Whew! I just finished watching an absolute gem of a game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. It was actually a really well-played game, going into extras before the Braves won it. The final score was 2-1…my kind of game. Jacob de Grom was electric. His stat line was 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 13 K, BB. If he played for any other team, he wins that game going away but the Mets offered no run support. This Braves team really showed a lot of grit. Their young players are interesting. The pride in which they play on both sides of the ball definitely pleased the fan in me. I hope to see them in the National League Championship Series a few weeks down the road. The exuberance of the “Baby Braves” reminded me of the best sports movie of all-time. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: The Sandlot.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across The Sandlot in the Summer of 1993. It premiered on HBO after its run in the theatres. As a baseball fan, I watched.
What it meant to me then? In the moment, it was one of the greatest films I ever saw. As a boy of 8 and a young fan of America’s pastime, I was intrigued by the film. A crew of boys who spent their summer days playing baseball on a local sandlot: what’s not to like about that? More than the hours of practice they put in every day was the adventure that Smalls took them on in trying to get the Babe Ruth ball back. It was one of the best exhibitions of friendship amongst a group that I’ve seen in television or film. The Sandlot had a great influence on the games we played back in my childhood neighborhood in the mid-90s.
What it means to me now? The film celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. I actually watched it a couple of weeks ago. The more I look at it, the more respect I have for Benny the Jet. When everything else failed, he took it upon himself to go get the ball. And not only did he do that, he outran The Beast through the whole city. He had fantastic endurance and he was a true leader. The Sandlot is my top sports film of all-time and it’s my #3 film all-time.