Major League: Revisiting One of the Greatest Baseball Movies of All Time

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Thursday January 3rd, 2013

Larry Myers (Guest Writer): 

This is my first (and hopefully not my last) article on the MLB Reports. Growing up as an Indians fan and also a fan of movies, I have always wanted to write a baseball article. One day I was chatting with Jonathan Hacohen (Founder of MLB Reports), about baseball movies. He told me to write something about it, so here I am. Major league the movie changed my life and many others. It is a timeless classic that deserves to be revisited again today.  

1989 was a very good year for me and many other people, as two great baseball movies came out that year. Once was the classic Field Of Dreams with Kevin Costner. Then there was that other movie, Major League. Being a lifetime Cleveland Indians fan, I had to go see this movie when it first came out. I wasn’t expecting too much considering the cast and the plot of the movie. This was the type of movie that critics hated, but fans of baseball would love. I felt that it would turn out to be a cult classic, which it has.  After seeing the movie for the first time, I consider Major League one of the finest baseball comedies of all time. Plus, it does have a great cast.

*This Clip Contains Swearing and Other Mature Content, Parental Guidance Is Advised*

Pete Vuckovich played Yankee Nemesis Clu Haywood in the Movie.  Vuckovich played 11 Years in the Major Leagues including winning the NL Cy Young Award with the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers by going 18-6 with a 3.34 ERA

Pete Vuckovich played Yankee Nemesis Clu Haywood in the Movie. Vuckovich played 11 Years in the Major Leagues, including winning the NL Cy Young Award with the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers.  He went 18-6 with a 3.34 ERA.

The Cleveland Indians have been around since the early days of baseball and used to be one of MLB’s premiere teams. But over the years, their attendance went down to very poor levels. The owner of the Indians dies after another bad season of finishing last, leaving the team to his ex-showgirl wife Rachel Phelps (Margret Whitton). The new owner hates baseball, but wants to move the team to Miami so she get all the cash benefits and live in style. The only way she can move the team was if the attendance dropped below 800,000 for the entire season. The only way she can make this team the worst ever and move the team to Miami is to drop the best players, and invite nobody’s, has been’s, misfits and Minor Leaguers to join the camp. These players include Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), a recently released inmate who can throw a fastball at near 100 mph, but has no control whatsoever. From there we meet Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger), a former All-Star catcher who has knee problems and playing in Mexico, Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen), a pretty-boy shortstop who’s scared of injury, Lou Brown (James Gammo), a tire salesman who is also a minor league manager, Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert), a voodoo practitioner who can’t hit breaking balls. The more offbeat characters include Willie Mays Hays (Wesley Snipes), as the speedy show-off of the team. But, then something unexpected happens as the team begins to become a cohesive unit and win games. As the stakes get higher, things only get funnier.

The idea itself is very interesting and funny, but sets up a story for antics that are pulled off throughout the entire movie. The are many things about the movie that I enjoyed. Every time I pop the movie into my DVD player, I find another hilarious moment. Who doesn’t love the wild antics in the movie, including Ricky breaking the MLB record for wild pitches in an inning, The Tribe fans going crazy over the team and the rude and drunk commentator. The running gags in this movie are also hilarious, a good example being the horrible excuses for vehicles that the team has to use to travel during the season. If you find planes with broken wings that are taped up with duct tape to be even slightly funny, then you’ll love this gag. In fact, just about all the running gags in this movie are fresh, funny, and never really get old, even after watching the movie over 300 times.

Then what about all the “Off-The-Wall characters that make up this crazy baseball team and their wacky chemistry that is so funny. An ex-con pitcher, a guy who thinks he is Willie Mays, an old pitcher who still has to cheat to win and a BIG guy who can’t (and is scared) of curveballs on the same team. It is very crazy, but works in this movie. Each actor looks like they had fun in their roles, especially Sheen and Snipes, who stole the show as Hays. Charlie Sheen was perfect for the role of Vaughn, with haircut and facial expressions. Tom Berenger turns in a great comedic performance and Wesley Snipes turns in his best performance of his career. Basically, every actor adds something unique to their characters to make them fun to watch and enjoy. Margaret Whitton brings perfect evilness to her role as team owner Rachel Phelps, despite her relatively short scenes during the movie.

What surprises me the most about Major League is that it has very excellent technical aspects despite being a comedy. Each game in the movie looks like a game you would really see in person. The final game of the season is one of the best baseball scenes ever filmed and I can watch it over and over again. 

While no Star Wars (my true favorite movie of all time), Major League is one of the most entertaining sports movies of all time, as well as one of the best comedies ever. Outside of those who hate sports movies, I would highly recommend this as a MUST buy DVD.

 


(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Larry Myers is today’s guest writer and #1 fan of MLB Reports:  You can follow Larry on Twitter 

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Posted on January 3, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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