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‘Sandlot’ holds true two decades later

Baseball classic for all audiences

The+original+cast+of+the+film%2C+which+still+resonates+with+audiences+to+this+day.
The original cast of the film, which still resonates with audiences to this day.

The original cast of the film, which still resonates with audiences to this day.

The original cast of the film, which still resonates with audiences to this day.

Grant Roberts, Editor-in-chief

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In the 1993, cult classic The Sandlot actor Art LaFleur (portraying the great Babe Ruth) gives a memorable quote to Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in the film’s turning point dream sequence: “Everybody gets one chance to do something great in life. Most people never take the chance, either because they’re too scared–or they don’t recognize it when it spits on their shoes.”

Keeping this quote in mind, I recognized a once-in-a-lifetime chance after reading that the coming-of-age comedy, my favorite film as a child, was being shown at the Harkins Cine Capri in Scottsdale for one night only.

This is a movie that’s impacted almost everyone born in the early-80’s onward, regardless of whether or not they like sports. On the surface, it’s a film about kids playing baseball. Underneath, it’s a film about the innocence of childhood, friendship, facing your fears, and yes, the magic of America’s national pastime.

It’s the film that taught us to beware the dog next door, that there are certain lines you don’t cross with the lifeguard, that “you play ball like a girl” is the lowest blow you could give to a rival opponent. And of, course, it taught us who exactly Babe Ruth was:

*Cue little boy voices* “The Sultan of Swat!” “The King of Crash!” “The Colossus of Clout!”

“The-Great-Bam-bi-no!”

For me personally, this film is the reason I love baseball the most. The first time I was introduced to it was in elementary school, shortly after I finished a season of youth baseball. The team celebrated by going out for ice cream after our last game, which I couldn’t make due to a family event. Our coach handed out DVD copies of The Sandlot, proving that the film touches an audience of all ages.

As I wasn’t there, I came close to missing out on the chance to be introduced to it. Thankfully, my friend/neighbor was also on the team, and his parents saved my copy and gave it to me the next day. If it weren’t for them, it would have been years before I would see the life-changing film that is still invokes nostalgia to this day.

I didn’t even like baseball at the time, I wasn’t that good at it. If anything, I was happy that the season was over. I watched the film only on the basis that I loved (and still love) movies, that was the only reason.

By the time the credits were rolling, I knew that I had found my new favorite movie. It was so innocent, so simple, so fun; I’d never seen anything like it. From that point on, I liked baseball a whole lot more, even though I never improved much skill-wise. The great thing about sports, though, is that there will always be more fans than players. Though my Little League glove has been gathering dust in the garage for quite some time now, my love for the game will never die.

I’m only one of millions who’ve been deeply impacted by the film. Senior Kelly Lotzar described it as the film of a generation. “It’s a timeless film, one I know I will attempt to show the magic of to my own children–one that I will have no problem remembering the name of in a game of Trivial Pursuit 20 some years down the road.”

As much as the film meant to me in my youth, I didn’t really know what to expect as my dad and I pulled up to the Cine Capri. Films that were enjoyed by children don’t always hold up when those children grow up and watch it out of nostalgia all those years later. I had seen parts of the film in different times throughout my adolescence, but had not seen the complete film since elementary school. On top of this, my taste in film has grown much more mature since the years of my youth. I wasn’t sure if a comedy about kids playing baseball would mean as much to me as it used to.

Of course, my doubts disappeared once the movie started. The memories came rushing back to me like a flash flood. I remembered all the classic lines, and all the moments that still made me laugh all those years later. The line “You’re killing me, Smalls!”, which is said multiple times throughout the movie, had me grinning from ear to ear.

I realized then why this film has found it’s way into so many people’s hearts in the 20 plus years it’s been around. The film epitomizes innocence, and inspires us to go seek out fun with friends. Similar to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the film makes us wish we could do the things that the characters do in the movie. Everyone wants to be as cool as Ferris Bueller, and wants to ditch school and go have fun with friends downtown.

After seeing The Sandlot, everyone wants to take on “The Beast,” to tell scary stories in a tree house while eating s’mores, and to spend every hot summer day pretending to be major league sluggers while on a baseball field with friends.

Although my days of playing baseball are long behind me, my days of loving movies will never end. My experience of seeing a staple of my childhood (and my life, really) on the big screen so many years later was one that I won’t forget.

The best films are the ones that are still enjoyable and meaningful so many years after they initially are released. The Sandlot has been inspiring the young and the young at heart for more than two decades, and it shows no sign of losing its edge any time soon. To quote Art LaFleur as the Babe: “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

A legendary feat itself, The Sandlot will be adored by baseball fans and movie-lovers until the end of time. It’s magic will resonate with audiences, as the character Squints would say, “For-ev-er!”

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Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints
‘Sandlot’ holds true two decades later