Saturday, January 9, 2010

"The Bad News Bears" is the best baseball movie ever

And here are 10 reasons why:

10. The classical music soundtrack, from the opera "Carmen." It's the perfect baseball score.

9. The introduction of the phrase "Kelly Leak" as a verb. Definition: when a batter hits a pitch during an intentional walk attempt; ie: "Albert Pujols just Kelly Leaked the ball over the fence."

8. Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal and Jackie Earle Haley.

7. The movie's ability to make viewers want to root for characters who are completely, fundamentally unlikeable. Matthau's character, Buttermaker, is a prime example. During the course of the movie he drives drunk with un-seatbelted children in the car, he throws a beer in the face of a teenaged girl, he instructs one of his players to take a pitch for the team and he verbally abuses children nearly the entire film. But you end up loving the guy. The most surprising example, though, is the character Joey Turner, the starting pitcher for the bad-guy Yankees and the son of the Yankees' dastardly manager. Joey acts like an ass toward the Bears the entire movie, but near the end he rebels against his dad in a magnificent way. In an amazing and heart-wrenching scene, little Joey becomes one of the movie's best heroes.

6. Joey's mom.

5. Miguel Aguilar, the cutest ballplayer since Eddie Gaedel.

4. Chico's Bail Bonds.

3. Tanner Boyle, the diminutive shortstop with the courage of all the lions in all the jungles in all the world.

2. Tiny second-place trophies; finding victory in defeat (and in making fun of the winner); and beer-soaked victory celebrations.

1. "And another thing - just wait 'til next year!"

--Matt Kelsey

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