At the suggestion of my friends Mike (the biggest K-State sports fan I know) and Dan (whose birthday is today), I decided to focus on the world of sports on film this month. I am definitely missing sports right now and will forever be a little sad that I didn’t get to watch my Jayhawks take down the national title this season, so this feels both cathartic and appropriate while also making a neat parallel to our industry as we take a look at the lovable bunch of losers pulled together for Major League (dir. David S. Ward).
Major League is the story of the Cleveland Indians (shout out to our Ohio offices and my extended family), who have never won a World Series and the owner would like to move the team to Miami for obvious reasons. (The film pre-dates actual baseball being played in Miami, which pre-dates current times when no actual baseball is played anywhere, which pre-dates future times when there is a chance baseball is played almost exclusively in Miami. What a strange time we live in.) She decides that the best path towards relocation involves putting together the worst team imaginable and driving attendance so low that either nobody cares or nobody notices when she tries to move the team. It’s a fun and totally unrealistic premise that sets up a common theme in sports movies – the idea of rooting for the underdog.
Make no mistake – Major League isn’t a good movie (as you can see from my scores below), but it is most definitely a fun one. If you love baseball like I do – particularly if you are used to rooting for a losing team like most of us are – watching this movie might feel like reliving 2014 all over again (not 2015 because we only get to see as far as the winner take all, division tiebreaker game against Clu Haywood and the hated New York Yankees). You get to see an unconventional team filled with miscast players succeeding in their own way against all the odds. I feel like that sounds incredibly familiar here in the Kansas City area.
The roster is full of fun characters. It is mostly the story of Jake Taylor, the catcher portrayed by Tom Berenger, who is a fading player with ailing knees looking for one last shot and who becomes the team’s emotional leader. There is long-suffering and self-centered Roger Dorn (3B, Corbin Bernsen), who needs to be encouraged to try hard but ends up with a HUGE rally-starting single in the film’s final game. You also have Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughan (P, Charlie Sheen) throwing gas and starting hairstyle trends; Willie Mays Hayes (CF, Wesley Snipes) looking to steal 100 bases; Pedro Cerrano (RF, Dennis Haysbert) relying on voodoo to try to hit a curveball; and my favorite Eddie Harris (P, Chelcie Ross) putting whatever he can find on the ball to make it dance in the strike zone. They all come together under direction of gravelly voiced Lou Brown (James Gammon) and go right where you expect them to go in the end.
As a child I did not notice the notable difference in the retirement plans of Jake Taylor and Roger Dorn, but it really goes to show you how important it is to plan for your future as you never know when your metaphorical knees will give out, forcing you to be underemployed and “make the league minimum” as Taylor does. While not the point of the movie by any means, it ties in nicely to what we all do at Prosperity. Maybe now is a good time to check in on those financial plans with your advisor…
The dialogue is fun (though it tends toward adult language so be mindful with the kiddos) and the baseball is actually compelling. I legitimately believe Charlie Sheen can pitch well (though clearly he’s not hitting 101 on the radar gun). I buy Wesley Snipes as a speedster leadoff man. Corbin Bernsen would later star on several Rock n Jock softball teams, so you KNOW he is legit. If you miss baseball, you could do a lot worse than this late 80’s gem. One final note – this movie is noteworthy to me for the most misplaced credits song for any movie. Seriously, watch this movie and then explain to me why that song is chosen to end it. While being a perfectly delightful song, it makes absolutely no sense when compared to the movie you just watched.
https://www.justwatch.com/ indicates you can watch Major League on FuboTV for free or rent/buy it from any of several providers.