TOP 5 BASEBALL MOVIES

A League of Their Own. It's so good even non-baseball fans love it.

 

Bull Durham.

 

Pride of the Yankees. It has Babe Ruth playing himself, and The Babe shines!

61. About the 1961 season and Roger Maris' and Mickey Mantle's chase of Babe Ruth's single-season home run record of 60. Directed by Billy Crystal, who knows his baseball better than Ricardo Montalban. This was a film for HBO and I wish they'd shown it on the big screen.

 

Cobb with Tommy Lee Jones. Less a baseball movie than a character study of one of the greatest and most disturbed baseball players ever.

Baseball by Ken Burns (also his two-part documentary on Jackie Robinson). When there's no baseball being played, Baseball is on.

Any Given Sunday. Not a baseball movie, a football movie. For the dynamics of a professional sports team, there's nothing truer. Oliver Stone's best movie. Great actors stirred in with Lawrence Taylor and Jim Brown. Rated R. Not for kids.

When We Were Kings. Another not-a-baseball movie. It's a documentary about Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and their fight in Zaire. One of the greatest sporting events and upsets of all time. KOs all of the fiction films about Ali.

 

AN IDEA TO IMPROVE PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL

One of the most exciting aspects of baseball is the stolen base. Steals are down about 30% from their peak. But attempted steals are down much further. The front-office-baseball-quants have come up with the calculus that has sucked so much excitement out of the game.

 

A solution: If you steal second base, you get third too. Yes, swipe second and the ump ushers you ninety feet farther.

 

What if there's already a runner at third? They get to trot home.

 

What if a runner's on second and he steals third? Then he gets to score.

 

ANOTHER IDEA TO IMPROVE PRO BALL

This one might be interesting for an independent league, which is often sprinkled with ex-MLB-franchise pitchers who've injured their arm.

 

The Speed Limit.

What if pitchers were not allowed to throw faster than 92 MPH?

Use that radar gun and every pitch faster is an automatic ball.

Save their arms.

Increase the rate that bat hits ball.

Reduce strikeouts.

Perhaps reduce walks.

The art of pitching returns.

More balls are hit in play.

TOP 5 BASEBALL BOOKS

The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter

 

The Celebrant, by Eric Rolfe Greenberg

Ball Four, by Jim Bouton. I met him once, and he was something of a jerk. But so was Caravaggio.

The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Everyone wishes he'd update it.

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner. If you love the art of pitching, you will learn a lot.

I'm Keith Hernandez: A Memoir. Like Ball Four, but with taste and Keith's unique flair. A great book about learning to hit.

Ballpark: Baseball in the American City, by Paul Goldberger. An architecture critic's tour of the evolution of the ballpark. A great gift for any baseball fan.

(Yes, there are more than 5. Don't get me started...)

 

A LOT OF LAUGHS

In NYC in the '90s Steve founded a sketch-comedy group, TunnelVision. Out of that the film Show Me The Aliens! was born. Silly/Profound/Excellent Acting/Great Directing. Steve, Devin Crowley, Kirk Davis, and the crew had a wonderful time making it. I hope you have a moment to click here and check it out, or else you might get abducted by extraterrestrials (usually traumatic).