A few days ago, I was looking for a fun baseball movie to take in. I had heard that there was a Sandlot 2, though I didn’t know much about it. I figured it was as good a time as any to check it out, except that I ran into the tiny issue of the local public library not carrying it. I did find another movie along those lines, however: The Sandlot: Heading Home.
A sequel movie to the original Sandlot (I’m guessing this is a part three? It’s hard to tell without having seen part two), this installment features an older Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez as well as bringing back Michael “Squints” Palledorous. When the movie begins, we learn that Benny Rodriguez goes on to become manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the plot of the film actually revolves around one of his players, centerfielder Tommy “Santa” Santorelli.
Tommy Santorelli is a successful, but exceedingly arrogant, Major League ballplayer who has bounced from team to team in search of more money, more fame, and more success. During batting practice one day, Tommy gets hit in the face by a pitch, knocking him out cold. When he wakes up, he discovers that he is twelve years old again and the year is 1976. Tommy is back at the sandlot where he first started playing baseball during his childhood.
Tommy hesitates to join the sandlot team at first, unable to stop thinking of them as a bunch of kids, in spite of the fact that he is now a kid again himself. He finally does so, however, as it offers him an opportunity to get back at the town bully, EJ Needman. EJ also happens to be the son of a wealthy real estate agent who wants to buy the sandlot and develop the land for financial gain.
The sale of the sandlot is a contentious issue throughout town, with the vote split at an even fifty-fifty. The real estate agent, Earl Needman, proposes the issue be resolved by the all-city championship game, which is set to be played between Needman’s team and the sandlot team.
*Spoiler alert* (Not that the outcome of this movie would be any kind of surprise, but you know, just in case.) Of course, Needman’s proposal comes after he has already gone out of his way to speak to Tommy Santorelli, offering to put in a good word for him with a preparatory school with a good baseball program in exchange for switching teams. Tommy, thinking his entire future hinges on getting into the prep school, agrees to join Needman’s team.
The sandlot team is understandably upset by the betrayal. Before the championship game even begins, however, Tommy realizes his mistake, and he decides that the friendships he’s developed with the sandlot boys are more important than the fame and fortune his future would have held for him. He changes sides again, rejoining the sandlot team and helping them on their way to victory. After another mishap in which he gets hit in the head by yet another baseball, Tommy wakes up as an adult once again. Predictably, he’s a completely different man from the arrogant prima donna from the beginning of the film.
Overall, while this installment of the Sandlot series offers a nice twist via the time travel plot device, it remains quite formulaic. All the same, The Sandlot: Heading Home is still a fun baseball film, and heaven knows I can’t help but enjoy a decent baseball film.