Baseball Movie Slugfest by Braves Journal – Comedy/Romance – Part 2

Part 2 will be Seeds 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5.

#3 Bull Durham vs. #6 Fever Pitch

Bull Durham (by Rob Copenhaver):

I actually hadn’t seen this until the tournament idea came about. The baseball part is pretty good: aging minor leaguer catcher is brought in to help “million dollar arm, 10 cent head” pitcher; hilarious hijinks ensue. And that part’s done well. “Nuke” Laloosh is a perfect name, and he’s played well by Tim Robbins. Crash Davis is played by Kevin Costner, who is actually playing in his second baseball movie. I thought it was the first, and you may think I’m flip-flopping this movie and Field of Dreams chronologically, but he was in a 1983 baseball movie called “Chasing Dreams“.

The romance part is interesting. The casting choice of Susan Sarandon is an odd choice; her age clearly tells you she’s going to “end up” with Crash Davis. Her initial monologue leads you to believe she “dates” A-ball baseball players (mostly young guys), but you’d think she’d be younger. That’s my only real gripe with the romance part. While forced at times, it’s an interesting component of the minor league life: the women that love to date baseball players for a season.


Fever Pitch (by Rob Copenhaver):

A cute romance comedy with some good baseball moments. Jimmy Fallon, in his only real starring role, plays a die-hard Red Sox fan and teacher who has season tickets to the Red Sox. He later meets Drew Barrymore’s character, who’s the cliche hotshot female executive, who realizes that Fallon’s character is the biggest baseball nut she’s ever met. Funny moments include Fallon’s character making his friends dance for Red Sox/Yankees tickets, and ::spoiler alert:: Drew Barrymore runs across the field at Fenway Park, using the real Johnny Damon as a human shield against the security guards, to keep Fallon’s character from selling his Red Sox tickets to please her.

Not only are there quite a bit of baseball moments in the movie, but there are also cameos by Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Peter Gammons, Harold Reynolds, and Tim McCarver. It also gives a lot of attention to the Curse of the Bambino. While a dorky romcom, the baseball side of it is pretty good.


#4 Trouble With the Curve vs. #5 Mr. Baseball

Trouble With the Curve (by snowshine):

An aging scout with failing vision is joined by his daughter on a scouting trip to North Carolina while evil executives connive behind his back. The Braves end up drafting a
turkey, but then get a great pitching prospect out of nowhere.

The best film ever because: Braves! It’s all Braves all the time, Eastwood is terrific as a crotchety codger scout while Amy Adams provides a surprisingly nice turn as his daughter. One scene was shot in Swannanoa, NC and I am an extra in the stands.

The worst film ever because: The plot is pointless, and more importantly, nobody involved in the making of the film understands baseball or how professional organizations operate or… well, you get the picture. The plot would make more sense if set in the 1930’s (without the draft, obviously). The entire thing is a screed on the superiority of scouts Vs stat nerds.


#5 Mr Baseball (by Alex Remington):

Other than The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, there have been almost no Hollywood movies about baseball outside America. So while baseball has quite a few underdog movies, and a reasonable number of dramas, biopics, and romantic comedies, Mr. Baseball is baseball’s only fish-out-of-water comedy. Tom Selleck plays a veteran who loses his major league job to a rookie (played by a 24-year-old Frank Thomas, just three years after the Braves decided to draft Tyler Houston instead of taking him) and has to take a job in Japan.

It’s not exactly Lost in Translation, but it’s a reasonably accurate portrayal of the Japanese baseball system that Bob Horner would have played in, before Hideo Nomo began to break down the barriers for good.


69 thoughts on “Baseball Movie Slugfest by Braves Journal – Comedy/Romance – Part 2”

  1. While we had problems with the Braves Journal version of the #2 vs. #7 poll, Twitter provided many responses. The first part were resounding victories for A League Of Their Own and Major League, which is no great shock.

  2. Polls are now working. I expect these to be closer, of course.

    I’ve got a post coming up about Kimbrel, but I think he gets something around 4 years, $70-75M if you use the Kenley Jansen contract as a comp. He’s worth it, he’ll be worth it (most likely) by the end, but I want the Braves to spend the money elsewhere.

  3. I just keep going back to Kakes for RF. The deeper it goes into the offseason, the more and more I think he signs a 1 year deal with someone, and he just has to play year-by-year for the duration. You give him more time off than last year, you hope for a really productive 450 PAs, he plays some left and right, gets Riley and Camargo into the lineup, and gives AA the type of position player arrangement that they do in LA.

  4. @5 That’s how I see it going.

    Fangraphs has Austin Riley at 19 home runs for next year. That seems high to me, but at this point a platoon of Austin Riley and Nick Markakis seems like a better option than anything else that’s out there, assuming Haniger is truly unavailable and Austin can be serviceable in RF.

  5. When I look at Kakes, I see ACHE — Garret Anderson, Cleanup Hitter Extraordinaire. Ever since his power deserted him, his limited skillset has made the margin between him and a replacement-level player ever thinner.

    Just so we’re clear:
    2015-2017 + June-Sept. 2018: .279/.355/.389
    April-May 2018: .333/.401/.505

    Other than the two magical months when both he and his brother-in-law Ryan Flaherty looked like All-Stars, Markakis has been a corner outfielder who hits like a shortstop.

    Between 2015 and 2018, among right fielders who qualified for the batting title, Nick Markakis’s OPS was 30th out of 45. Two spots above him on the list was Lonnie Chisenhall, who just signed with the Pirates this offseason for $2.75 million. One spot below him on the list is Robbie Grossman, who’s still an unsigned free agent; the Twins non-tendered him because they didn’t want to pay his salary in arbitration, which MLBTR estimated at around $4 million.

    Nick Markakis is a bench bat and he should be paid like one.

  6. @7 agreed. Cakes will probably produce about a .750 OPS again next year with range-limited defense, which doesn’t really scream “corner OF for a contending team”.

    Completely different topic – I am thinking of making a plan to fly to Arizona to meet a friend and watch a couple of Cactus League spring training games over a long weekend. I’ve never been to spring training (or to Arizona at all) – has anyone been and have any wisdom to share?

  7. 2015-2017 + June-Sept. 2018: .279/.355/.389
    April-May 2018: .333/.401/.505


    Neck is simply not the answer to any useful question. He had a hot start last year. The end.

  8. @8, great idea — definitely do that!

    1) Rent a car. Phoenix is Atlanta-esque in its sprawl.

    2) People go absolutely insane about Pizzeria Bianco, and the wait times are insanely lengthy. If you don’t mind long waits for food, it’s one of the best pizzerias in America and it’s a good pilgrimage destination. (I’ve pretty much just been to the downtown location, where there’s a bar next door — Bar Bianco — that you can hang out in while you wait. The other location probably has long waits too, but I know less about it.)

    3) Unlike Florida, the stadia are all basically within driving distance of each other. So you can easily see a few different games. You’re going to be driving on the highway and like Atlanta, pretty much everything is about 30 minutes from everything else.

    4) If you happen to be there on March 1, that evening you can go to the downtown First Friday Art Walk, which is something they do the first Friday of every month: It’s largely centered around a hip little neighborhoodlet called Roosevelt Row, which has a good coffee shop called Jobot and a live music bar called Lost Leaf. Plus nearby is a bar with a backroom arthouse theater called Filmbar and a location of Matt’s Big Breakfast, which is many people’s favorite breakfast place in Phoenix.


  9. What were his platoon splits against righties? And what if he didn’t play 160 games? It can’t go both ways that Ozzie was “worn down” in the second half playing 162 but Kakes “came back to earth”, which is only partially true.

  10. For his career, Neck hits righties about 80 points better than lefties, and last year it was 60 points better. Look — if we can bring him back for $2 million and he receives fewer than 300 PA, I’ll be a lot closer to being okay with him occupying one of the 25 roster spots.

    But Neck didn’t “come back to earth”; he got hot for a couple of months and then he returned to his extremely well-established level of performance. Albies is still learning the league, and while his power performance was always clearly going to be unsustainable, he doesn’t have a track record to point to: we’re still arguing over and figuring out what a typical Albies season looks like. A typical Markakis season looks like exactly what he’s given us for each of the last four years, with the singular exception of April and May of 2018.

  11. If you guys think it’s not possible for Adam Duvall to be “the answer”, you’re kidding yourselves.

    If they do bring Kakes back, his logical slot is leadoff. Even when he’s “bad”, he’s at an OBP of .355. With a .401 OBP, he’s even better. I can see every game next year beginning with a Kakes single followed by an Acuna HR. 2-0 every game……LOL.

    I also think there’s about 0% chance of signing Kimbrel. More and more major league teams are seeing “elite” closers as an opportunity to dump and receive top prospects as a result. Teams are willing to pay for “top tier but not elite” relievers but not more. Elite relievers are overvalued both in arbitration and in free agency. They make great trade bait, though, at this point. With all the statistical analysis pointing to using your best reliever in high leverage situations not necessarily closing, soon, saves as a statistic will be pretty arcane (a better statistic was developed by Nate Silver ).

    I would argue that trading Diaz this offseason was not a rebuild move but a strategic re-tooling. I am going to argue the same for the Kimbrel trade. Not a salary dump or a rebuilding move, but a strategic trade to cash in Kimbrel’s excess value.

    I also just realized that the Braves currently have the 14th most expensive reliever of all time on staff right now – O’Day. There have been only two 5-year reliever contracts ever issued and I doubt there will be another. The going rate for the best relievers right now is about the 3/39 max that Britton just got. Kimbrel may be able exceed that at 3/45 or 4/60 but it’s not likely he’ll do much better and the Braves will not pay even that. O’Day at his rate is likely untradeable without dumping a Gausman-like asset. And it could be that O’Day was the big reliever add.

    With all the talk about needing an OF. SP, and RP, has anyone considered that each of those needs was addressed at the deadline already (Duvall, Gausman, O’Day)? Is it possible the Braves won’t make another single move until the Realmuto situation is resolved (i.e. saving all our bullets for that one move)?

  12. What Alex said. With Albies, the approach should be “it is highly unlikely that the early season impersonation of Jose Altuve is his real production level, but it’s not impossible given his age.” With Neck, the approach should be “hey, look, this is what he’s done every month and every year for the past half decade, except for one notable hot streak that got him an All Star nod last year, so you should project the normal not the hot streak. Minus age related decline.”

  13. @13 No one has ever said it’s not possible Duvall is “their answer” to RF. It’s just that if they’re not going to legitimately try to contend next season, then when?

    Duvall isn’t any legit contender’s answer, so why would he be the Braves’?

  14. I see the polls and current results, but there does not appear to be a way to vote on this page. Not doing the twitter thing.

  15. Let me clarify. If we could get Nick’s career line vs. righties, .291/.368/.440, in 400 PAs split between left and right fields for around $6-7M, then I think that’d be a good addition. Otherwise, the non-Harper options are pretty much AJ Pollock at 4YR/$60M or something like that. This would also free up more money to spend elsewhere, and there’s still enough on the FA and trade market tables that short of signing someone like Pollock to a multi-year deal, it may be difficult to get adequate corner outfield production.

  16. Rob’s original idea was good. If we’re lucky, we don’t give up much to get Castellanos.

  17. Kirk, for whatever reason, the polls keep wanting to close themselves. They’re open. Vote away.

    Showing the difference in age groups between Braves Journal and the Twitter machine, Mr. Baseball is leading here and Trouble With the Curve is leading on Twitter. I tell ya, the kids just go coocoo for that Justin Timberlake.

  18. Bama, but only because I’m a Bama fan. I would give them a 55 percent win chance. 42 to 38. Bama has to pressure Lawrence to win.

  19. Trouble With the Curve…Clint Eastwood! Amy Adams! Braves baseball! It sucks! Sooooo bad!!!!

    That movie was so terrible I started to hate watch it about half way through. It’s an offense to baseball and the superior headline talent starring in it and all prints should be destroyed.

  20. @15 So what you’re saying is that Gaus and O’Day are OK as the TOR addition and shutdown reliever addition, but Duvall is not OK as a slugging OF? I dunno. If you buy the Duvall from before last year then everyone would be ecstatic with that so it’s just a matter of whether he is who he was last year or will be what he was before that.

    I actually think that’s what AA was trying to do at the deadline – head off the competitive offseason but making his moves in July. The signings he made so far were obviously against no competition. I believe that AA may think that any trade or signing that is competitive may be universally low value. He is ready to stand pat, but will strike late in the offseason for any deal where he can buy below market. And that starts with MIA coming out their delirium and making a reasonable deal.

    I am firm in my belief that there will be not a single FA signing – none – until the “big trade” is completed (maybe minors but not majors but even those seem to be non-existent at this time). And if big talent prospect pitching is not going to get us there then the Braves are in real trouble.

  21. Gausman replaces Anibal. Fine.

    There is literally no outcome in the range of what’s possible with Darren O’Day that would surprise me. Actually I take that back — it surprises me every damn time I see that O’Day is a righty because how is a reliever named Darren O’Day not a lefty? It’s just not natural.

    The problem with making AA out to be some kind of forward-thinking genius for acquiring Duvall is that Duvall is not only mere replacement level trash, he’s trash in exactly the way anyone could’ve predicted a couple seasons ago that he’d be trash by this point. Maybe the BABIP gods will favor him more. That’s all you can ask for. Surprise me, Duvall.

  22. I was wrong about Bama Clemson but also right. I said we had to pressure their qb to win and we didn’t. I also underestimated Venables as a defensive coordinator. The better team and the better coached team won.

  23. Maybe he’s been a lefty the whole time and just doesn’t realize it. Someone should tweet at him.

  24. @26 Possibly, yes. If we’re looking at areas for improvement on the team, the pitching is more likely to work itself out than the offense. I think I’ve said all along that if we do nothing at SP and C, then we absolutely must find improvement in OF. Of course, if we land the coveted Realmuto, the OF is forgivable.

    If the Braves stand pat with the public message that they believe they already addressed SP, RP, and OF with the moves at last year’s deadline, it will send a negative message to the fans. What we’ve really done this offseason is spend the money that came off the books. Not a dime more.

    If that does occur, how would you grade the front office for the offseason?

  25. I don’t like to be someone who harps on the negative all the time. I love this team and always will. I just can’t shake the feeling that we’re misled on the organization’s intention to spend. It’s like they declared a war on drugs or terrorism by stating they’re only interested in “good value.” What is that? Is it anything like Great Value (TM)? Because I’ve seen some good deals pass us by on the way to our rivals. In that sense, I feel like they’ve avoided lying to us by telling us they can spend, but they’ll only do it if a rare unicorn becomes available.

    Too bad for us the unicorns went extinct a long time ago, or possibly never existed in the first place.

  26. The wars on both drugs and terror would have been much less stupid and categorical failures if they’d been done for “value.”

  27. The team doesn’t care about its fans, and they show their contempt for them at every turn. I am a group leader for a company Braves night, and the tickets went up $5.00 each from last year. Chop Fest has Acuña only signing pre-printed artwork for $100, as well as Dansby of all players costing $100 to get an autograph. I love the laundry and always have, but I don’t like them much anymore. I must say their ability to get fans spouting the party line of “We’re so poor!!!” is astounding. This is supposed to be the year. If Duvall or Markakis man a starting position, I think I’m done. I have better things to do with my time.

  28. I’m still optimistic that we’re going to do some spending before April. I just think the front office is willing to gamble talent quality for value late in the offseason. It’s just a big gamble.

  29. @38

    The fan adherence to the party line is what astounds me. This should be the offseason when people are demanding that the team start spending. The fact that there’s apparently no interest in Harper, for instance, should cause borderline outrage.

    Instead, we have a bunch of fans spouting crap about how they don’t want Harper because he’ll hamstring the team later (when all it would take for that to not happen is for the team to spend more money), that they’d be OK with spending less this offseason because that leaves more money available for in-season acquisitions (And who says they’re gonna spend it then? I’m sure the next offseason will be a consideration by that point, gotta save some money for that!), not to mention the army of ditto heads at TC who jump all over anyone who dares suggest that Liberty Media (the owner of the freaking team) has anything to do with how much money the team is allowed to spend.

  30. @38 @40 Wipe away your hate for executives and corporate owners and see what the real deal is here. Right now, this is about roster spots and dominoes. When the Braves get someone to agree to a trade that is palatable, more moves will come.

  31. In this case, I buy the Braves’ explanation that more than $300 million over 10 years (forget about the inevitable opt-outs for now) for a player who’ll accrue something like 25 WAR over that span is all well and good… like, it’s fine, it’s market rate, and it is concentrated in one position, which is nice… but it’s not the be-all, end-all. There are other ways to add 25 WAR over 10 years that don’t cost that much.

    29 teams are not going to sign Bryce Harper this offseason. It’s definitely not the case that there’s just one team in MLB that wants to win and cares about their fans.

  32. How many of those 29 teams are expected to contend and potentially going to stand pat with Duvall or Markakis starting in the OF?

    It isn’t just about Bryce Harper. There are and were other solutions for replacing Markakis than either Kakes or the bench bat we picked up last July…….

  33. @43 And every year there’s a new player to swoon over. The Boras Corporation (if you want to hate a corporation) has been able to convince a portion of literally every team’s fans every year that if their team doesn’t sign ::insert best FA every offseason:: that their team doesn’t care enough. And even though Machado is not his client, he can still use Machado to further paint every team in a bad light.

    Irrelevant, but I love Harper’s year-to-year WAR totals (last 5 years): 1.1, 10, 1.5, 4.7, 1.3. It’s like he forgets how to play baseball every couple of years, only return with sometimes vengeful fury. But regardless, he’s a transcendent player, just one who will happen to find a way to be overpaid this offseason.

  34. @44 If they sign Kakes, it will only be because they significantly improved the roster elsewhere by spending money you would think otherwise had been allocated to an outfielder. If they sign Kakes and don’t significantly improve the roster elsewhere, then I’ll grab the pitchforks with you.

    I definitely hate how the offseasons go, but at the end of the day, you can’t control when teams choose to make deals.

  35. I love the assumption that Bryce will “only” cost 10 years for $300 million as well. I don’t buy all the reporting, but he reportedly turned down 10/300 from Was. We could be talking 12/420. Of course the 10/300 could be a smokescreen and we all wind up surprised that Bryce has to “settle” for 8/200.

  36. And the 10YR/$300M was supposedly back in September, so you really just don’t know what to believe.

    Can anyone explain the significant difference in Harper’s bWAR and fWAR? I don’t see such wide disparities often.

  37. Looks like Fangraphs likes his baserunning a lot more and hates his fielding a little less. Plus, FG has a league adjustment (“to zero out wins above average”) that BRef doesn’t seem to have, so it’s possible that Harper derived mild benefit in FG’s numbers from being in the Senior Circuit, though it only added up to about a run a year. All those combined to somewhere between 0.5 and 1.5 wins discrepancy.

    At the end of the day, it’s directionally very similar but FG likes him better. And so I understand Adam’s argument, that a team can both want to win and want to spend its money differently.

    However, as a Braves fan, I personally want them to deliver a truckload of money to his house.

  38. @45, 47. Admittedly susceptible to some sss arguments, but it is worth pointing out that in less than half of those years did he provide excess value to the yearly average of the contract he is going to probably get this year, much less the one he is demanding. And although young for a free agent he is at the point where he is probably not going to take a big step forward and will probably be much less productive by the end of even an eight year contract.

  39. I’m really bad at predicting this stuff.

    But I’m betting he signs in February, and he probably badly wants a total dollar value above Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million extension because that “most expensive contract ever” cred seriously burnishes his brand.

    So… I dunno, $340 million over 10 years?

  40. @36. Sam, I often appreciate your contrarian views and sometimes agree. But as someone who until very recently spent 28+ years serving in our nation’s finest, much of it in the anti-terrorism world, and still have close family members and close friends doing just that, if you think our nation’s efforts against terrorism have been a categorical failure, then you really are completely ignorant about what goes on in that world and should just shut the f up and stick to something you know a little bit about or purely opinion matters.

  41. I have a friend in Cinny that says there is a rumor floating around there that a Inciarte/Teheran for Winker/Puig deal is being discussed.

  42. @54 – You fail to understand the point of a value proposition. If every single dollar spent in the ‘war on terrorism’ since 9/11 had been spent instead on early childhood education and public schools the nation would be far more secure simply because the greatest threat to its future is its electorate. As value propositions the wars on drugs and terrorism are the very definitions of abject failures.

  43. My apologies, everyone. I only made a reference to those two things as a means of conveying how vague and elusive the actual finish line is for our search for “good value.” Meaning, I feel like we may never reach the point of “good value” this offseason. The search will go on. And on…

  44. @55 That deal will never happen unless there is something else to it. It’s not an awful deal but it does nothing to help with the roster jam. The Braves MUST deal from pitching. A better deal for the Braves would be Teheran, Pache, and one or two ML-ready pitching prospects for Wood and Puig. The worst you can say about it is that Pache has a huge potential to become Billy Hamilton. But the Reds have 4 SP right now so trading one to get two or three would be a decent deal.

    Here’s another poke for everybody. Braves are still in it to win it.

    I am still for a Realmuto trade but I would rather not include Riley. I’d rather see something like Newcomb, Wright, Gohara, Jackson, and Alexander/Jenista for Realmuto and a good reliever. Eventually, the Marlins will have to get a pitcher to replace Fernandez. Pache will not get anywhere with the Marlins as he could be a clone of Brinson. Maybe Waters to replace a pitcher and Alexander/Jenista in the trade.

    I think one of these two trades will be exactly the one to complete the offseason and break the logjam for the Braves.

    Donaldson is only controlled for one year. Riley is the long term answer at 3B. He cannot be traded. The Braves will not go out and sign Arenado any more than they will sign Machado.

  45. And, no disrespect intended here, but why would someone of the Mormon faith need a mistress?

  46. @62 That’s a lot for two years of Realmuto and any reliever Miami could trade us. That’s probably a little too high of an offer.

  47. @65 Yeah, I know, but it seems like an overpay will be required and the “correct” overpay should not hurt us too much. We have to have a way for the Marlins to laugh at us and tell us how they got over on us. There is every reason to believe that Realmuto would re-sign with us if we win over the next two years and he plays well. If he flops, we have Contreras waiting in the wings.

    Further, I think that pitchers are not valued as highly as hitters so it may take more pitching to get the hitters we need.

  48. if analogies be drawn
    in an area foreswarn
    then best to tell the reader
    who she is and who’ll succeed her.

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