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Major League

"JUST a bit outside...."

Opening week of MLB 2024 is the perfect time to revisit some baseball movie classics. 1989's MAJOR LEAGUE is a hilarious box office hit that delivers big laughs every season.

Writer David S. Ward (The Sting, Sleepless in Seattle) also directs this time out, pitching a near perfect mix of comedy and heart.

The film opens with a morose Randy Newman song (no one sings morose like Randy!) over a montage showing decades of hapless Cleveland Indians teams.

Cellar dwellars for decades, new owner Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) has inherited the team when her husband died. Her number one goal is to get the hell out of Cleveland to Miami (who could blame her?) so she decides to pull together a team SO bad, they'll not just lose, but be one of the worst teams of all time. This will trigger an escape clause in the team contract allowing them to relocate.

It's a hell of a lot of fun watching her put together a team and coaching staff of has been, misfits and never-were players.

Charlie Sheen (Platoon, The Arrival) is hilariously unhinged as "Wild Thing" Ricky Vaughn, who can throw hard but who knows where its going?

Corbin Bernsen (Shattered) is Roger Dorn, the arrogant yuppie veteran on the team, coasting on his past success. His refusal to mess up his face is a riot.

Tom Beringer (The Big Chill) stars as Jake Taylor, a former great hobbled by bad knees. Taylor is the heart of the team and still madly in love with his college girlfriend Lynn, perfectly played by Rene Russo (The Thomas Crown Affair, Tin Cup) in her big screen debut.

Screen vet James Gannon (Silverado, Wyatt Earp) is hilarious as Coach Lou Brown, seeing something in this bunch of misfits long before they see it in themselves.

There are so many classic moments here.

An impossibly young Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes is lightning fast around the bases but king of the pop ups.

Dennis Haysbert is a long way from his beloved portrayal of President David Palmer in "24" as voodoo practicing Pedro Cerrano, who hits the crap out of a fastball when he's not lighting candles for the idol Jobu in his locker.

The highlight of the film is Bob Uecker as long suffering, heavy drinking announcer Harry Doyle. His perfectly executed lines are endless.

"Just a reminder, fans, comin' up is our "Die-hard Night" here at the stadium. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant."

"In case you haven't noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven't, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar."

"Heywood leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When this guy sneezes, he looks like a party favor."

Harry [before the playoff game] "Monty, anything to add?"

His color man: "Ummm... no."

Harry: "He's not the best colorman in the league for nothing, folks!"

I laughed out loud through every inning of this enjoyable comedy that nicely weaves in a bit of heart and a LOT of sports chills as the boys climb out of the cellar.

David S. Ward is actually a life-long Cleveland Indians fan. His inspiration for creating the movie was simply because he thought it would be the only way he would ever see the Indians actually win anything!

The film was a big hit in theaters, selling $50m in tickets against its $11m budget, and also became a staple on home video. It was followed by a theatrical sequel, "Major League II" in 1994.

MAJOR LEAGUE is a home run, loaded with laughs and great dialogue that never gets old, especially on opening day! We'll pitch it a very solid B+.

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