Although sports are not really my thing, baseball has an atmosphere and ritual that I have always found appealing. As a kid I would listen to the Tigers on the radio with my grandma, during my pre-teen years, my friends and I screamed and cheered during games at the old Tigers stadium (while the parents who chose to bring us regretted their decision) and prior to this season, I enjoyed annual Father’s Day Mud Hens games with my in-laws. The camaraderie, spirit and excitement of the game are as integral to summer as fireworks and sunscreen.
It is not easy to recreate the feeling of being out at the game. The best you can do this year, I suppose, is to try the following:
Set up a lawn chair in direct sunlight on a hot day, juggle several snack items like a hotdog, popcorn and a cold drink on your knees and ask your family members to walk in front of you in close proximity, repeatedly for 3 hours.
If that does not work for you, check out what Hoopla has to offer on the subject:
How an average baseball film becomes one of the best sports films ever made. The Natural is a feature length documentary celebrating its 30th anniversary – it is history and the moving forces behind it.
The original film was based strongly on Bernard Malamud’s highly acclaimed 1952 novel of the same name and stars Robert Redford as a naïve, gifted-but-flawed up-and-coming baseball phenom Roy Hobbs, a baseball player who has immense yet unrealized potential… and who later in life still has the means of being the greatest player anyone ever saw take the field.
The incredible true story of the underdog foreign Little League team who inspired two nations. Clifton Collins Jr. stars as Cesar, who returns to his native Monterey, Mexico after his major league career is cut short. Impoverished baseball-loving kids recruit him to coach their rag-tag team. Together, they beat the odds and overcome hardships and bigotry to compete in the 1957 Little League World Series.
Boxoffice Magazine proclaimed it “inspiring, richly entertaining, heartfelt…and a perfect family movie.”
The Benchwarmers tells the story of three guys who try to make up for their lack of athleticism when they were younger by forming a three-man baseball team to challenge a full squad of elementary school baseballers.
They develop a large following of left-out kids as they head for a high-stakes, winner-take-all game with the best team of kids in the state.
Ken Burns’ Emmy-winning documentary, already over 25 years old (1994), comprehensively covers the history of baseball, from its pre-American Civil War origins up to the mid-‘90s. Over nine episodes (innings), you have the opportunity to immerse yourself within historic photos, recordings, newsreels and first-person accounts of all things baseball: managers and owners, announcers and fans, stadiums and equipment, and of course, iconic players and teams.
Although at times skewed heavily towards the Northeast (think New York, Boston and Philadelphia), you’ll find much to learn about the likes of everyone from Babe Ruth to Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial to Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose… and so many more.
To view this series in its entirety is to understand how baseball, like Burns’ other documentaries “Jazz” and “The Civil War,” are without doubt a major influencers of and majorly influenced by this country’s collective history.
Co-written by Tim Hagen, adult services coordinator:
Tim enjoys watching classic movies, reading fiction and graphic novels, building all-things LEGO, exploring architecture, spending time with family…and squeezing in a long run when time (occasionally) allows. His kids and wife graciously tolerate his quirky sense of humor.