The Indians have traded their best pitcher, a Cy Young winner. If this season was not done before this, it is now. I will still be at the ballpark now and then, because we already bought the tickets. But it's going to be for the atmosphere, which I don't expect to be great this weekend in any case. But when I ask what to do now, I mean, how do we fill the time that might have been spent watching the Indians? No point in supporting a team which has traded two Cy Young winners. I think we'd all be better off watching baseball movies instead of games. Here are a few recommendations:
"Major League." Just the first one. The second is a decline, the third a waste. But at least the first one offers its pleasures, including the possibility of a rag-tag Cleveland team turning into a winner -- despite the owner's best efforts to sink the team. At least the latter part sounds like the '09 team.
"Bull Durham." Because no list of pleasurable baseball movies can exclude it.
"The Bad News Bears." The Walter Matthau original, of course. Another inspiring tale of bad players becoming a good team. But losing in the end, of course.
"Bang the Drum Slowly." Michael Moriarty. Robert DeNiro. Some of the best scenes of players off the field ever put onscreen. One of my favorites.
"The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings." Lovely movie, with its edges, about players breaking free. With Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James Earl Jones.
"Eight Men Out." Since I'm feeling cynical about baseball, how about a movie about cynicism in the sport -- by the owner first, and the players in reaction?
"The Scout." Often funny, very odd comedy with Albert Brooks as a scout who, disgraced, is sent to the middle of nowhere -- and there finds a phenom played with consummate daffiness by Brendan Fraser.
"61*." OK, it's about the Yankees. (So is "The Scout." Sorry.) But the Billy Crystal-directed chronicle of the Roger Maris-Mickey Mantle home-run race is a solid character piece. One sad element: It is framed by Mark McGuire's breaking of Maris's record, with its classy gesture toward the Maris family. Too bad McGuire's rep is now so tarnished. But I still choke up at that ending.
"The Odd Couple" reruns. All right, a stretch. But Oscar Madison WAS a sportswriter. And we could use some laughs. In fact, throw in "Arliss," the HBO comedy, which focused on a sports agent but included real-life stars from all sports. And was really good. Find if you can the episode with Ken Howard as a Mickey Mantle-like former player.
"Damn Yankees." The title alone demands its inclusion, at least as a counterpoint to "61*."
"Cobb." Not a great movie, but a stunning performance by Tommy Lee Jones in the title role.
That passes some time. Oh, and a late addition: The Costner "Untouchables," for the baseball scene. Any other thoughts?