How’s this for an All-Star team?
My ace pitcher is not only on the hill, he’s over it.
My center fielder is a Harley-riding, cigarette-smoking pre teen who refuses to be walked intentionally.
My setup man throws like Aroldis Chapman only because his tendons fused too tightly when his broken arm healed. “Funky buttloving!”
If the Hollywood Walk of Fame designated one section to baseball movies, the following characters would make up my roster.
If I had just one entire season to put this team up against anybody, I’d do it. Even if we went 0-162, it’d be difficult to find a more entertaining clubhouse than this one.
I’ve come up with a diverse cast of fictional baseball greats. Eighteen movies are represented on a team with 25 players and five coaches.
Adjust your ballcaps, dust off the DVD collection and let’s roll!
1. Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner, For Love of the Game): So much is on the mind of the Detroit Tigers’ 40-year-old right-hander — his girlfriend informs him that she’s taking a job overseas and he’s informed that he will be traded — but Costner’s character doesn’t crack. Heck, he doesn’t even realize he’s retired every single batter he’s faced until the bottom of the eighth.
2. Steve Nebraska (Brendan Fraser, The Scout): Another perfect game thrower, Nebraska orchestrated his in unrivaled fashion — 81 pitches, 27 strikeouts. Every pitch was a strike, and no one put the ball in play. Now, is it beginner’s luck or does this guy really pitch like a baseball god? His youth is the only reason he’s No. 2 on my staff.
3. Nuke Laloosh (Tim Robbins, Bull Durham): Another fiery, young gun. But for such a wild character who will sure keep the clubhouse loose, he sucks as an interviewee, thanks to tips from his minor league catcher.
4. Mel Clark (Tony Danza, Angels in the Outfield): Maybe not having the stress of being an ace on him will prompt Clark to put the cigarettes down. He could move up in the rotation if wing-flapping angels are with him.
5. Chet Steadman (Gary Busey, Rookie of the Year): Played by Busey before the actor lost his mind, Steadman is inevitably nearing the end of his career. Along with Chapel and Clark, Steadman anchors a quite elderly rotation, but I like a good chunk of wily veterans in my five. Plus, Steadman knows a good meal when he eats one: “One of the best salisbury steaks I’ve ever had in my life,” he says on an airplane.
Long reliever — Mike McGrevey (Scott Patterson, Little Big League): McGrevey revs it up and returns to form after 12-year-old Twins manager Billy Heywood asks pitching coach Mac MacNally, “What’s the going rate for an absent-minded pitcher who can’t get anybody out?”
Middle reliever — Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross, Major League): Harris is a true master of the doctored-up baseball.
Middle reliever — Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze Jr., Summer Catch): Then-Red Ken Griffey Jr. touches him up during his first week in the majors, and “Summer Catch” is nearly a romantic comedy, but the movie offers up enough baseball and Dunne offers up enough reason to give him a chance on the roster. Plus, it puts a lefty in the bullpen.
Setup — Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas, Rookie of the Year): What can I say? He gave every kid a reason to purposely try to break their throwing arms. The voice-cracking no-talent player who battled with “Windemere” for playing time with the Little League Pirates became the Cubs’ most dependable reliever and ticket-seller.
Closer — Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen, Major League): Sheen plays perhaps the most popular baseball character of all-time. Vaughn and his skull-and-crossbones specs will be bolting from my bullpen to “Wild Thing” in the ninth.
SS Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar, Sandlot): Beastdog Hercules was supposed to be chained up “forever,” as said best by Michael “Squints” Palledorous, but when he broke free from the chains, only Rodriguez had the wheels to outrun him.
CF Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley, The Bad News Bears): He thinks he’s the coolest kid in town, and he’s definitely the best athlete in the neighborhood. Leak is a great contact hitter and he’s got good speed.
RF Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford, The Natural): Nobody touch his Wonderboy!
LF Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes, The Fan): A three-time Most Valuable Player, can be a staple at cleanup as long as Robert De Niro isn’t in the stands anywhere.
1B Stan Ross (Bernie Mac, Mr. 3000): This was a close call. There happens to be several solid first basemen on the Silver Screen. Ross, though, is the best pure hitter, so he belongs in the starting slot.
3B Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen, Major League): We’ll have to keep Dorn and Vaughn separated, but we’ll leave that to the esteemed coaching staff. There’s no salary cap to this team, so Dorn can rake in the big bucks and be happy.
C Leon Carter (James Earle Jones, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings): Carter’s here for a few reasons. The character is based on Josh Gibson, maybe the greatest-hitting catcher ever — Gibson hit .359 and hit a home run every 16 at-bats in his Negro Leagues career — and he’s played by Jones, who was also in Field of Dreams and Sandlot.
DH Moonlight Graham (Burt Lancaster, Field of Dreams): I’m sort of breaking a rule, I guess, because Graham was an actual player for the New York Giants in 1905. He played in one game, and didn’t even step into the batter’s box.
2B Ellen Sue Gotlander (Freddie Simpson, A League of Their Own): Gotlander brings the girl power and the Ashland connection. She’s played by Freddie Simpson, the daughter of Fred Simpson, who is from Ashland.
C/UTIL Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis, A League of Their Own): Hinson is the first player off the bench, and nearly sneaked into the starting lineup. She’s a catcher in the movie, but she’s got exceptional baseball IQ and knows every position.
CF/UTIL Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes, Major League): Another Snipes sighting. Hayes will primarily be used as a pinch runner, because as his manager tells him, ‘You may run like Hayes, but you hit like s---.”
C Crash Davis (Kevin Costner, Bull Durham): Davis’ presence is a must to have around. He’ll mostly be used for charting pitches and acting as a second pitching coach.
C Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger, Major League): Like Davis, he’s aging, and he has weak knees, but the sheer ability to handle pitchers makes him important enough for this squad.
1B Lou Collins (Timothy Busfield, Little Big League): If he wasn’t robbed by Griffey Jr. in the one-game playoff at the end of the flick, Collins takes over for Ross as the starter.
1B Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck, Mr. Baseball): Elliot brings a contagious enthusiasm for the game along with his cultured ways after a stint in Japan. He and Steadman could debate who has the best mustache on the team.
Manager — Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau, Billy Bob Thornton, The Bad News Bears): “Baseball’s hard, guys. I mean, it really is.” Matthau’s Buttermaker would be my coach half of the time, with Thornton’s the other half.
Bench coach — Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own): “There’s no crying in baseball!” Between Dugan and Buttermaker, it will be a struggle to keep the clubhouse coolers fully stocked.
Pitching coach — Phil Brickma (Daniel Stern, Rookie of the Year): “The key to being a big league pitcher is the three R’s: readiness, recuperation and conditioning!” Keep him away from sunflower seeds.
Hitting coach — George Knox (Danny Glover, Angels in the Outfield): “One more loss! One more loss which could’ve been a win!” Knox’s rough exterior hides his heart of gold.
Bullpen coach — Lou Brown (James Gammon, Major League): “Give ’em the heater, Ricky!” Ah, the original Sweet Lou.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.
A season with the stars of the screen
How’s this for an All-Star team?
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Locals struggle to make impact
Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug.
It is a saying that proved to be all too true for Rowan County on Friday night at the KHSAA Class 2A State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Fairview senior Kennedy Womack wasn’t her consistent self in Saturday morning’s state tennis semifinals at the University of Kentucky’s Hilary Boone Tennis Complex.
As a result, the top seed fell to Lexington Sayre sophomore Madeline Rolph 6-1, 6-0.
Womack was obviously disappointed with her finish, especially after losing in last year’s state finals, but she was happy for her good friend Rolph.
If Fairview could have fielded a combined track and field team at Saturday’s Class A State Track and Field Championships, the Eagles and Lady Eagles would have had a record day. Instead, the Fairview girls had to “settle” for fifth, while the boys’ claimed 10th.
Womack eliminated in semifinals
Top-seeded Kennedy Womack was eliminated in the semifinals of the State Tournament on Saturday at the University of Kentucky tennis courts.
It looked for a while that a questionable call may have determined the outcome of the game, but in the end, it was just an afterthought.
Boyd County finds senior spark
Losers of four straight, Boyd County was searching for something positive Friday night before beginning postseason play Monday night.
Doubles teams head to semis at state tourney
With rain staying away, the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament got into full swing on Friday afternoon.
Semifinals and finals will be held today at the University of Kentucky Boone/Downing Tennis Complex for boys and girls singles competitions.
McKnight hurdling to Georgetown
Fairview’s Paige McKnight is known for jumping hurdles. She cleared a pretty big one on Thursday.
In front of friends and family at Fairview Elementary School, McKnight signed a letter of intent to run track for Georgetown College.
Several area schools will be represented at State Track and Field championships
Local track and field athletes are ready to try to carry region competition success onto the state stage.
Several area schools will be represented at this weekend’s State Track and Field championships at the University of Louisville. The Class 2A meet is set for today at 3:15 p.m. and Class A competition is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 8:15 a.m.
EAST KENTUCKY BASKETBALL HISTORY: Reflections on 'The Shot'
Paintsville High School legend J.R. VanHoose is also an eastern Kentucky basketball sports historian. This is one in an ongoing series of stories.
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