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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The forgotten brilliance and influence of ‘Little Big League’

Ron Gardenhire should not have made this movie.

From the beginning, “Little Big League” looked destined to fail — and that’s not just because Pincus wanted to make a movie about the Royals. Pincus was an aspiring screenwriter with zero credits to his name. He had grown up on the East Coast, and relocated to Los Angeles to chase a career in Hollywood. But by the early 1990s, not much had materialized.

But there was one idea in his head, something that sounded fun. What if a kid managed a big-league baseball team? What if a kid ran a baseball team. So in late 1990, more than three years before the movie would arrive in theaters, Pincus went to work on a script. But first, he needed a team. As a child in the mid 1970s, he had been a fan of Royals infielders Freddy Patek and Cookie Rojas, the forefathers of the Royals glory years.

“Some of my favorite baseball cards,” Pincus says.

So it was settled. It couldn’t be a big-market club like New York or Los Angeles. It had to be small.

Billy Heywood would manage the Kansas City Royals…

So if you don’t mind a spoiler from a 20-year-old baseball movie, you might want to know about the final scene. You might want to know that the Twins lose. In the bottom of the ninth, Lou Collins hits a deep drive to center, and then Griffey robs the would-be home run, and the Twins lose.

Twenty years later, Pincus can’t remember all the details about the movie he wrote. But he can tell you this: The Twins always lost.

“It always ended that way,” Pincus says, “and it’s okay to lose. Only one team wins.”

Yes, it should have been the Royals.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 04:57 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball movies, carlos baerga, film, ken griffey jr., kevin elster, little big league, royals, timothy busfield, twins

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4752327)
The link goes directly to the comments section and not the story section.
I do like the way that they have it separated, better than STLToday which has to reload an entire page to get to comments.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4752332)
Maybe we should start with the most amazing thing about the most overlooked baseball movie of our time

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/ball-star/article734699.html#/tabPane=tabs-bf5a7e31-2#storylink=cpy


Agreed. I love this movie, even moderate fans who are friends of mine love(absolutely LOVE) the scene where Billy shows he can manage at the big league level. It's still somewhat simplified of course for movie audiences, but still it shows a lot of thought into setting up how "complicated" strategic managing can be. (add in the scene where he motivates the slacker on the team that doesn't want to work by explaining how he's going to play him anyway and let his numbers determine his free agent faith..)

Absolutely love this movie... Yes it's a tier down from field of Dreams, Bull Durham or Major league, but it's fully on par with Rookie of the Year or Sandlot for fun baseball movies.
   3. Shredder Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4752333)
Interesting tidbit: Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the eminently punchable Pete Campbell on Mad Men, was also in Little Big League.
   4. Davo Dozier Posted: July 16, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4752334)
I haven't seen it in many years, but it's still fresh in my mind, a really wonderful movie.
   5. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4752339)
Vincent Kartheiser, who plays the eminently punchable Pete Campbell on Mad Men, was also in Little Big League.

I know one thing: I sure as hell wouldn't want a kid here watching this donnybrook!
   6. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4752347)
Never seen it.

I have, however, seen Rhubarb.

I'll take a cat owning a baseball team over a kid managing one any day.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: July 16, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4752365)
Never seen it.


This is the scene that I was talking about.

Don't need the rest of this movie...just love this scene.
   8. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 16, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4752430)
That YouTube link answered my pending question. I saw that movie centuries ago, but I'll never forget when the kid starts asking all those probing questions about the game situation that you know he's not just some silly kid collecting baseball cards.

Plus, I had forgotten that Marvin Dorfler was in that movie!

"That's right, Dorfler. Under D in the Rolodex for JERK, Jerry!!"
   9. AADeuce Posted: July 16, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4752472)
Love this movie, for a few reasons.

1. It has really, really good baseball scenes! And Mickey Tettleton!

2. It is absurdly nerdy at times. There is a scene where the kid is saying how qualified he is to manage the team and references Steve Farr.

3. It does things that a kids movie probably wouldn't have done today, like a scene where the kid repeatedly orders in room porn on the road, and shows us how to properly wrap gum around a giant wad of chewing tobacco.

Great movie.
   10. Anonymous Observer Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:39 AM (#4752538)
I asked this a long time ago in some forgotten thread without getting any kind of reply, and this is the perfect place to ask it again.

Did Billy Haywood cost the Twins the wild card by benching Lou Collins?
   11. RickG Posted: July 17, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4752581)
Did Billy Haywood cost the Twins the wild card by benching Lou Collins?


Maybe, but I think the real sin was not DFA'ing Jerry for a month and a half when it was clear his corpse couldn't get past first on a ball hit to the wall.

By the way, both of these questions will be answered in Rob Neyer's forthcoming tome, "The SECOND Big Book Of Baseball Blunders - Hollywood Edition!"
   12. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 17, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4752613)
By the way, both of these questions will be answered in Rob Neyer's forthcoming tome, "The SECOND Big Book Of Baseball Blunders - Hollywood Edition!"


In "Death On The Diamond", the Cardinals manager should have put in as many subs as possible as soon as it became clear that snipers were shooting all their baserunners. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
   13. Davo Dozier Posted: July 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4752621)
In "Death On The Diamond", the Cardinals manager should have put in as many subs as possible as soon as it became clear that snipers were shooting all their baserunners. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?

There's a movie about a sniper shooting all the Cardinals?

Did BBTF write it?

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