Today was supposed to be the first day of the 2020 regular season. Obviously, that’s not happening, but it did give me an idea.
Since we all already set aside a few hours a day to watch something together (I still wish it were Cubs games), I thought we could fill the baseball void with some sports movies – set to the Cubs original 2020 schedule. So I set out to Twitter to find your favorites films, and was relatively overwhelmed by the response:
Your top-3 favorite sports movies (any sport) are …..
Need this for research. Please and thanks.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) March 13, 2020
With over 500 responses and 1,500 votes, we had a TON of movies to choose from, but only 32 spots to fill (I’m trying to stay optimistic). All the movies that received at least double-digit votes have made it onto the calendar and I filled out the rest with movies that I wanted to include for some variety and balance. And Teen Wolf. I wanted to watch Teen Wolf.
You can check out the full schedule at the bottom of this post.
With that said, replacing Opening Day was always going to be tough. So I went with the movie that received more votes than any other individual film: Major League (1989). With 50 total votes, Major League just barely out-paced The Sandlot (49 votes), and for good reason. Not only is it easily one of the best baseball movies of all-time, it also has some really interesting connections to the present-day Cubs!
For example, did you know that reliever Mitch Williams joined the Cubs in 1989 (the same year Major League was released) and earned the nickname “Wild Thing” because of his extravagant wind-up and release … and frequent wild pitches, just like Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen)? Williams even walked out to “Wild Thing,” played on the Wrigley Field organ, and eventually changed his jersey number to 99, the same number Vaughn wears in the movie!
And how about this? New Cubs Manager David Ross once re-enacted Major League … all by himself!
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 22, 2018
This 1989 classic is loaded with quotable lines, memorable moments, and one of the bests casts ever assembled in a sports movie (Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Bob Uecker).
But the thing I find most interesting is that it was written and directed by David S. Ward, who also wrote and directed The Sting, which won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), and nearly a half-dozen other Oscars at the 46th Academy Awards in 1974. That’s one heck of a talent behind the camera, and helps explain its critical and audience success of Major League (opened at #1 in the box office and has an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes).
Needless to say, this was a perfect pick for our first movie of the year. It’s not regular season Cubs baseball, but it’s something.
P.S. The team of focus in the movie is the Cleveland Indians. Fun fact: The Cubs beat the Indians in the 2016 World Series after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit. People forget that.
(Note: Some of the movies on this calendar are streamable on Netflix, Hulu, etc. (and some of you may even own hard copies on VHS or DVD!) I’ll be sure to mention it when they are. However, whenever they’re not available for free, I’ll share a link to the cheapest place to rent it in this section).
Major League (1989) – Thursday, March 26th at 1:10 CT on AMC On Demand (cable subscription required, but otherwise free) or on YouTube ($2.99) or on Amazon ($2.99).
Director: David S. Ward
Writer: David S. Ward
Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Critic Score, 84% Audience Score
Major League Cast:
- Jake Taylor … Tom Berenger
- Ricky Vaughn … Charlie Sheen
- Roger Dorn … Corbin Bernsen
- Rachel Phelps … Margaret Whitton
- Lou Brown … James Gammon
- Lynn Wells … Rene Russo
- Willie Mays Hayes … Wesley Snipes
- Charlie Donovan … Charles Cyphers
- Pedro Cerrano … Dennis Haysbert
With Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle.