Last night Kish and I were watching TV and doing some channel-surfing when I stumbled across Major League on HBO. Of course, I had to stop and watch it.
Everyone has movies they feel compelled to just sit and watch. For me, Major League is one of those movies. I’ve seen it dozens, if not hundreds, of times, yet still the silly story about the misfit gang of Cleveland Indians who improbably find success makes me laugh. I think it is because I well remember the dark days of the ’70s and ’80s when awful Tribe teams played in decaying, cavernous Municipal Stadium before tiny crowds, and therefore the movie’s plot line about an evil owner who tried to lose in order to have an excuse to move the team to another city has always seemed plausible. When the movie came out, long-suffering Indians fans like me loved it, because it was the visualization of what was then a distant, unlikely dream.
Of course, the fact that the movie is crass and hilarious doesn’t hurt, either. It’s one of the best sports movies ever made. Except for an out-of-place romantic plot line involving catcher Jake Taylor and his former girlfriend, every set piece and plot line was perfect — from Jobu-worshipping slugger Pedro Cerrano to speedster Willie Mays Hayes to whiskey-swilling announcer Harry Doyle and gravel-voiced manager Lou Brown — and, especially, to fireballing, near-sighted Wild Thing Ricky Vaughn. His entrance to pitch the Tribe out of a jam in a playoff game remains a classic scene (even in dubbed Italian):