Sep 11, 2023

You're Killing Me, Smalls!

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

The Sandlot
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
Sunday was a baseball day for me.  I spent the afternoon watching the Phillies with my dad and the evening watching one of the greatest baseball movies of all time on 35mm at the drive-in.  The game started off really well with Ranger Suarez taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning, but he gave up a walk and back-to-back doubles that broke up both the no-hitter and the shutout, after which the bullpen wasted no time in blowing the game.

There are days when this team gives me hope that they can return to the World Series and days when they make me thing that the safe bet is that they'll get swept in the first round of the playoffs.  This game was the latter.  Thankfully, the night game on the big screen worked out much better.

The Sandlot premiered in theaters in April 1992.  I was twelve years old at the time and lived in South Florida.  I played for a Little League team in Boynton Beach during the summer and for a team in the Okeeheelee Athletic Association in West Palm Beach during the winter that year.  In other words, I was exactly who the makers of this movie were hoping to get to come out to the theater, but I didn't see it in the year that it was released.  I'm not even sure if I knew it existed at the time.

In the years that followed, I became vaguely aware that this movie was out there, but the only thing that I knew about it was the title and that it was a movie about kids and baseball.  I didn't sit down to watch it until I was in my mid 20's when I picked up a previously viewed copy on VHS that was sold by Wegmans Home Video, which was a rental shop inside of a grocery store in Wilkes-Barre.  I loved it the first time that I saw it, but I only watched it once or twice, so the only thing that I remembered about this movie as we pulled onto the lot was that a dog got ahold of a baseball that was signed by Babe Ruth, and the ending of the film (which I won't spoil here).

I wouldn't hesitate to call The Sandlot of the greatest baseball movies of all time when it came up in conversation, but the truth is that I've forgotten how wonderful this film really is.  I feel bad that I missed out in seeing this on the big screen when it was in theaters the first time around because I think that the younger me really would have loved it.  Better late than never!