It’s a classic in the world of baseball movies and beyond: The Sandlot. And this month, April 2013, marks twenty years (!) since the release of this family comedy. As I re-watched the flick last night, I was reminded of seeing it for the first time in elementary school and thinking, like so many other kids my age, about how cool it would be to have that kind of summertime experience.
The Sandlot introduces us to Scotty Smalls, the nerdy new kid in town who manages to befriend the local sandlot baseball team. He meets Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, the town baseball star, who not only teaches Smalls the fundamentals of the game, but also secures his own status as the neighborhood legend as he helps Smalls out of the biggest pickle of his life.
It is a movie that continues to hold a special place in my memory, as well as in pop culture today. Who among us has not heard the phrase “You’re killing me, Smalls” in the last year? And even though I am speaking from a girl’s perspective, I’m pretty sure that even the guys in my class had unvoiced crushes on Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.
Then, of course, you’ve got James Earl Jones playing Mr. Mertle. Even though he only made a small appearance at the end of the film, there’s no denying that the movie simply would not be the same without him in this role. “I take it back. You’re not in trouble. You’re dead where you stand,” Mr. Mertle announced to Smalls, upon learning that the baseball, now chewed up by the Beast, was signed by one George Herman Ruth. He delivered the line perfectly, and the look on Smalls’ face was priceless.
So we’ve got baseball, a kid legend, a giant, killer dog, Babe Ruth, and James Earl Jones. What’s not to love about this movie? Here’s to you, Sandlot. Your legacy will, no doubt, continue to be celebrated for another twenty years… and beyond!
King, Matt. “The Sandlot 20th Anniversary: 20 Reasons It Was the Greatest Movie Ever Made.” Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 5 April 2013. Web. Accessed 11 April 2013. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1435469-the-sandlot-20th-anniversary-20-reasons-it-was-the-greatest-movie-ever-made/
“The Sandlot.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). IMDb.com, Inc., 1990-2013. Web. Accessed 11 April 2013. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108037/
“Top 5 James Earl Jones Roles.” Everything Action. EverythingAction.com, 17 September 2011. Web. Accessed 11 April 2013. http://www.everythingaction.com/2011/09/17/top-5-james-earl-jones-roles/