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MSU Denver baseball and softball players pick the best baseball movies to watch since MLB

14 baseball movies to watch after the Colorado Rockies’ stay-at-home opener

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is delayed indefinitely. Get your fix of our national pastime with these flicks picked by coaches and student-athletes on MSU Denver’s baseball and softball teams.

April 3, 2020

By Rob White

Before our world was turned upside down by COVID-19, the Metropolitan State University of Denver softball team was in first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the talented MSU Denver baseball pitching staff was just starting to get healthy.

Early April is pennant-race time for those collegiate spring sports, and it’s also the time for Major League Baseball to set its course on the six-month journey toward the postseason. The Colorado Rockies’ home opener had been set for today as well. The Colorado Rockies Foundation is instead throwing a Stay at Home Opener at 2 p.m. The virtual game, which will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet and the Rockies website, will include some of the greatest innings in Rockies home-opener history, along with commentary from Rockies players and coaches.

After that, turn to these classic baseball flicks recommended by Roadrunners players and coaches.


The Sandlot” (1993)

Synopsis:

When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids who play baseball at the local sandlot even though he knows nothing about baseball. The boys run into trouble when Smalls borrows a Babe Ruth-autographed baseball from his stepdad that gets hit over a fence into the yard of “The Beast,” a junkyard dog.

Why it’s great:

“It reminds me that baseball is just a game and to have fun with it.” – MSU Denver baseball first baseman Jon Zakhem

“It shows how the sandlot crew looks up to the legend Babe Ruth for his success as a baseball player. It shows how many kids have players that they look up to and how they influence them.” – MSU Denver softball second baseman Ari Valdez

Quotable:

“You’re killing me, Smalls!”

“There’s heroes, and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”


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A League of Their Own” (1992)

Synopsys:

As American men are sent to fight World War II, an all-female professional baseball league forms. Sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty) spar with each other, scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) and grumpy has-been coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) on their way to fame with the Rockford Peaches. Memorable performances include Madonna as “All the Way” Mae Mordabito and Rosie O’Donnell as Doris Murphy.

Why it’s great:

“This is a must-see softball movie because it shows how women created friendships and worked together to be valued just as much as men. They showed they had other talents besides being mothers and staying in the house working all day.” – MSU Denver softball second baseman Ari Valdez

“Madonna’s best work! I can’t pick a favorite character, but I can tell you who my least favorite was – Kit Keller. Quit being selfish and lay off the high ones, Kit!”

Quotable:

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

“There’s no crying in baseball!”


RELATED: 15 podcasts to enlighten your quarantine


Bull Durham” (1988)

Synopsis:

The Bulls minor-league baseball team of Durham, N.C., has one asset no other can claim: a poetry-loving groupie named Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon). As the team’s season begins, Annie selects new pitcher Ebby Calvin Laloosh (Tim Robbins), whom she christens “Nuke,” to inspire with the religion of baseball. Nuke also receives guidance from veteran player Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), who settles Nuke’s erratic pitching and teaches him to follow the catcher’s lead.

Why it’s great:

“It’s my favorite baseball movie because of the way it portrays the game. I think it’s important to not overthink how challenging the game can be and just take it a day at a time, controlling what you can control.” – MSU Denver baseball infielder Jacob Moyer

“Announce your presence with authority – always solid advice. And never be a lollygagger!” – MSU Denver softball coach Annie Van Wetzinga

Quotable:

“A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball; you catch the ball; you hit the ball. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose; sometimes it rains.”


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Moneyball” (2011)

Synopsis:

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A’s, one day has an epiphany: Baseball’s conventional wisdom is all wrong. Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ballclubs. Joining forces with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane prepares to challenge old-school traditions. He recruits bargain-bin players whom the scouts have labeled as flawed but have game-winning potential. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.

Why it’s great:

“I like how it shows the inside aspects of baseball and making deals. It inspires me because I would one day like to be one of the players in those deals.” – MSU Denver baseball pitcher Brandon Moore

“‘Moneyball’ inspires me because Billy Beane stuck to his plan and made it work after so much failure. Just a great true story.” – MSU Denver baseball outfielder Owen Reynolds

Quotable:

“I made one decision in my life based on money. And I swore I would never do it again.”


RELATED: Here's how MSUDenver's spring sports coaches helped student-athletes deal with the disappointment of COVID-19 cancellations


Major League” (1989)

Synopsis:

The new owner of the Cleveland Indians, former showgirl Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), wants to move the team to Miami. But to break the lease with the city of Cleveland, ticket sales have to plummet. So Phelps hires the most incompetent players available, including near-blind pitcher Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), injury-prone catcher Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) and speedy-but-unskilled outfielder Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes). But her villainous tactics accidentally foster a can-do team spirit, turning the Indians into winners and fan favorites.

What they said:

MSU Denver baseball pitching coach Mark Vig says that when he was a youngster, the movie was on all the time. As a 5-year-old, he tried on a Cleveland Indians shirt at a store and recited a quote that includes “Look at this guy,” as well as a profanity.

“My mom, trying to hide her laughter, grabbed me quick and probably scolded me while my sisters and the rest of the shoppers around were dying laughing. I probably had no idea what it even meant, but I just remembered the line from the movie.” – MSU Denver baseball pitching coach Mark Vig

Quotable:

“Juuuust a bit outside.”

“No way. Too high! Too high!”

“This guy’s the out you’ve been waiting your whole life for.”


RELATED: Roadrunners All-America catcher Matt Malkin signs with the San Francisco Giants organization


Major League II” (1994)

Synopsis:

The Cleveland Indians, an endearing assortment of oddballs who improbably won the division championship last season, have since lost their edge due to personal pursuits and the excesses of fame. Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) does lucrative endorsements, but his killer fastball is gone, while once-aggressive slugger Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) has become a laid-back Buddhist. But as the players realize they’ve all gone astray, they rally for a shot at the World Series.

Why it’s great:

“This is a must-see baseball movie because it shows how each player has different strengths and weaknesses and how they mentally prepare before playing baseball. It’s important not to compare yourself to others, because everyone is different, but know you can always work and learn different ways to improve your game. It also is a fun comedy movie that will make you laugh!” – Valdez

Quotable:

“We won a game yesterday. If we win one today, that’s two in a row. If we win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.”

“When the tough get going, go and get tough.”


RELATED: Peter Jackson's WWI doc 'They Shall Not Grow Old' is a high-tech marvel


42” (2013)

Synopsis:

In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies Major League Baseball’s notorious color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman). The heroic act puts Rickey and Robinson in the firing line of the public, the press and other players. Facing open racism from all sides, Robinson demonstrates true courage and admirable restraint by not reacting in kind and lets his undeniable talent silence the critics.

Why it’s great:

“It shows a big piece in baseball history, and a lot of it I learned in taking the class History of Baseball this semester. It’s inspirational because, at the end of the day, we all get an opportunity to play, especially in college, and it’s important to take advantage of that opportunity.” – MSU Denver softball outfielder Rebecca Gonzales

“It’s a true, inspiring story with great acting.” – MSU Denver softball third baseman Olivia Dampier

Quotable:

“You give me a uniform, you give me a number on my back, I’ll give you the guts.”


RELATED: MSU Denver Men's Basketball center Cain van Heyningen takes hospitality to new heights as a Dimond Fellow


The Rookie” (2002)

Synopsis:

A true story about a coach who discovers it’s never too late for dreams to come true. Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) never made it out of the minor leagues before a shoulder injury ended his pitching career 12 years ago. With Jim now a married-with-children high-school chemistry teacher and baseball coach in Texas, his team makes a deal with him: If they win the district championship, Jim will try out with a major-league organization.

Why it’s great:

“The overall message the movie sends is awesome: It’s never too late for dreams to come true. It’s also about not giving up on yourself and to seize an opportunity if it arises. I believe all mentally strong players recognize this, and I try my best to incorporate it into my own game.” – MSU Denver baseball pitcher Gabe Austin

Quotable:

“You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.”


RELATED: MSU Denver Women's Basketball standout Mariah Schroeder is named to RMAC's All-Academic basketball team


Trouble with the Curve” (2012)

Synopsis:

For decades, Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has been one of baseball’s best scouts, but now his age is catching up with him. Still, he refuses to retire even though his bosses are questioning his judgment. Tasked with checking out the country’s hottest batting prospect, Gus is forced to accept help from his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams). Though they haven’t spent time together in years, father and daughter make new discoveries about their shared past, which could change their future.

Why it’s great:

“It’s a great father-daughter-in-sports movie, and it’s a look at old-school scouting for the major leagues – the sound of the ball on the bat and in the glove. And who doesn’t love Clint Eastwood and baseball?” – MSU Denver softball outfielder Kassi Reiger

Quotable:

“Computers? Anybody who uses computers doesn’t know a damn thing about (baseball). … You know what a computer can tell you? When to scratch your ass. What else do they tell you?”


RELATED: Former MSU Denver pitcher Julian Garcia takes his curve ball to the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system


The Natural” (1984)

Synopsis:

On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by the unstable Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). After 16 years, Hobbs returns to pro baseball as a rookie for the last-place New York Knights. Despite early arguments with his manager, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley), Hobbs becomes one of the best players in the league, and the Knights start winning. But this upsets the Judge (Robert Prosky), their owner, who wants Hobbs to lose games, not win.

Why it’s great:

“I still get goose bumps whenever that music plays.” – Rob White, Marketing Services, MSU Denver Athletics

Quotable:

“That’s kind of a bad play there.”


RELATED: How 'Game of Thrones' took over the world


In the bullpen

Field of Dreams” (1989)

The Bad News Bears” (1976)

61*” (2001)

"Angels in the Outfield" (1994)


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