October 20, 2022

Five Real Baseball Teams Fictionalized in Movies

Baseball movies are a dime a dozen, there are plenty of them out there whether they be fantasies about a person achieving some dream or adaptations of real-life events. One oddity is when a movie focuses on a team that really exists, and basically portrays a fictional version of that team as if the events had really happened. I guess it makes sense, giving us a real team makes it easier to get into the film. Especially when the team is known for being horrible. It saves a lot of setting up because the team exists, we don't need all that exposition. They use actual locations, stadiums, and uniforms which is always cool to see. 

For whatever reason these seem to be either kids films or romance films. But here are five examples of what I mean:

Detroit tigers-For Love of the Game

Released in 1999 this movie is seriously underrated. Kevin Costner plays an aged Detroit Tiger pitcher trying to get a perfect game against the hated New York Yankees. This really is framing device about the lost love of his life. Not a bad movie though some of the cliche's are a little hard to take. And yes the team wins and he gets his perfect game. As for the real Detroit team...well they keep trying, 

Anaheim Angels-Angels in the Outfield

When a little boy's estranged father tells him the only way they will be a family is if the Angels win the pennant. And that's precise what the boy sets out have happen with some angelic assistance. Christopehr Lloyd and a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt star. The movie is silly with Lloyd having a ball hamming it up. In the end the Angels win but the boy gets a different father than he expected. Harmless fluff. Of course, the Angels made that fabled World Series win a reality in 2002 when they finally won there first, and only, title.

And yes this was a remake of a 1950's movie where it was the Pittsburgh Pirates not the Angels. There's also no kid it's focused on the manager. 

Minnesota Twins-Little Big Leagues

Never saw this one honestly but it clearly belongs here. Another little boy gets a strange inheritance from his grandfather-The Minnesota Twins! He becomes the new owner as well as manager and, well, hijinks. It's common in these kinds of movies to have real life players and announcers' cameo, and this one is chock full of them. Give credit though the team does not win a championship in this one. Kinda like the real life Twins. 


Chicago Cubs-Rookie of the Year

Much like the one above, the hook here is the idea of a little kid acting like a little leaguer on a team with grown up's. But in that one the kid is directing adults. Here he is on the field and doing the antics all by himself. This one really plays it up too. When a boy damages him arm, he finds he can throw lightning fast. The cubs acquire him (hey there's no rule saying a kid can't play) and he helps the team beat their endless World Series drought. The movie is fine and ends with the kids arm returning to normal and having to win with his own talents (yeah, I saw Teen Wolf also). Of course, the real-life Cubs would finally break the curse that had plagued them since 1908, and won in 2016.

Cleveland Indians-Major League

Ah, this one. It's a great movie and an infuriating one at the same time. Why? Well the main plot is that the owner of the Cleveland Indians (now the Guardians but I digress) wants to unload the team. She needs a lousy season and puts awful players on there. When the team realizes this, they don't want to see the team get sold and decide the way to stop it is to have the greatest season ever. Ok sounds fine so far, what's the problem? There is this painful romance subplot which has nothing do with anything. Every time the damn movie cuts back to it, it drove me nuts. The movie has mature humor and the baseball stuff is great. Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and even Bob Ueker rounds out a solid cast. And yes Renee Russo, who is awesome but what the heck was she here for? Oh she isn't leaving Berenger? what a relief I was so worried. Groan,

 Oh and while in this movie Cleveland does win the championship, in real life they are still waiting having just lost to New York and own the longest drought in Baseball.

Finally, as a Boston Red Sox fan it would be remiss not to mention the so so movie. Fever Pitch is another romance surrounding the very real 2004 World Series win. I know it shouldn't count but how could I now mention my favorite team here? Especially since they and Fenway Park cameo in most of these other movies! 

These have two very strange things in common. The Yankess are the bad guys, and for some reason the movies end with the teams winning the league championship. Uh, what about the World Series? My guess it's to make the Yankees the big villains but it still makes no sense. 

Did I miss one? Comment and let me know. 

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