By Carten Cordell
For baseball aficionados, Opening Day is revered on par with a holy day of obligation, so much so that Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith spearheaded an online petition to make it a national holiday.
The Washington Nats kick off their home opener April 4, until then here are five films to inspire you for Opening Day.
‘The Natural’ (1984)
If sports stars are the modern equivalent of mythologies’ heroes, then Robert Redford’s Roy Hobbs is our Achilles. The hero endowed with amazing baseball talent, Hobbs’ is nearly felled by a random occurrence, but manages to rebuild his career and take on his back the hapless New York Knights.
‘Bull Durham’ (1988)
Considered one of the best sports movies ever, “Bull Durham” is equally about baseball and life. Journeyman catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) is picked up by minor league team, the Durham Bulls, to mentor the dim-witted, but talented pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins).
‘Major League’ (1989)
“Major League” follows the rag tag roster of the Cleveland Indians as they try to win the franchise’s first pennant in 45 years. When owner Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) puts together a team built to lose so she can move it to Miami, the mismatched group bands together to turn the franchise’s fortunes. Warning: Clip may include faint 1980’s profanity.
‘Field of Dreams’ (1989)
Want to see a man cry? Pop in this flick. Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is compelled by an unseen voice to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. When the decision puts him in financial peril, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) appears, extending Kinsella’s faith to keep going.
‘The Sandlot’ (1993)
Set in 1962, this shows baseball at its most pure, played by children in a backyard lot. Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) moves to a new town and, in an attempt to fit in with a group of baseball-addled kids, takes his stepdad’s Babe Ruth-autographed baseball to play with. It gets smacked into the jaws of “The Beast,” and the group spends the rest of the film trying retrieve the treasure.