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Monday, April 22, 2013

Pitching Our Next Great Baseball Movie - Baseball Nation

The Ted Williams Story is the movie I’d most like to see.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM | 102 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4422134)
The Ted Williams Story is the movie I’d most like to see.


As told by his unfrozen, reanimated head.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4422142)
I give the contributors a lot of credit. many good suggestions
   3. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4422143)
How about an adaptation of The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. as a sort of mind-bending, fourth-wall breaking indie trip?
   4. Mike Webber Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4422144)
Fred Hutchinson could make a pretty good movie topic. Hutch the Grpahic Novel is something I bought last year at the SABR convention. It would definitely have the tear jerker kind of ending that works with many baseball movies.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4422147)
Just read the article, and many the suggestions were great: Veeck, Williams, Effa Manley, Durocher, and Barry Bonds in particular.

But most of all, I like Don Zminda's idea for a film based on G.F. Fleming's The Unforgettable Season, about the 1908 National League pennant race with McGraw, Evers and Merkle as the centerpieces. I don't think that even Hollywood at its worst could possibly screw up that one. How could you ever screw up John McGraw?
   6. Mike Webber Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4422148)
ooh, I second Gamingboy's nomination.
   7. Perry Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4422149)
One of the contributors had the idea of turning G. H. Fleming's The Unforgettable Season -- covering the 1908 NL race, with the Merkle play and the last Cubs' championship -- into a film. Great idea for a setting, but there's also a very good novel about that season, Eric Rolfe Greenberg's The Celebrant, perhaps my favorite baseball novel ever. Ties together the life of Christy Mathewson with a family of Jewish immigrants in NYC, and culminates with the Merkle game. Now THAT would make a great movie.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4422150)
Sam Rice, from the tornado through The Catch, and his secrecy about both (weaving the discovery of his past and letter from beyond the grave into the mix).
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4422160)
I do not think Bill James suggestion of Cap Anson would be a commercial success. Maybe it works as a mini-series or something, but for a movie, you need something a bit more uplifting when it comes to baseball stories.

I think too many of these suggestions are biopic in scope. Yes 42 was biopic, but it was leading up to one moment, and the rest of the story was filler to some of this.

I'm with Schur, in that I would like to see a return of some good baseball comedies. Ball Four(as Neyer pointed out) seems like a very doable story for that...

   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4422164)
One of the contributors had the idea of turning G. H. Fleming's The Unforgettable Season -- covering the 1908 NL race, with the Merkle play and the last Cubs' championship -- into a film. Great idea for a setting, but there's also a very good novel about that season, Eric Rolfe Greenberg's The Celebrant, perhaps my favorite baseball novel ever. Ties together the life of Christy Mathewson with a family of Jewish immigrants in NYC, and culminates with the Merkle game. Now THAT would make a great movie.

It probably would, but one of the beauties of the 1908 season is that it needs little or no fictional embellishment to be compelling. But if you wanted to add a bit of that, there's also a good chunk of Damon Rice's Seasons Past that provides a running commentary of that pennant race from the perspective of a family of rabid Giants' fans. That may be the most underrated book ever written about baseball.
   11. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4422166)
As a horror movie aficionado, I would love to see a film featuring Chris Truby, Albert Belle & satanic rituals.
   12. OsunaSakata Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4422167)
Agree with the Sam Rice suggestion.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4422168)
Leo Durocher seems like a super interesting guy, but a good biopic really has to focus on one event or short period of time.

I'd kinda like to see a baseball that celebrates 70's era astro-turf baseball. Maybe a campy silly comedy or something. The Fritz Peterson story might be a good plot, or maybe Dock Ellis, or the mid-70s A's or something like that. Bsaeball doesn't always need to be dead serious, I agree with Schur there seems like there should be fertile ground for more good baseball comedies.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4422173)
Leo Durocher seems like a super interesting guy, but a good biopic really has to focus on one event or short period of time.


The suggestion they gave in the article made it look like they were looking for a Forrest Gump type of story. :)

   15. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4422177)
Oh, and Moe Berg. He'd make a good movie.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4422186)
I want to see the cast of Eastbound and Down act out the Kirk Gibson / Dave Rozema story, as detailed in post 59 of the last thread we did about this.
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4422195)
The Fritz Peterson story might be a good plot


Wasn't Ben Affleck working on this?
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4422199)
If you want a drama I think a movie about a Cuban defector coming to the States could be tremendous. There is probably a good one to be had in the non-fiction realm and a fictionalized account could be a winner.
   19. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4422205)


Wasn't Ben Affleck working on this?


Yeah, but there was a problem with the fact nobody particularly wants to help him make it, and it is somewhat legally complicated if the Yankees and MLB don't want anything to do with it (in theory I think he could do it due to the fact it's historically true- similar to how you don't have to pay FDR's descendants to portray him in a movie- but it'd make advertising and marketing more difficult because unlike FDR things like the Yankee logo is trademarked and thus has extra protections attached).
   20. depletion Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4422208)
Some great suggestions here. I am facinated by Rube Waddell and would like to see a movie on him: the first power pitcher, not completely together mentally, hopped freight trains to get to his major league city, rescuing people in a flood was his undoing.
   21. AROM Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4422210)
Some great ideas. I would love to see a movie that got Babe Ruth right, but I'd be afraid we'd just get another awful attempt. Best Babe ever in the movies was the Ruthian knockoff, the Whammer, from the Natural.

It's too early for a Barry Bonds movie. Costas' description makes it clear we need to get farther away from the steroids era before there can be an honest look at the material.

The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, at least until the world series, played out like a movie. You've got basically an updated Moneyball to construct the team and make it into the playoffs, but unlike the A's you don't have to abruptly end there. The Red Sox had such a stacked lineup and were the team that just could not be put away. Maybe reference their comeback from 3-1 down against Cleveland the previous year, then the game 5 where the Rays should have finished them off, up 7-0 in the 7th, and simply could not find the bullpen arms to get outs. In game 7 there was a serious "here we go again" feeling as the Red Sox loaded the bases in the 8th, with the Rays still not finding any bullpen arm capable of throwing quality strikes. Then, enter the rookie.
   22. AROM Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4422214)
Sorry to get off the baseball topic but one sports movie I'd love to see is the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Tough to make, for even more extreme reasons than trying to portray the arm of Roberto Clemente. Can you find 2 people with the size and athleticism of Wilt and Russell (and if so, why aren't they going #1 overall in the draft), and even if you could, what are the odds of finding such people who can actually act?

But maybe it can be done with CGI. Either make Wilt/Bill look bigger, or hobbitize all the actors around them.
   23. DL from MN Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4422217)
Rube Waddell and Connie Mack are an odd couple that had success together. I think they'd make for an interesting movie.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4422218)
It's too early for a Barry Bonds movie. Costas' description makes it clear we need to get farther away from the steroids era before there can be an honest look at the material.


Absolutely agree... When I saw Costas recommended I cringed a little.

Some great ideas. I would love to see a movie that got Babe Ruth right, but I'd be afraid we'd just get another awful attempt. Best Babe ever in the movies was the Ruthian knockoff, the Whammer, from the Natural.


I think what really seems to hurt Ruth movies is that he's so physically big that any actor to play him ends up looking wrong, because Ruth was also extremely gifted athlete, and wasn't fat for a large portion of his career, but his image is of course of the fat Ruth, and if you made a Ruth movie without him being 'big' then people wouldn't believe it.



   25. winnipegwhip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4422230)
Topics I would like to see

Disco Demolition Night

The Joe Charboneau Story

The 1962 Mets

Charlie Finley and the Rise of the A's


   26. OsunaSakata Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4422231)
Sorry to get off the baseball topic but one sports movie I'd love to see is the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Tough to make, for even more extreme reasons than trying to portray the arm of Roberto Clemente. Can you find 2 people with the size and athleticism of Wilt and Russell (and if so, why aren't they going #1 overall in the draft), and even if you could, what are the odds of finding such people who can actually act?

But maybe it can be done with CGI. Either make Wilt/Bill look bigger, or hobbitize all the actors around them.


You might be able to do it with a stage production. Get tall African-American actors without any athletic talent. Show legacy footage on big screen TVs. Emphasize the rivalry with talk on stage.
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4422234)
no morgana biopic?
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4422238)
on a serious note, casey stengel
   29. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4422247)
A think a good movie could be made about an active player who discovers that he has a terminal illness.
   30. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4422253)

I think what really seems to hurt Ruth movies is that he's so physically big that any actor to play him ends up looking wrong, because Ruth was also extremely gifted athlete, and wasn't fat for a large portion of his career, but his image is of course of the fat Ruth, and if you made a Ruth movie without him being 'big' then people wouldn't believe it.


Yeah, Ruth wasn't fat until the end. He was more like a defensive back or a wrestler.



A think a good movie could be made about an active player who discovers that he has a terminal illness.


Bang The Drum Slowly?
   31. esseff Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4422256)
1. I nominate the Victory Faust story, further embellished on top of the embellishments Fred Snodgrass offered in "The Glory of Their Times."

2. I second the suggestion for John M. Ward, teen orphan, Columbia educated lawyer, baseball labor agitator, stormy marriage with the Lindsay Lohan of that time, followed by an affair with a rising teen actress.

3. Didn't Mabel King essentially portray Effa Manley in "Bingo Long"?

4. Bill James should drop the Anson obsession, lest someone bring up James' unfortunate apologia for Anson re: the drawing of baseball's color line.
   32. DL from MN Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4422261)
Disco Demolition Night


Terrific idea. The soundtrack alone would be awesome. The societal subtext and commentary makes for more opportunity than simply a film about baseball. This needs to happen.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4422271)
How could you ever screw up John McGraw?


You could cast Keanu Reeves or Arnold Schwarzenegger or someone like that...
   34. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4422276)
Either make Wilt/Bill look bigger, or hobbitize all the actors around them.


Starring Peter Dinklage as Bob Cousy!
   35. esseff Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4422287)

A think a good movie could be made about an active player who discovers that he has a terminal illness.


Bang The Drum Slowly?



I thought he meant this.
   36. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4422288)


I thought he meant this.


That too.
   37. Into the Void Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4422291)
A Kevin McReynolds film could be great.

   38. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4422294)
A think a good movie could be made about an active player who discovers that he has a terminal illness.


I think Cardinal fans are ready to nominate Mitchell Boggs for that role.

You could cast Keanu Reeves or Arnold Schwarzenegger or someone like that...


C'mon you know it's going to be Will Smith or Morgan Freeman.
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4422310)
All of Matt Christopher's books should be turned into movies.
   40. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 22, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4422325)
"The Glory of Their Times."


I think that Rube Marquard's story about how he got into baseball would make for a good adaptation.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4422351)
If you want a drama I think a movie about a Cuban defector coming to the States could be tremendous. There is probably a good one to be had in the non-fiction realm and a fictionalized account could be a winner.

EL DUQUE!

----------------------------------

Sorry to get off the baseball topic but one sports movie I'd love to see is the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

That'd kind of be cruel to the dead, wouldn't it? (smile) Or maybe they could pretend that basketball is played by one-on-one rules, just to give Wilt a sporting chance. (nasty grin)

----------------------------------

on a serious note, casey stengel

That may be the best suggestion of all, although I doubt if it'd play too well with the casual fan crowd.
   42. OsunaSakata Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4422360)
on a serious note, casey stengel

That may be the best suggestion of all, although I doubt if it'd play too well with the casual fan crowd.


That's I thought about Moneyball. Harrison Ford or Al Pacino as Casey for the box office?
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4422365)
That may be the best suggestion of all, although I doubt if it'd play too well with the casual fan crowd.


Really? Mantle, Dimaggio, Berra, the Yankees in general and Casey saying Casey things. I think it would end up being a cartoon version of Stengel unfortunately but such a movie would have pretty broad appeal I think.
   44. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4422369)

Sorry to get off the baseball topic but one sports movie I'd love to see is the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.


Something tells me that this wouldn't be the first topic pitched for a Chamberlain movie.
   45. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4422371)
I bet a great movie could be made about the Mets, the Wilpons, and Madoff. Probably too soon.
   46. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4422374)
A movie that explores the back story behind Reggie Jackson's radicalization and subsequent attempt to assassinate the Queen would be fascinating.
   47. AROM Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4422382)
Something tells me that this wouldn't be the first topic pitched for a Chamberlain movie
.

His scoring record? Just finished reading Jerry West's autobiography, and he says Chamberlain's number was a joke. That sometime Wilt's sister would show up unannounced and look through Wilt's hotel room for evidence that a woman was there. Never found anything. Jerry calls Wilt the loneliest person he ever knew.
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4422399)
That sometime Wilt's sister would show up unannounced and look through Wilt's hotel room for evidence that a woman was there.


That's...kinda creepy, no?
   49. Guapo Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4422405)
A movie about Joe DiMaggio's last year / Mickey Mantle's first year and the passing of the torch. You'd definitely have to take some poetic license though, as DiMaggio apparently never talked to Mantle.
   50. jdennis Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4422407)
I write screenplays and specialize in biopics. For some reason, biopics make me go through the correct process of writing a story (limiting number of characters/locations to make it understandable, etc.) and I often get too complicated with other types of stories. The biopics I've written so far are downer biopics that are supposed to be awards bait rather than moneymakers, they end in the subjects suicide/murder/death from drugs, etc. and the subjects are sometimes unlikable.

You wouldn't believe how many amazing biopics are never on screen because the characters don't have a requisite Q score. There are so many great stories out there about virtually any figure from history, but they don't have name recognition (studios these days don't even want to make a trailer, they just want the movie to sell itself on concept) or because they are unlikable, or because their story has a negative arc or is too complicated. Luckily, a baseball movie would be relatively cheap and marketable compared to other biopics, so there would be hope of it getting made.

I've looked into 19th century baseball, figured it would make a better HBO series or something. Would tackle development of the game, gambling controversies, race. Would be visually beautiful. To me, more recent baseball = less interesting story. I believe biopics should generally be about people long dead, and dislike biopics like The Queen or W. that are about living people. However, I would be intrigued by a story about one of the famous executives like Spalding, Comiskey, Veeck, Mack, etc. Steinbrenner might even be good, since he was such a character and you could show clashes with Martin. Veeck you could take a PT Barnum-like angle. Mack and Comiskey would be more downbeat, though. Mack with senility and Comiskey being generally dislikable. Spalding might be a good one. Show him being awesome as a pitcher and then morphing into a massively-rich goods salesman. But people don't really buy into that type of inspiration. 1869 reds? Lip Pike dealing with anti-Semitism? Deacon White being churchy?

Could do a downer story about Cap Anson and the banning of blacks, could do Jim Creighton or Charlie Ferguson or Dave Orr or something like that. Anson would obviously provide the most material, though I contend Creighton is very doable. In fact, I'd rather do Creighton than Anson, because there would be a feel-good element amid the tragedy of his death, whereas Anson's story would be more necessary but the theme wholly negative.

Creighton's story you could take more liberties with, which leads to better character development. For the nerds it could be accurately depicted and with cameos from Dickey Pearce, Bob Ferguson, and Joe Start. Ferguson was a legendary douche (in an innocent way) so that counts, and Pearce invented the SS position and Start changed the way 1B was played. And IIRC, they were on the same team, later at least? So there's some minutiae. Also, Chadwick could be in the stands counting hands lost and junk. Show a typical 47-23 game or whatever and then Creighton throws a shutout and everyone is like, he gave up zero runs? Is that even possible? Show them trying to determine if his pitch is illegal, etc. Lots of good scenes. Just, what feel good angle to take?

Could do stuff about the throwing of the games that got Devlin, etc. banned from baseball. Thing is, it's hard to come up with a feel-good story and all the stuff I'm writing already are downer biopics. Maybe formation of NA or NL? If one of the big names has a published diary (Anson, Creighton, etc.), I will seriously take notes and do an outline. In fact, I'll do a rough outline on a few of these names now and see if anyone comes up with primary source material.

My picks would be:

1. Creighton
2. Spalding
3. Veeck
4. Steinbrenner
5. Formation of NL
6. Anson
   51. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4422409)
They took away his kids.

He's taking them back.

CRUDALE
   52. Bug Selig Posted: April 22, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4422414)
I think an Ichiro movie could be great if it wanted to.
   53. PreservedFish Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4422417)
Schott could be a good subject, as long as the director doesn't go too far.
   54. Canker Soriano Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4422418)
I came to suggest Moe Berg but got beaten to it. The whole Curt Flood saga would be interesting.

Take the first part of Underworld, around the 1951 playoff, and turn that into a movie.

Also - Bart Giamatti/Pete Rose.

   55. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4422425)
I second the Victory Faust suggestion.

My second choice would be a biopic of Eiji Sawamura. Lots of great plot lines - at age 17 bursts into the Japanese limelight by dominating an American touring team featuring Ruth and Gehrig, allowing only one hit in six innings, before losing 1-0 on a homer by Gehrig. This is one of the most famous games in Japanese history, and perhaps the moment when baseball was seared into the Japanese psyche. Drops out of high school due to a bullying scandal that barred his team from playing in the Koshien Tournament. Goes pro as a teenager, throws the first no-hitter in NPB, wins the first Japanese MVP award (24-4, 0.81 will do that for you). Becomes the biggest star in Japan. Tours the States; almost causes an international incident, supposedly, when he thinks he's signing an autograph, but it's actually a contract from an American team. Rebuffs Connie Mack's attempt to sign him because he doesn't like the idea of playing in America. Gets drafted and serves three tours in the military, hurting his arm throwing grenades, getting shot in his non-pitching hand, and contracting malaria. Tries to make a comeback in 1943, but has lost it, and puts up a 10.64 ERA. Ruturns to the military, and dies when the troop ship he's on is sunk by an American sub.

It's got everything.
   56. puck Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4422426)
The Ted Williams Story is the movie I’d most like to see.

As told by his unfrozen, reanimated head.


John Thorn agrees:

I'd open the film with Ted's head in a vat, narrating and setting the scene. The title of Cramer's essay -- "What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?" -- might be the film's title.
   57. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4422437)
on a serious note, casey stengel


That may be the best suggestion of all, although I doubt if it'd play too well with the casual fan crowd.

Really? Mantle, Dimaggio, Berra, the Yankees in general and Casey saying Casey things. I think it would end up being a cartoon version of Stengel unfortunately but such a movie would have pretty broad appeal I think.


Well, I'd sure be rooting for it, but to the casual fan these days, at least outside New York, I think you'd draw a blank with all of those names. It's not as if a great movie couldn't be made with those three + the 1962 Mets, it's just that I'm not sure how well it could be pitched to a backer. Stengel would be 123 years old this year, and in terms of name recognition he's not exactly Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson. I think the very best you could hope for would be for a semi-cult movie like Cobb or Eight Men Out, neither of which made any dent at the box office in spite of Tommy Lee Jones' great performance in Cobb and the overall excellence of the latter film.

----------------------------------------

You wouldn't believe how many amazing biopics are never on screen because the characters don't have a requisite Q score. There are so many great stories out there about virtually any figure from history, but they don't have name recognition (studios these days don't even want to make a trailer, they just want the movie to sell itself on concept) or because they are unlikable, or because their story has a negative arc or is too complicated.

Excuse me, but who out here wouldn't believe that? I sat through about 6 previews at the local multiplex before "42" finally came on, and that 15 minutes told me more than I really needed to know about the current state of Hollywood filmmaking. It's as if they're figuring out the IQ of the lowest common denominator and then figuring their target audience to come in at about half that.

BTW that's not a knock on the rest of your comment, and you've got some pretty good ideas.
   58. DL from MN Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4422440)
how many amazing biopics are never on screen


I hope the Teddy Roosevelt movie is Oscar-worthy. Then we'll get a trilogy.

Jesse Owens could get made after the success of 42. Jim Thorpe deserves a reboot.
   59. Bob Tufts Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4422445)
John Montgomery Ward, Curt Flood and/or Marvin Miller.
   60. PreservedFish Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4422456)
I would like to see a more avant-garde baseball movie. I want Terrence Malick filming the ball field. Or Wim Wenders doing the life of a scout on the road. Cronenberg doing the Glenallen Hill story.
   61. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4422474)
Another idea: Bo Jackson. Probably too soon, and I dunno how you could give it the required happy ending (perhaps it could end when he did that big bicycle thing for charity), but you'd think Baseball Movie + Football Movie would equal $$$.

Jim Abbott would also make a good biopic guy. Dunno how they'd do the arm though, although I guess a prosthetic covering and some makeup could work.



Of course, the main reason we don't see many sports movies anymore, and especially sports like baseball and football, is because the overseas market is now so important, and it's next to impossible to have a movie like that with any chance of overseas success whatsoever unless it has a name star like Brad Pitt in Moneyball or Harrison Ford in 42 (and even then, I doubt they did very well outside of the Baseball sphere).

In fact, I read somewhere that the rise of the overseas market is one of the reasons for the general dumbing down of Hollywood movies: it's a long and time-consuming process to translate dialogue and even the best translation could lose some of the gravitas and profoundness in translation... but explosions, violence and epic special effects are the same in every language.
   62. robinred Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4422483)
In terms of commercial appeal, a feel-good movie about the 1969 Mets could work.

And I agree on Ted Williams.

Another possibility--the 1948 AL pennant race: Williams, Veeck, Paige, Doby, DImaggio. McCarthy. Promo writes itself:

"The year after Jackie Robinson...."
   63. robinred Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4422486)
And, the story of Fernando Valenzeula's 1981 season.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4422489)
Jim Abbott would also make a good biopic guy. Dunno how they'd do the arm though, although I guess a prosthetic covering and some makeup could work.


Or a hungry, dedicated young method actor who would do just about anything for his big break.
   65. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4422510)
John Montgomery Ward, Curt Flood and/or Marvin Miller walk into a bar ...
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4422529)
"On the skids: the story of the unappreciated comic genius of Scooter"...

   67. cardsfanboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:37 PM (#4422533)
Of course, the main reason we don't see many sports movies anymore, and especially sports like baseball and football, is because the overseas market is now so important, and it's next to impossible to have a movie like that with any chance of overseas success whatsoever unless it has a name star like Brad Pitt in Moneyball or Harrison Ford in 42 (and even then, I doubt they did very well outside of the Baseball sphere).


Good point. These type of movies have to be done with an eye of keeping the budget relatively low and the understanding that your U.S. box office will be the extent of your money and even then, it's probably not common for a sports movie to break 100mil, so you are looking for a 40-60 mil payday(Moneyball only did 75mil in the U.S. and 35mil foreign) So even the success's aren't really considered box office gold.

Edit:clicking on that link I provided and going to similar movies. I didn't know that The Blind Side did so well, 255mil domestic? Wow.
   68. Gamingboy Posted: April 22, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4422593)


Good point. These type of movies have to be done with an eye of keeping the budget relatively low and the understanding that your U.S. box office will be the extent of your money and even then, it's probably not common for a sports movie to break 100mil, so you are looking for a 40-60 mil payday(Moneyball only did 75mil in the U.S. and 35mil foreign) So even the success's aren't really considered box office gold.

Edit:clicking on that link I provided and going to similar movies. I didn't know that The Blind Side did so well, 255mil domestic? Wow.


The thing with The Blind Side is that it wasn't just- or even primarily- marketed as a sports story. It had football stuff, sure, but it had stuff about the meaning of family, faith, Sandra Bullock's performance, etc. being pushed too.

I think the in-development possible movie on Josh Hamilton could do well, since it would also have more than simply sports stuff to go on: they would be able to focus on the rather universal tale of redemption from substance abuse, for example, and also focus some marketing on church groups, schools, etc.
   69. Moeball Posted: April 22, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4422598)
Edit:clicking on that link I provided and going to similar movies. I didn't know that The Blind Side did so well, 255mil domestic? Wow.


That's because it's a taped recording of football which, according to another thread, supposedly beats live baseball for popularity.

John Montgomery Ward, Curt Flood and/or Marvin Miller walk into a bar ...


If you want to make an action movie along the lines of Fight Club it has to start with..."Billy Martin walks into a bar..." Actually, Billy's life would make a fascinating study, but there's no happy ending, as there often isn't with his personality type. I've always thought it was interesting that for some people like Ty Cobb, Billy Martin and Pete Rose, the super intense competitive drive that made them successful was also essentially a big part of their undoing as they didn't know how to "turn it off".

In terms of commercial appeal, a feel-good movie about the 1969 Mets could work.


Have you seen Frequency?

Really? Mantle, Dimaggio, Berra, the Yankees in general and Casey saying Casey things. I think it would end up being a cartoon version of Stengel unfortunately but such a movie would have pretty broad appeal I think.

Well, I'd sure be rooting for it, but to the casual fan these days, at least outside New York, I think you'd draw a blank with all of those names.


The truly sad thing, Andy, is it isn't just outside of NY. My only trip to Yankee Stadium in 2005 resulted in me being an impromptu tour guide for Monument Park. I had to explain to several Yankee fans of varying ages who the various people were that were honored in the park. Seriously, there were Yankee fans in their 40s and older who didn't know who Joe DiMaggio or Casey Stengel was. Are you kidding me? They thought Yogi was that funny guy on TV commercials and they were surprised to hear that he actually was a tremendous player once upon a time. Which leads me to the name of the guy I would like to see a movie about (of course, absolutely nobody I met at the Stadium had any idea who he was):

Ed Barrow. The Architect of The Dynasty.

Born in a covered wagon in pioneer days...sold concessions...helped start a minor league and became a club owner...became a scout and first showed his ability to identify extraordinary talent by signing Honus Wagner...managed the Tigers in 1903-04 but was disenchanted with Tigers front office so he resigned...left baseball for several years to manage a hotel...returned to manage the Red Sox to a championship and quickly identified Babe Ruth's talents as Sultan of Swat, pushing for Ruth's transition from pitcher to everyday outfielder...when Ruth was sold to NY by Frazee over Barrow's objections he resigned from Boston and switched to front office genius for the Yankees, going on to build the Empire.

Now that's an interesting life.

   70. Perry Posted: April 22, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4422605)
They thought Yogi was that funny guy on TV commercials and they were surprised to hear that he actually was a tremendous player once upon a time.


I once attended a game when Yogi was managing the Mets in the early 70s and when I said, hey, there's Yogi Berra to my companion, she was amazed -- she'd heard the name before, but thought he was some kind of fictional character.

Wasn't Don Mattingly once quoted as saying he thought Babe Ruth was a cartoon character before he visited the monuments?

   71. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4422607)
His story is not done being told, but Daniel Nava could make the kind of feel-good movie studios like to make. I mean, it probably wouldn't be great, but feel-good.
   72. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 22, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4422613)
May as well post this here; it's from a screenplay/treatment I wrote some years back:

"John and Yoko" is the story of Yumiko Masumi, star pitcher for the Japanese women's national baseball team, and John Jackson, aging semi-pro catcher and would-be coach. (The year is 1988, which allows for a cool soundtrack and regrettable hairstyles.)

When the arrogant 20-year-old Yumiko is kicked off the Japanese team on the eve of a game against the US women's team in Yankee Stadium, she looks to play in the US pros...but the only team that will take her is the semi-pro Jersey City Snakes, managed by Kenny Turner. Turner, who once played in the majors "for about 30 seconds", is a drunk who can barely stand up, let alone manage, so the actual coaching is left to John, the team's 38-year-old catcher. Jackson's wife Autherine, a lawyer, wants her husband to give up baseball and get a "real job".

Yumiko (incorrectly called "Yoko" at her first press conference) and John become unlikely allies as pitcher and catcher, and she starts pitching well. The Snakes' success snaps Kenny out of his alcoholic haze long enough to actually take over the team, so much so that the Tigers want him to coach their rookie-league team, a move that would make John the Snakes' full-time manager. The movie is basically a love story. Not a romance between John and Yoko, but the love they all have for baseball -- the players, coaches, the suicidally-depressed radio announcer, even the handful of fans who show up for the games.

In the end, nobody gets what they think they want: Yoko doesn't get an offer from another US team and is forced to back to Japan, tail between her legs (but presumably a better and humbler person); the Tigers withdraw their offer to Kenny at the last minute (but he does get a job opportunity -- at a local factory); and the Snakes don't win the pennant (in fact, the owner folds the money-losing club, ending John's managerial career before it starts).

The epilogue is set 25 years later, at a team reunion as the former Snakes talk about the "good times".
   73. AndrewJ Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:29 PM (#4422709)
I'd like to see the story of the 1919 World Series presented from the POV of the Cincinnati Reds: They win Cincinnati's first pennant on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Red Stockings, they're offered money from gamblers to throw the World Series and steadfastly refuse, they soundly win the world championship... and then have to spend the rest of their lives with people saying, "Eh, you didn't really win that Series...Chicago laid down for you."

And, the story of Fernando Valenzeula's 1981 season.

The Mark Fidrych story would also be great.

And Ball Four would make a great HBO miniseries.
   74. dejarouehg Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4422728)
I came to suggest Moe Berg but got beaten to it.
I was beaten to it as well, but in a different way. About 15 years ago I had a group of investors looking to by the movie rights to "The Catcher Was a Spy." Was told we were too late. Still think it is an intriguing story.
   75. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4422753)
Really? Mantle, Dimaggio, Berra, the Yankees in general and Casey saying Casey things. I think it would end up being a cartoon version of Stengel unfortunately but such a movie would have pretty broad appeal I think.


Well, I'd sure be rooting for it, but to the casual fan these days, at least outside New York, I think you'd draw a blank with all of those names.

The truly sad thing, Andy, is it isn't just outside of NY. My only trip to Yankee Stadium in 2005 resulted in me being an impromptu tour guide for Monument Park. I had to explain to several Yankee fans of varying ages who the various people were that were honored in the park. Seriously, there were Yankee fans in their 40s and older who didn't know who Joe DiMaggio or Casey Stengel was. Are you kidding me? They thought Yogi was that funny guy on TV commercials and they were surprised to hear that he actually was a tremendous player once upon a time.


In defense of my original comment, I was just trying to be charitable to the average New York fan. What many people on this site often don't take into account is if they're 40 years old, the chances are strong that even their father never saw Joe Dimaggio play. Of course you'd also have to be in your early 50's to have any first hand memories of Mickey Mantle's playing career, and if you're younger than about 40 the chances are that you'd have only vague memories of Mr. October as a Yankee. And hell, there are probably people posting here who may not even remember Mr. November's rookie year.

   76. AndrewJ Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4422759)
A Steve Dalkowski or Steve Blass biopic might also work.
   77. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4422776)
May as well post this here; it's from a screenplay/treatment I wrote some years back:

I'd still love to see someone pick up on a short story I once wrote about a time travel World Series between the 1911 A's and the 1989 A's, with the 7 games being rotated in the traditional manner between the Oakland Coliseum of 1989 and the Shibe Park of 1911, and with all the playing rules and social mores of the period governing.** Of course since it had to come down to the 7th game, that was played in 1933 at Comiskey Park on the day before the first All-Star game, with both teams equally freaked out by having to get there via a primitive 1933 prop plane. Polio scares, AIDS rumors, and female reporters crashing porno movie viewings were only a small part of the running subplot of Connie Mack and Tony LaRussa digging into their dirty tricks bag. The specifics would seem dated by now, but I still think the concept could be made into a movie that any baseball loving cynic would eat up.***

**other than Jim Crow, which would have made such a matchup impossible

***The final scene comes after game 7 ends in a tie caused by rain and darkness, and the crowd starts singing "We Are The World" in appreciation for the miracle they've just witnessed. But just then, a dewy-eyed kid asks Jose Canseco for his autograph, and when Canseco says, "Sure, kid, that'll be twenty bucks", all the cornfields in Iowa suddenly wither and a vengeful thunderstorm ends the day.
   78. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:13 PM (#4422786)
did anyone mention the 1978 al season?
   79. AndrewJ Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4422807)
A very interesting film could be made about Barry Halper and his collection.

Disco Demolition Night


Terrific idea. The soundtrack alone would be awesome. The societal subtext and commentary makes for more opportunity than simply a film about baseball. This needs to happen.


I worry about real-life copycats storming the field if this movie became a hit, though.
   80. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:35 PM (#4422815)
did anyone mention the 1978 al season?

Yeah, that'd go over big here on Red Sox Central.
   81. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4422860)
I think too many of these suggestions are biopic in scope. Yes 42 was biopic, but it was leading up to one moment, and the rest of the story was filler to some of this.

Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak would seem to be about the right size for a major motion picture.
   82. Cuban X Senators Posted: April 22, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4422867)
Opens in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Flashes back to NYC, an Army Air base outside Shreveport, a penitentiary in Atlanta, back to the opening in Puerto Rico and then to a summer in Seattle. Ends on a train to St. Louis.

In fact, here's an idea I'll never get to . . . so I'll put it out there for anyone to run with . . . I've always wanted to recreate a season in real time, with little AP-style articles on each game appearing on a faux league website for each day's games from Spring Training to October . . . of course, the problem with the AL/NL is everyone would know the season immediately . . . the solution to that, of course, is to do a PCL season from its heyday which some of know most of the actors of, but are cloudy on their PCL years.

So, if 8 correspondents out there want to each take a team, spend some time in the newspaper film and throw daily updates up on a website -- maybe a longer weekly article on each team (no small undertaking I know), I think you'd have the talk of the baseball nerd world.

1951 was the season I'd do -- you've got 4 Hall of Famers managing (Ott, Gordon, Hornsby, O'Doul), the league is newly integrated, it's in a crisis at it's last real chance to compete with the AL & NL . . . reasonably good pennant race. . .
   83. Morty Causa Posted: April 22, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4422874)
Williams and The Universal Baseball Assc. are great suggestions.

Hal Chase. Read the extended monograph in the HBA.

1890 season and how the NL consolidated its monopoly. A Barbarian at the Gates type movie, remembering that baseball at that time approached the criminal.

   84. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4422879)
Stengel would be 123 years old this year,

you could look it up
   85. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 23, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4423041)
Re 77: That's a hell of a lot better than what I wrote.

Actually, fellas, there's a reason why you don't see a lot of baseball movies: they don't sell. Women won't go to see them; neither will non-baseball fans. "42" got made because of the historical/racial hook, and the fact that Harrison Ford is in it doesn't hurt, either. It'll make money, but it won't be a blockbuster (that's why it was released in April and not July).

Here's a list of box office grosses for baseball movies.
   86. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: April 23, 2013 at 08:49 AM (#4423045)
- the last 10 days of the 1967 AL season, and Yaz's heriocs

- the last 10 days of the 1964 NL season, and the Phillies' mind blowing demise

- the Carlos Baerga story: Beer Strikes Out : )

- the 1945 season: the story of the returning players, the players they replaced, wrapped in a blanket of American history - the end of the war, returning vets, the H Bomb, the brewing to desegregate the game, FDR, etc

   87. AROM Posted: April 23, 2013 at 09:18 AM (#4423059)
Jim Abbott would also make a good biopic guy. Dunno how they'd do the arm though, although I guess a prosthetic covering and some makeup could work.


Easy to do with special effects and selective camera angles. Most of the time when you see him pitching, the glove is covering up his stump. They could always hire the guys who work with Jaime Lannister to make it work.

They thought Yogi was that funny guy on TV commercials and they were surprised to hear that he actually was a tremendous player once upon a time.


I think some of that comes from living so long. It's very hard to look at Yogi as he is now (and has been for most of my 42 years on this planet) and see that he was once an elite athlete.

Edit: Though with Yogi he probably never really looked the part unless he was on the baseball field. Contrast him with Sandy Koufax, retired for 47 years, and it's easy to look at Sandy today and understand he was once the best at his craft.
   88. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 23, 2013 at 09:18 AM (#4423060)
Machete Part II: The Ugueth Urbina Story.
   89. Morty Causa Posted: April 23, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4423070)
Ban Johnson: Bill James in the HBA says a great movie could have been made about any one day his life (or something like that). That's pretty much true. If the Black Sox scandal were revisited once again, doing si from his point of view, and showcasing how it resulted in his fall from power, would be a story of Shakespearean dimension.
   90. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 23, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4423091)
10 Dalmations: Smarter than Tommy LaSorda
   91. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4423117)
I would have liked to have seen Walter Brennan as Casey Stengel. If you only know him as Grampa McCoy or The Over the Hill Gang, you haven't seen him as a seriously good actor.
   92. Morty Causa Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4423127)
Check out his Eddie in To Have and Have Not, his Judge Roy Bean in The Westerner, his Old Man Clanton in My Darling Clementine (and then his comic take on that in Support Your Local Sheriff) to get a sense of his tremendous range.
   93. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4423150)
I'm kinda surprised there hasn't been some fictional account of the first gay athlete on a sports team, like say baseball.

There hasn't been a really good movie that captures the futility of the Cubs.

A movie about the 1984 Padres clubhouse would be kinda interesting. Alan Wiggins vs. the John Birchers like Steve Garvey and Eric Show.

Cuban baseball in the last days before revolution.

I'd love to see a documentary, or even a fictional account of the 1995 Replacement Players (better than the god awful football film "The Replacements" though)
   94. SoSH U at work Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4423155)
Alan Wiggins vs. the John Birchers like Steve Garvey and Eric Show.


Eric Show, Mark Thurmond and Dave Dravecky were the Birchers. Garvey was just a serial impregnator. And a Nazi.

   95. Rusty Priske Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4423156)
The Huck Flener Story

Seriously
   96. AROM Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4423161)
I'm kinda surprised there hasn't been some fictional account of the first gay athlete on a sports team, like say baseball.


Why fictional? We know about Glen Burke and Billy Bean.
   97. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4423165)

Why fictional? We know about Glen Burke and Billy Bean.


I mean out while active, and publicly known.
   98. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4423174)
Cuban baseball in the last days before revolution.

Hell, you could make an ever better movie about the 1959 Junior World Series between the Havana Sugar Kings and Minneapolis. Here's a vintage Cuban newsreel of that Series that mixes shots of Castro with game action, and "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". For sheer overall drama, it easily matched anything the Majors has ever produced, and there are still plenty of surviving players who could easily fill in the details with first hand memories.
   99. Mike Webber Posted: April 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4423176)
Veracruz Blues by Mark Winegardner would make an interesting movie almost certainly. The scene where Quincy Trouppe and Theolic Smith are traded for 8,000 Mexican workers alone would be worth it, wouldn't it?
   100. AROM Posted: April 23, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4423189)
I mean out while active, and publicly known.


I think that might be a pretty big risk for a filmmaker. Odds are that before they can release it, the movie will be upstaged by real life events.
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