Released on April 7th, 1993, The Sandlot cemented its place in film history as the quintessential children’s sports movie.
The story goes like this: a group of kids in a small town spend their summer playing around a rundown baseball diamond they’ve christened The Sandlot. After welcoming a new dorky kid nicknamed Smalls into the mix, he gets himself in “the biggest pickle.” He smashes a baseball, signed by Babe Ruth, over a fence into a backyard guarded by a monstrous dog known as The Beast.
The film is set in 1962, and to many fans feels timeless; a perfect representation of America.
All season long, MLB will honor The Sandlot with everything from awesome merchandise to ballpark screenings. There’s even a special 25th anniversary Blu-Ray, which comes with Topps cards of the whole gang.
During spring training, the Milwaukee Brewers paid tribute to the cult classic, reenacting a famous scene from the film.
ICYMI: You're (still) killing me, Smalls. pic.twitter.com/257xYFkwdN
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 20, 2018
Now upon its silver anniversary, The Sandlot is still being embraced by a new generation of players.
Speaking with Todd Radom, a designer and brand consultant in the sports industry, he discussed the league’s promotion of the ‘90s film.
“It makes sense on a number of levels. The kids who grew up with this movie are now part of a coveted demographic. There’s really no learning curve or barrier to entry in making the connection, so it really represents a win/win partnership,” he said.
Digging even deeper, Radom pointed out iconic moments from the film that stood out from his branded eye.
“The inclusion of the original Los Angeles Angels cap. That really cements the connection to place and time for me. On another note, the fact that Babe Ruth is depicted without a Yankees “NY” uniform is a win. Ruth never wore the “NY” uniform as a player, so the authenticity is something to be commended,” he points out.
What about this film resonates with baseball fans of all ages? Radom was quick to explain.
“It’s safe to say but it’s true, the film has it all; nostalgia and friendship, the value of teamwork and aspirations. All of this was framed with sweetness, sincerity, humor, and a scary dog,” he summarized.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge dawned a shirt last season paying tribute to the movie and it went viral.
21 ball clubs are participating this season with movie screenings and minor league teams are getting in on the action as well.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders plan to honor the kid’s movie with a bobblehead giveaway, an appearance by Hamilton “Ham” Porter, and autograph signing July 28th.
Talking with Mike Ferrin, the Arizona Diamondbacks pre & post game host and MLB Network Radio contributor explained his admiration for the film and the league’s acknowledgment of its history.
“The reason teams got together to promote the movie is because it exemplifies our fondest memories of baseball. Those neighborhood games were a great opportunity to play, have fun, and enjoy baseball. There’s an innocence to that film that helps to romanticize baseball,” Ferrin said.
Another nostalgic fact is the connection adults have looking back on the film to our younger years.
“I love the fact the movie makes a big deal out of the things we thought were a big deal when we were 12, but really aren’t. I think it’s a big reason why the movie is so memorable; it captures a feeling we all can relate to,” he said.
Some of the most memorable moments of the movie come from the dog.
“When they’re trying to get the ball back from The Beast. The Timmy and Tommy Timmons collaboration, and Timmy’s line ‘We’ve been going about this all wrong. I blame myself’ is my all-time favorite. I can’t tell you how often I use it,” he reminisced.
Further details of this unique collaboration include co-branded merchandise available for purchase online and at retail stores, giveaways of the Blu-Ray film and The Sandlot-inspired PLAY BALL t-shirts that will be worn by players while taking batting practice during each club’s official PLAY BALL WEEKEND activation this season.
PLAY BALL WEEKEND features a variety of youth engagement activities and was designed by MLB to celebrate youth baseball & softball participation in communities throughout the country and in Canada. Also at select club themed nights and MLB events, the film’s director, David Mickey Evans, and members of the original cast will attend and participate in pregame activities. All clubs hosting a themed game are working with Boys & Girls Club of America to benefit local club affiliates.
The special 25-year anniversary Blu-Ray edition of The Sandlot is now available in stores across the U.S.
Friends and families looking to participate with their local ballpark can find more information and summer activation dates here.
As the Great Bambino said, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”