RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Baseball movies

The Bad News Bears

Posted on
Bad News Bears

Image credit: The Bad News Bears, 1976

I have absolutely no idea what’s happening in the world of professional sports right now, but I’m guessing things are not normal. If you’re missing your peanuts and CrackerJack, and starting to wonder if you’ll ever get back, then allow Cinema Sips to tide you over with a classic baseball flick, The Bad News Bears (Disc/Download). Featuring an alcoholic coach, a feminist pitcher, and a ton of salty language, this 1976 ode to Little League and Southern California will have you experiencing all the flavors of summer.

In this perfect time capsule of a movie, Walter Matthau plays Buttermaker, a retired Minor League pitcher and current pool cleaner of the San Fernando Valley. He accepts a gig coaching a team of all the kids who weren’t good enough to play on the existing Little League teams, thinking it’ll be an easy day in the dugout with a cooler full of beer. As the misfits and all their schoolyard problems start to get under his skin, he realizes he has an opportunity to give these kids a badly needed confidence boost. He recruits the talented Amanda (Tatum O’Neal) for her golden arm, motorcycle-riding delinquent Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley) for his stellar batting average, and brainy Ogilvie (Alfred Lutter) to help him Moneyball the heck out of this league. Buttermaker’s strategy works, and eventually the Bears start winning games. The script is genius, but it’s the realistic performances that make me come back to this film year after year. I feel like I get to journey back to an era where people went inside a Pizza Hut to have dinner without irony, and a towheaded kid named Lupus could mix you the perfect martini.

Speaking of alcohol, it’s kind of amazing that Coach Buttermaker could hand out brewskies to a group of eleven-year-olds after the game and it wasn’t all over social media the next morning. I’m sure he still got to keep his job, and I bet those kids didn’t even care that they lost. While watching The Bad News Bears, join in the fun with this Honey-Bear Shandy.

Honey-Bear Shandy

1 oz Vodka

1 oz Orange Juice

½ oz Lemon Juice

½ oz Honey Syrup (2 parts Honey to 1 part Water, boiled and cooled)

5 oz Hefeweizen Beer

Orange Slice for garnish

Combine vodka, honey syrup, orange juice, and lemon juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well until chilled, then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Add beer, stirring to combine. Garnish with an orange slice.

Honeybear Shandy

If you’ve ever known what it is to get picked last in gym class, if you’ve ever been underestimated because you’re a girl, or if you’ve ever felt like you’ll never live up to the expectations someone has for you, then you’ll probably relate to this film. I always say, I love baseball movies not because of the sport, but because of the sportsmanship. This year may be full of bad news, but we’ll always have the Bears. Cheers!

The Sandlot

Posted on
The Sandlot

Image credit: The Sandlot, 1993

The Sultan of Swat! The Titan of Terror! The King of Crash! The Colossus of Clout! THE GREAT BAMBINO! Like Smalls in this week’s film The Sandlot (DVD/Download), I grew up clueless about all Babe Ruth euphemisms. You mean he’s not just a candy bar?? , said my ten-year-old self.  I credit The Sandlot and A League of Their Own with teaching me everything a gal needs to know about faking her way through an interest in summertime baseball. This was of course a helpful skill if I was ever going to become the future Mrs. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.

With Stand By Me-esque narration and a realistic depiction of awkward blended families, The Sandlot is a great coming-of-age story set in an era when kids could just play ball for hours without worrying about being kidnapped or strangled on the way home. Their greatest danger was a drooling English Mastiff behind a rusted fence, and the wrath of an oddly quiet Denis Leary once he learned his Babe Ruth-autographed baseball had been lost. And everyone knows Leary’s a Red Sox fan. So… yeah. No real danger there.

After gaining valuable life lessons on teamwork, the dangers of chewing tobacco, and kissing a hot lifeguard, the kids manage to get into “the biggest pickle” and have to resort to creative problem-solving. So while watching The Sandlot, I recommend drinking a Dirty Pickle.

Dirty Pickle

4 oz vodka

1/2 tsp dry vermouth

2 tsp dill pickle juice

Small dill pickles for garnish

 In a shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, vermouth, and pickle juice.   Shake until chilled, then strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with a pickle spear.

dirty pickle

Who would have thought that 23 years later, I’d still be watching The Sandlot on a hot July day, hoping that nobody would make me go outside and play. Gotta say though, I’m glad to have graduated from a Fruitopia to a chilled cocktail. Cheers!