Today, a friend of mine texted me an image from MLB Cut 4 which read: “You’ve got $33. Go! Pick 10 players, 1 manager” and the proceeded to list virtually every major (or minor) baseball movie character with prices ranging from $1-$5. Obviously, if you pick a player, you deduct that from your remaining funds. I watch baseball movies a lot, and I proceeded to put way too much thought into my selections. Here’s what I came up with, and my attempts to justify choices that are completely meaningless. For the record, there are a lot of spoilers below, almost entirely for movies that came out more than 10 years ago. So proceed at your own peril.
$5-Steve Nebraska, The Scout
$4-Bingo Long, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars
$3-Nuke Laloosh, Bull Durham
$2-Kit Keller, A League of Their Own
$1-Henry Rowengartner, Rookie of the Year
I picked Laloosh here. As much as I love the idea of having Rowengartner, especially for a dollar, he’s the Cub’s closer in Rookie of the Year. I’m not sure his arm could hold up to the increased workload (because, you know, he’s 13 and only has his velocity through a freak accident). Plus, he doesn’t have anything but the heat. He does flash a change up and a floater pitch by the end of the film though, so there’s room for projection. I didn’t pick Kit because she’s terrible. She gets hit around for the whole movie. Maybe she could eat some innings, but in a thing like this I have to pick ceiling, which is why I went with Laloosh. He’s got a great fastball, and he’s working on the rest. I’m betting he’ll figure it out in the majors and turn into a quality pitcher. Not as good as either Bingo Long or Steve Nebraska, but good (for the record, I have seen The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, and it didn’t suck as much as I thought it would). Nebraska, as much as I love the stuff, I’d have some makeup concerns. He’s a head-case. I can’t have my only starting pitcher refuse to pitch game 1 of the World Series. This leaves me with $30.
$5-Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, Major League
$4-Kenny Powers, Eastbound and Down
$3-Jim Bowers, Little Big League
$2-Ryan Dunne, Summer Catch
$1-Sam “Mayday” Malone, Cheers
This one hurts. I’m looking for impact talent in a number of other positions so I have to save money somewhere. That means picking Sam Malone, who’s probably going to be drunk in the bullpen, but he seems like a nice enough guy and it’s just three outs in the 9th. I have enough faith that I’ll eek out some value before his inevitable groin injury to pick him here. Plus it could be worse. I could have picked any of the other people listed here. Ryan Dunne? Seriously? Guy couldn’t get batters out in the Cape Cod League. Sure he makes to bullpen for the Phillies at the end of the movie, but he immediately gives up a grand slam to Ken Griffey Jr. I’m betting they sent him down after that and he never saw the majors again. So much for being left handed. Jim Bowers is alright. I’d have preferred “Blackout” Gatling, if we’re talking about LBL relievers. Once he fixed his curveball it was all good for him. Bowers was crafty smart though. Lots of pitchability there. Not very intimidating though, unless he managed to confuse the hitter with the classic “Cowboy enters town” riddle. As for Kenny Powers, I’m not letting him anywhere near my baseball club. Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughan is the reverse Rowengartner of this list. He’s actually a starter in Major League. As much as the stuff plays up in the finale with the Yankees, I wouldn’t want to spend $5 on a closer, even one as good as Vaughn would be in the role. $29 remaining.
$5-Leon Carter, Bingo Long
$4-Dottie Hinson, A League of Their Own
$3-Jake Taylor, Major League
$2-Crash Davis, Bull Durham
$1-Bruce Pearson, Bang the Drum Slowly
Man I wanted Dottie Hinson. She’s the total package of baseball tools at the catcher position. She hits for average and power, she fields her position well and has an above average arm. She can’t really run but what catcher can? Leon Carter’s a good player in that film, but Hinson’s great in hers. She quits on the team in the Series because her husband comes home suddenly. Not exactly the attitude you want in a team leader, but c’mon, the guy fought a war. And it was Bill Pullman! Who can resist Bill Pullman? Anyway, the budget stopped me from picking her. Jake Taylor has awful knees in Major League. He can hit a little, but he has trouble with defense and he’s at the end of the road. He’ll be managing in a year. I picked Davis because he’s already worked with Laloosh in the minors, and he knows the kid. He can help mentor him even more in the majors. Plus, this way Laloosh can’t play guitar on roadtrips, which was a significant drawback to picking him. Sneaky power from Davis too, because he’s the all time minor league home run leader. He’ll always have some swing and miss in his game, especially when he can’t get females out of his head, but he’ll hit enough to maintain a low batting average. $27 remaining
$5-Stan Ross, Mr. 3000
$4-Clu Haywood, Major League
$3-Jack Elliot, Mr. Baseball
$2-Lou Collins, Little Big League
$1-Who, Abbot & Costello
Another instance of attempting to save money by picking a cheaper, but assuredly worse player. Collins, played by the fantastic Timothy Busfield, is probably 5 foot 7. He’s the shortest first baseman in history, but all he does is hit. Probably not for power, but likely for a high average. He’ll get on base enough to justify hitting him near the top of the lineup, even if he doesn’t run or throw well enough to play anywhere but first. The small strike zone should help him walk more. I don’t know anything about Who except that he plays first base, and I barely trust Costello when he says that. I think he might have made that whole lineup up. Can’t pick that guy. As much as I’d love to pick Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck), I’d only be picking him for the mustache, and that’s not fair to Selleck, and it’s not fair to me because he shaves it in that movie. Plus, he’s playing in Japan. When in doubt, pick the guy playing in the Majors. Clu Haywood should be in jail. Stan Ross (Bernie Mac) has maybe the ugliest swing in the history of baseball. I don’t just mean when he intentionally has an ugly swing. I mean when he’s supposed to be hitting well, it’s an ugly swing. He may have 2999 hits, but they were probably all weak ground balls, because there’s no way he could drive the ball swinging like that. $25 left.
$5-Marla Hootch, ALOTO
$4-Dennis Ryan, Take Me Out to The Ball Game
$3-Mickey Scales, Little Big League
$2-Mickey Dominguez, Summer Catch
$1-Tony Micelli, Who’s the Boss?
There’s really only one choice here, and she’s worth every dollar. Hootch (not the crazy one) is a switch hitting offensive juggernaut who’ll crush anything thrown at her. Plus, my fictional league doesn’t judge you for your looks (Jeff Karstens is still a free agent, right? He can come play for us anytime), and we play a lot of night games anyway. Dennis Ryan is played by Frank Sinatra. He’s too cool for my team. Mickey Scales can’t hit much, but his 11 year old manager says he has great speed and power to the gaps, so he’s got that going for him. I can’t remember a single scene from “Summer Catch” where Mickey Dominguez actually plays baseball. I think he just complains about his house mother the whole time. Anyway, it’s the Cape Cod League, so he’s got a long way to go before he’s taken seriously as a ballplayer. $20 left.
$5-Roger Dorn, Major League
$4-Ray Mitchell, Angels in the Outfield
$3-Doris Murphy, ALOTO
$1-Alan McClennan (Yeah, Yeah), The Sandlot
This position is weak. Roger Dorn might have been good at one point, but we only see him when he’s the laughingstock of the entire league. Guy can’t even field a ground ball. He’s not built like a prototypical power hitter at the corner, so it’s safe to assume he’s virtually useless. And he’s the $5 dollar option. I’ve seen Angels in the Outfield maybe a dozen times, and I remember nothing about any of the individual players. I do remember that the whole team sucked until angels came down from heaven and helped them play better. Does Ray Mitchell have an in with those angels? Or will he go back to sucking as soon as he’s on a new team? Either way, I’m not spending $4 dollars on a guy who needs divine intervention to make plays. Ed is terrible. It’s the Air Bud of baseball movies, but it makes Air Bud look like Citizen Cane. Also, I’m not cleaning up after the chimpanzee. No chimps. Adding Yeah, Yeah to a baseball team is a great way to give them a common enemy. That kid’s annoying. Doris Murphy is ok. She’s the most meh option on my team, but I’m fine with it against all these other choices. $17 remaining
$5-Joe Hardy, Damn Yankees
$4-Eddie O’Brien, TMOTTBG
$3-Pat Corning, LBL
$2-Jesse Stone, Jesse Stone Stories
$1-Kofi Evans, Hard Ball
I haven’t seen Damn Yankees in a while, but I’m pretty sure someone sells their soul to the devil in it for their team to win the pennant. That’s probably Joe Hardy. If so, I don’t want him on my team. That’s a level of dedication that I commend, but I don’t want his soul on my conscience. Also, I don’t want the Devil poking around the clubhouse. If I had picked that guy from Angels in the Outfield it might make for an interesting season though. Pat Corning is just a guy in LBL. He’s pretty meh. I don’t know who Kofi Evans is. Maybe I should have picked him, because he’s cheap. I have no idea who Jesse Stone is. Absolutely none. Never heard of the show before. I’m hesitant to give such an important position to someone I don’t know, but hey, I’m running low on money and I’ll try to make up for it later. He can’t suck that much, right? Can he? Should I google him? I’m going to google him.
Oh man it’s Tom Selleck. That’s a clutch choice. I only looked at the picture. I don’t need to see anything else. $15.
Outfield (Pick 3):
$5-Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, The Sandlot
$5-Roy Hobbes, The Natural
$5-Edward Cullen, Twilight
$4-Ben Williams, AITO
$4-Willie “Mays” Hayes, Major League
$4-”T” Rex Pannebaker, Mr. 3000
$3-Pedro Cerrano, Major League
$3-Charlie Snow, The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars
$3-Bobby Rayburn, The Fan
$2-Bump Bailey, The Natural
$2-Esquire Joe Calloway, BLTAS
$2-Juan Primo, The Fan
$1-Scotty Smalls, The Sandlot
$1-Kelly Leak, Bad News Bears
$1-Michael “Squints” Palledorous, The Sandlot
There’s too many people here to go through them individually (as if you’re still reading after I did that for the other positions), but I can rule out a bunch of these guys easily because they’re terrible. Smalls is awful, that’s a big point of the movie, that he loves baseball but sucks. “Squints” somehow ends up with Wendy Peffercorn so he’s out because the 10 year old in me is jealous. Kelly’s out because of makeup concerns. “Bump” Bailey’s dead. The rest of the cheaper guys are pretty “meh” to me. I saved up my money so that this outfield would be tremendous, so here it is: Benny the Jet is a 5-tool legend. How can you not want him on the team? Immediately, upon starting to make this team, I had $5 set aside for Benny. He’s the only $5 dollar guy I ended up picking, because one gets shot, and I don’t think his body can hold up with the bullet still inside it, and the other is a moody vampire who’ll probably spend the whole time glittering and annoying everyone with his constant complaining. I’d rather have “Yeah Yeah” than Cullen. Plus, they’re vampires, why are they using aluminum bats? They clearly don’t need the help. It’s just stupid. I had to pick Pannebaker too, because he’s the movie version of Andrew McCutchen on the Pirates when they sucked. He’s great, everyone knows he’s great, but the rest of the team sucks. Obviously, Cutch wasn’t as arrogant or annoying as Pannebaker, but I think the comp’s pretty fair. Lastly, Pedro Cerrano, swinging through curveballs all day. I don’t get why anyone throws him fastballs ever, but they seem to throw enough to let the power play, so I’ll give Cerrano a corner spot and let him hit home runs and sell All-State in his spare time. $3 left.
$5-Billy Haywood, LBL
$4-Ben Van Buren, Damn Yankees
$3-Jimmy Dugan, ALOTO
$2-Conor O’Neil, Hard Ball
$1-Morris Buttermaker, Bad News Bears
Last, and probably least important, is the manager. He’s really just there to keep the peace and not make incredibly stupid decisions during the game. With those as my only two qualifiers, I can immediately rule out Buttermaker. He’s an instigator. Plus, I don’t want him running my team if he can barely handle a Little League team. If I had the money, I’d be picking Billy Haywood here. He’s got a future in baseball. Despite being 12 years old, he displays a fairly good approach toward his players, and his tactical knowledge is beyond reproach. Besides, with him in charge, people will still becoming to games when the team is terrible, just to watch the little kid managing professional baseball. This isn’t the AL though, so it might be a little tougher for the kid. It’s a shame I didn’t have 2 more dollars. Instead, I have to settle for Jimmy Dugan. He can handle the team well enough (poorly, probably, but better than Buttermaker, so I’ll take it). He has carrots of wisdom he can pass along to the younger players though, and he’ll do well enough managing a big league team. It’s always been his goal of course. $0 remaining.
This team should be good. I’d throw it up against any other fictional team made up of players who were seemingly arbitrarily rated on a value scale from $1-$5. Power, speed, defense; my fictional team has some of those things. They just need to come together as a unit of fictional people to really solidify their place at the top of the fictional standings and make a run for the fictional championship.