes and just be kids. Everyone should do that.

Except for the part about bothering neighbors. Most people are completely psychotic now, so I’d probably tell my kids to stay away from any random old neighbors. Unless, of course, it’s actually James Earl Jones, because we’d be hanging out all the time so he could narrate everything I do. (“Today, Ashley went to the store to buy some bread and a Penthouse magazine… like his father and his father before him would have wanted.”)

(Image via Matt Shoemaker)

The True Testament Of A Classic Film

I’ve always said that calling a movie a classic is something we do a little too freely these days. Hell, I’ve called probably 75% of these sports movies classics and I know deep down inside that they’re flaming diaper fires. But a good way to determine if a movie is actually a classic or not is by finding out if it caused anyone to get a tattoo. Like this:

Haha, no, those aren’t my wrists. Mine have “Pain Heals” and “Chicks Dig Scars” on them.

Obligatory Wendy Peffercorn Mention

I mean, what am I really supposed to say about Wendy Peffercorn that hasn’t already been said or written a million times before?

And Marley Shelton has aged quite well.

Let’s Take A Quick Poll

How many people tried chewing tobacco for the first time because of this scene? *raises hand, remembers vomiting, gags*

The Scene That Still Pisses Me Off More Than Anything

I’ve never liked Smalls, to be honest with you. I’ve always just put up with him because he’s essential to the plot of an otherwise wonderful movie. But as someone who is trying to build a memorabilia collection just so I can one day break it apart and sell it to pay for college or buy a pig heart, I’d go nuclear if someone stole a Babe Ruth ball from me.

“Baseball Is Life”

Between this classic James Earl Jones scene and the “People Will Come” routine from Field of Dreams, I’d listen to Jones talk about the people who clean the urinals at Wrigley Field if he wanted to tell me about. I almost don’t even believe that someone wrote these lines for him, because he delivers them with such magnificence and joy for the game that I want to believe that they only came from him because he means them.

Anyway, I could go on and on about this movie for the rest of the day and probably keep yapping about it until you wake up and you’re like, “Dude, how did you get in my bedroom?” but I’m probably going to watch The Sandlot one more time and then go hit the batting cage.

Final Grade: I love this stupid, corny, goofball movie.