No American sport is more romanticized than baseball, which is why baseball makes such a fantastic subject for movies. The audience is already primed to accept the dramatic narrative. All the filmmakers have to do is not blow it.
Sadly, many filmmakers do blow it. For every classic baseball film out there—your Bull Durhams, your Naturals, your Sandlots, your Major Leagues, and yes, even your Fields of Dreams—there’s at least one that really, really sucks.
It’s these baseball movies, the ones that suck, that are the subject of today’s list. Take a look and find out how many truly awful baseball movies you’ve seen. Then make a mental note never to watch them again.
Oh, and this should go without saying but, from here on out, SPOILER ALERT.
The premise of The Scout is fine. A grizzled old scout (Albert Brooks) finds hot shot diamond in the rough pitcher who also hits home runs (Brendan Fraser) playing in some sandlot in Mexico, signs him to the Yankees, and then discovers he has a few (dozen?) screws loose.
Where does this film go wrong? With the ending, which was—SPOILER ALERT—total bullshit. After freaking out and going on the roof of Yankee Stadium before Game 1 of the World Series, Fraser's character, Steve Nebraska, eventually comes down and throws a perfect game.
But wait, it isn't just a perfect game. He strikes out all 27 batters on 81 consecutive strikes, one of which is so hard that is knocks the catcher back about five feet. (Physics? What's that?)
Oh, and Steve Nebraska also hits two home runs.
The crappy climax ruins what was, until that point, an okay movie. Brooks later said that he helped rewrite the ending because he knew it was lame, but the studio wanted the cheese and they got their way.
10. The Scout (1994)
If anybody deserves a good baseball movie, it's Babe Ruth, the Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, the greatest power hitter of all time. Unfortunately, this one sucks.
What's the problem? Three words: historically inaccurate, and boring.
Of course, I can forgive all the little inaccuracies, like the fact that Wrigley Field didn't have ivy on it's wall in Ruth's day, or the fact that Babe Ruth did not retire in the middle of a game like he does in the movie. You have to give filmmakers a little cinematic license.
The bigger problem is that they try to walk the line between a soft-focus myth-telling and gritty, unpolished realism. And it sucks. John Goodman's Babe Ruth comes off as a drunk, womanizing, thoroughly unlikable madman. Yet the movie is still boring.
9. The Babe (1992)
Don't let awesome names like Burly DeVito and Moose Granger fool you. This movie is no good. Released in 1985, it stars that guy from Caddyshack (Michael O'Keefe) and that chick from Risky Business (Rebecca De Mornay), the former as (fictional) Atlanta Braves slugger Darryl Palmer and the latter as (fictional) pop singer Debby Huston.
Palmer's career starts to take off when he starts dating Huston, and pretty soon he's on pace to break Roger Maris's single-season home run record. Then they break up, and Palmer falls into a terrible slump. Then they get back together, and Palmer breaks the record. Then they break up again at the end of the movie, but this time everybody is happy.
If you like dumb Lifetime movies, you'll probably like this one. If not, skip it.
8. The Slugger’s Wife (1985)
I would love to have been in the room when this one got pitched to studio executives.
"It's a baseball movie, but it's also a psychological thriller. The good guy is Willie Mays Hayes. The bad guy is basically a cross between the guy from Taxi Driver and the guy from "
This film starts off okay. Obsessed fan stalks rich prima donna athlete? Okay, I'm on board. Unfortunately, the longer it goes on, the more absurd it becomes. If Robert De Niro's character is out of work, how does he have the money to go to all those games and the wherewithal to pull off his crazy plot?
And yeah, his plot is crazy: save Wesley Snipes's kid from drowning, befriend Wesley Snipes, kidnap his kid, threaten to kill him unless he hits a home run?
The only thing crazier is the way it all plays out. The big game at the end is played during a horrendous thunderstorm, which would never happen. Then, Snipes stretches a single into an inside the park home run (huh?) only to get called out by the home plate umpire, who turns out to be—are you ready to hear the BIG twist?—Robert De Niro!
None of that makes any sense.
7. The Fan (1996)
Summer Catch is basically Bull Durham for kids, and all the good actors have been replaced with shitty ones. Kevin Costner is Freddie Prinze Jr, Tim Robbins is Matthew Lillard, and Susan Sarandon is Jessica Biel.
Now, Mrs. Timberlake is extremely hot, so if you want to watch this movie for the scene in which she goes swimming in her underwear, that's okay. But any other reason is invalid.
6. Summer Catch (2001)
The original Major League is an all-time classic, and the sequel was tolerable. However, compared to the third film, Major League 2 is a masterpiece.
All the actors with any self-respect left the franchise after the second installment. There is no Wesley Snipes, no Charlie Sheen, and no Tom Berenger. They've been replaced by Scott Bakula, who joins Corbin Bernsen (Roger Dorn), Dennis Haysbert (Cerano), Takaaki Ishibashi (Isuru Tanaka), and Eric Bruskotter (Rube Baker).
The film is as terrible as the trailer. Don't watch it.
5. Major League: Back to the Minors (1998)
Amazingly, 1992's The Babe isn't even the worst movie about Babe Ruth ever made. That honor belongs to 1948's The Babe Ruth Story.
Of course, you can probably tell from the trailer that this picture is all schmaltz. But what you don't see here is the ending. While lying on his deathbed in his hospital room, children gather in the streets blow to serenade Babe Ruth with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Then, as if that weren't enough, the film ends with the Bambino giving up his own life to to save the lives of his fans.
I kid you not. It turns out Babe Ruth is Jesus!
You can see the whole movie here. Skip to the 1:42:00 mark to see the ridiculous Jesus ending.
Keep in mind, Babe Ruth was still alive when this film was released. He was sick, but alive. He even left the hospital to attend the premier.
4. The Babe Ruth Story (1948)
The original Bad News Bears is one of the greatest sports movies of all time. The 1978 sequel, starring Tony Curtis and Regis Philbin minus Walter Mathau, was total garbage. It's basically just an excuse to make fun of those silly Japanese people. (Haha, they're different from us!)
3. The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
This is a movie about a kid who develops the ability to throw a 100mph fastball after breaking his arm and subsequently gets signed by the Chicago Cubs. However, the most outlandish aspect of the film is the casting of Gary Busy as a professional baseball pitcher. Because yeah, right.
Don't give me the old, "Oh come on, that movie is for kids!" argument, either. Just because a movie is for kids, that doesn't mean it has to be stupid. Sandlot was for kids, and that movie is a classic. Angles in the Outfield was for kids, too, and while not a classic, it's not a complete piece of garbage.
So sorry, 30-something Cubs fans. I know you loved this movie as kids, but it sucks. Deal with it.
2. Rookie of the Year (1993)
I honestly don't think I really need to make an argument here. All you need to know is that this movie stars Joey from Friends (Matt Leblanc) and a baseball-playing chimpanzee.
Boom. Worst baseball movie ever.