Ten memorable baseball-themed scenes
Bad LieutenantPic’s opening title sequence features an atypical rant by New York sports radio legend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. As an imaginary season unfolds, the bad lieutenant (Harvey Keitel) loses so much money betting on the Mets that he shoots his car radio while sitting in Midtown traffic after Darryl Strawberry hits into a double play to end a game. The Cameraman In his first comedy for MGM, Buster Keaton plays an aspiring but inept cameraman who is constantly a day late and a dollar short. He goes to Yankee Stadium only to discover that the team is out of town. So Keaton performs a wonderful pantomime to amuse himself in the empty park. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off During a trip to Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Ferris (Matthew Broderick) and his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) chant, “C’mon batter, batter, batter — su-wing batter.” Their riff was as catchy as it was irritating and widely imitated by a generation of fans. French Connection II As Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) withdraws from heroin addiction in a dank Marseilles cell, he tries to explain the beauty of Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford to his French police department counterpart (Bernard Fresson). The Naked Gun Leslie Nielsen’s brief stunt as an effusive umpire is so spot-on that the scene is still replayed on JumboTrons in ballparks everywhere. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest After being denied the privilege of watching Game 1 of the 1963 World Series on TV by the wicked Nurse Ratched, an undeterred McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) announces the game to his cohorts anyway. In the Bedroom When grieving father Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) abducts his son’s killer (William Mapother), he drives the murderer into the woods. As they slowly approach their inevitable fate, a Red Sox game is playing on the radio. Although it is not an important game, the inherent tension of listening to baseball on the radio adds texture and dimension to the scene. The Odd Couple When Felix (Jack Lemmon) calls his roommate Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) in the press box at New York’s Shea Stadium to ask about dinner, Madison misses out on seeing a triple play. Roberto Clemente, the great Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder, was originally slated to be the batter who hit into the triple play, but he refused. The Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski performed the dubious honor instead. Radio Days One of the brightest moments in Woody Allen’s affectionate look back on the radio days of his youth is a story about a pitcher who continues to ply his trade even as he loses an arm, a leg and eventually, his eyesight. The Untouchables “Enthusiasms …,” Al Capone (Robert De Niro ) pays tribute to the great game of baseball, to the virtues of teamwork, before a black-tie meeting of his cronies. He then gives new meaning to the moniker Splendid Splinter as he takes a baseball bat to the skull of one of his stooges who has stepped out of line.
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