Friday’s Den: My running diary of the first round of the NFL Draft

If I never hear the term “mock draft” again, it’ll be too soon. Seriously.

Welcome to my running diary of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, which is being held in Las Vegas. Originally, Las Vegas was supposed to host the 2020 Draft and I was supposed to be there, but the world had a different idea, with the pandemic and all, so here we are. I’m in my living room, a good place to be and a lot more affordable than Las Vegas this week.

Jacksonville has the first pick, thanks to the Urban Meyer debacle.

I’m watching the NFL Network feed; I’ll watch ESPN on Day 3 Saturday, in deference to Mel Kiper Jr but I’ve lost some enthusiasm for ESPN the last few years.

There are A LOT of people outdoors by the stage where I’m assuming the picks will be announced. A lot, as in maybe 100,000 or so.

8:06— Roger Goodell takes the stage, to mixed reviews. Can we start this already?

8:17— Jacksonville is on the clock; they hired Doug Peterson as their new coach, a huge upgrade from last year. With the first pick, Jaguars take Georgia’s Travon Walker, an edge rusher.

Why does Goodell get booed all the time? So what he makes $30M a year, as a spokesman for 32 really rich people. He seems like a decent guy.

Goodell trivia: When Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Goodell’s father Charles Goodell took Kennedy’s place as a US Senator.

8:21— Detroit Lions take edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson from nearby Michigan; the last time defensive players were the first two players taken in a draft was in 2000.

Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 2016; in the 56 years of the Super Bowl era, Detroit is 1-12 in playoffs, with lone win in 1991.

8:27— Houston takes LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr, whose dad played Arena Football for the Albany Firebirds; his grandfather Darryl was a terrific WR for New England whose career ended tragically when he was paralyzed in a 1978 preseason game.

8:34— Jets are up next; they take Ahmad Gardner, a DB from Cincinnati. The green room for this draft seems more like an auditorium than a room. Gardner took a wrong turn going from the Green Room to the stage. He is 6-2, almost 6-3, very tall for a corner.

First four picks are defensive players.

Hey there is Hall of Famer Kurt Warner on NFL Network; he made the Hall of Fame despite not being drafted coming out of Northern Iowa. 

8:41— Giants select another pass rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon, who Daniel Jeremiah comps to Shawne Merriman, the old Chargers star. Since 2015, Thibodeaux is the 5th Oregon Duck to be taken in the top 7 of the draft.

Random question: When do the Super Bowl champs pick? Oh yeah, the Rams don’t have a first round pick until 2024- their last first round pick was in 2016 (Jared Goff).

8:46— Carolina Panthers have the wealthiest owner in the NFL, David Tepper, who is worth $16B or so. Thats billion, with a B. Carolina doesn’t have another pick until the 4th round; with the 6th pick, they take Ikem Ekwonu, an offensive tackle from NC State.

If you bet over 3.5 in quarterbacks drafted in first round, you might be in trouble.

8:53— Giants are up again, the first of eight teams with multiple first round picks; they take Evan Neal, a tackle from Alabama, so he is used to winning. Giants have made the playoffs once since 2011; they need guys who are used to winning.

Giants got this pick from Chicago last year, when the Bears wanted to draft Justin Fields. 

Eight teams don’t have a first round pick tonight, including the hometown Raiders.

9:00— Atlanta Falcons are 35-46 since losing the Super Bowl in overtime 5+ years ago; they take USC WR Drake London, giving newly-acquired QB Marcus Mariota a target. They show London dunking a basketball in high school; he probably shoots free throws better than Ben Simmons.

Charles Davis comps him to Larry Fitzgerald, a pretty huge compliment.

Words you hear on draft night, but rarely any other time:
— Upside
— Catch radius
— Physicality
— creating separation

9:09— Seattle Seahawks are up next; right now their QB would be Drew Lock, but they obviously don’t have a game for four months. If I was a Seahawks fan, would I be happy that they traded Russell Wilson? I’m not a Seahawks fan, so its none of my business.

Seattle takes Charles Cross, another SEC tackle (Mississippi State); he goes from playing for Mike Leach to Pete Carroll. Maybe they should’ve drafted offensive linemen when they had Wilson, who is a Hall of Fame quarterback.

I like it better when the people in a team’s draft room aren’t all in shirts/ties; Seattle’s people are all dressed casually. It is a football team, not a damn hedge fund operation.

9:13— Jets are up again; 4 of the first 13 picks go to the Garden State. Jets were minus-13 in turnovers last year, which isn’t good. Jets made AFC title game in 2009 and 2010, the Rex Ryan era; they haven’t made the playoffs since then. 

Jets take WR Garrett Wilson, a WR from Ohio State. Are teams in cold weather areas more likely to draft a player who has played in cold weather in college?

Good Lord, I forgot that the Saints gave Jameis Winston $28M for two years; no wonder Sean Payton quit. They have Andy Dalton as a backup, but Dalton is better than Winston.

9:21— New Orleans just traded into #11 slot; they traded a 3rd/4th round pick to Washington to move up from 16th to 11th, so whoever they pick here is a guy they really want. 

Saints took WR Chris Olave, another WR from Ohio State; Buckeyes threw for 361+ yards in each of their last five games last year. Olave caught 65 passes for 936 yards, 13 TD’s; the guy the Giants drafted (Garrett Wilson) caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards, 12 TD’s.

NFL Network just had a commercial touting the 2022 schedule release, which is two weeks away. That’ll be a busy night for me, starting my handicapping. Thursday night games will be on Amazon Prime, which I actually never heard of until they announced that.

Tony Gonzalez just announced that Chiefs at Chargers is the Week 2 Thursday game, the first Amazon Prime game.

9:30— Lions just traded with NFC North rival Minnesota, dealing an extra 3rd-round pick to the Vikings, to move up from 32nd to 12th- they select WR Jameson Williams from Alabama. The 32nd pick Detroit dealt to Minnesota was the Rams’ pick that the Lions acquired in the Matthew Stafford trade.

It isn’t often division rivals make trades like that, but Detroit GM Holmes/new Minnesota coach O’Connell worked together with the Rams, so maybe that facilitated the deal. 

9:40— Eagles traded with Houston to move up to #13, hopping over the Ravens; Texans get a 4th-round pick and two 5th-round picks to fall back two slots. Philly drafts Jordan Davis, a very large defensive tackle from Georgia.

This is Pete Prisco’s analysis of the Giants’ selection Kayvon Thibodeaux:
“He is the best pure pass rusher in this draft. He has the explosive ability the Giants badly need. The question with him now is his character. Does he love the game? But I think he will get past any of that talk and become a dominant edge player. I love this pick.”

Whenever I see scouts questioning a player’s love of the game, I get queasy.

9:47— Baltimore is up next; they take Kyle Hamilton, a safety from Notre Dame. He is 6-4, 220, a big safety. Ravens also traded with Arizona to acquire the 23rd pick.

Baltimore traded WR Marquise Brown and a 3rd-round pick to Arizona for the 23rd pick; Brown played college ball with Kyler Murray.

9:50— Houston has the 15th pick; they took G Kenyon Green from Texas A&M, who can play multiple spots on the offensive line. Texans went 8-25 the last two years; they need lot of help, which is why they dealt with the Eagles to get extra mid-round picks.

9:57— Washington has the 16th pick; they take Penn State WR Jahan Dotson, who Jeremiah says has the best hands in this draft. Catching the ball is important for a receiver. They traded for Carson Wentz; now they’re giving him targets to throw to.

Dotson played for three offensive coordinators during his time at Penn State.

9:59— Chargers take OL Zion Johnson, who started his career at I-AA Davidson, but wound up at Boston College. They have a great young QB in Herbert; now they need to protect him.

10:02— We have another trade; Tennessee traded WR AJ Brown to the Eagles, for the 18th pick, plus a 3rd-round pick. Titans traded for Robert Woods, wouldn’t pay Brown, so he goes off to Philadelphia. Brown gets four years, $100M from the Eagles.

Someone posted a pic of AJ Brown working out with Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts four days ago, so this obviously has been in the works.

With that 18th pick, Tennessee takes WR Treylon Burks from Arkansas, whose comp on NFL Network, ironically, is AJ Brown.

New Orleans is up again; will be weird seeing them without Sean Payton on the sidelines. Last year, Saints threw for their fewest yards/game since 1997. Quarterback is an important position.

10:12— Saints select T Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa.

Steelers are up now; no quarterbacks have been taken yet.

Used to know a guy who openly mocked me for watching/enjoying the NFL Draft; never quite understood why it bothered the guy. Everyone likes different stuff, but this is an industry with 32 teams worth an average of $3B each, and some teams are just so much better than others in this process, which makes it fascinating, at least to me.

By the way, Patrick Mahomes has a career record of 58-16; he was THE TENTH PICK in the 2017 draft. Mitch Trubisky was the #2 pick; that is why this is also interesting.

10:18— Steelers, who haven’t won a playoff game since 2016, take Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, who sat out his team’s bowl game, so he wouldn’t get hurt. Mitch Trubisky/Mason Rudolph are also Steeler QB’s. I wouldn’t have taken Pickett under any circumstance. Quarterbacks have to lead their team into battle, not opt out of a game to avoid injury.

Steeler great Franco Harris announced this pick; this fall will be with 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, which I remember because it happened on my birthday. My 8th grade basketball team also lost 34-17 that day- I had nine of our 17 points, which tells you how bad our team was (we finished 1-13).

10:23– Chiefs just traded up with New England, to move up from 29th to 21st; Kansas City takes Trent McDuffie, a CB from Washington. Raiders added Davante Adams, Denver added Russell Wilson; pass defense is more important now than it was in the AFC West.

10:28— Green Bay is up; they select LB Quay Walker from Georgia, who helped the Dawgs win a national title last year. Aaron Rodgers probably just tossed his remote.

Last time Packers drafted a WR in the first round was 2002; NFL Network guys are referencing a scene from A Few Good Men, because all the top WR prospects have already been taken. “I’m not Markinson, are you Markinson?” 

10:35— Lot of trades; Ravens traded into this slot, then just dealt the pick to Buffalo, which takes Kaiir Elam, a CB from Florida.

Ravens get an extra 4th-round pick to drop down two slots. Everyone is Buffalo’s draft room is wearing shirt/tie. No bueno.

10:38— Dallas is up; Jerry Jones’s grandson is sitting there in the Cowboys draft room. He’ll probably own the Cowboys long after I’m dead and gone. Must be nice to be rich.

Watching Hard Knocks last summer, I was totally unimpressed with Mike McCarthy; this is the best guy the Cowboys can get as head coach? He has a good record, but he also coached Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott, two pretty good quarterbacks.

There are so many people in Las Vegas for this; has to be a great night to be a pickpocket.

10:43— Dallas takes Tyler Smith, a tackle from Tulsa, who apparently got called for a lot of penalties in college. Tyler the tackle from Tulsa; say that three times fast.

Just saw a sign on TV for the Mirage Casino and I got hungry; they have a Carnegie Deli in there, where they make the best sandwiches ever. They were so big I asked for extra bread and made two sandwiches out of each one. They also have Dr Brown’s cream soda, which is tremendous.

10:50— They just showed the Ravens’ draft room; you could see their white board, with all the players’ names listed. Surprised they allowed that to be shown. Baltimore finished last in their division for first time since 2007; they lost so many close games— I’d make them a candidate for a big bounce back season this year.

10:53— Ravens took C Tyler Lindenbaum from Iowa; long time ago, Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz was OL coach of the Browns, before they moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. This guy was also a wrestler, which helps offensive linemen.

Jets just dealt a 5th-round pick to Tennessee to move up to 26th in this draft; this will be their third first round pick. It has been 22 years since the Jets had this many first round picks.

Jets take edge rusher Jermaine Johnson from Florida State; Daniel Jeremiah had him as a top 10 player, and he was the 26th pick. He transferred from Georgia to Florida State in college, now he’s a first round pick.

11:01— Jacksonville just traded with Tampa Bay to move up a few slots; Bucs get the first pick in tomorrow’s second round. Jaguars select Devin Lloyd, a linebacker from Utah who has been wearing sunglasses in the green room for the last three hours.

Stanford coach David Shaw has high praise for Lloyd, so good pick for Jacksonville. His comp on NFL Network is 49ers’ LB Fred Warner.

11:14— Green Bay has another pick; coach Matt LaFleur is 39-10 in regular season games, 2-3 in the postseason. Packers take Devonte Wyatt, a DT from Georgia. Both of Green Bay’s first round picks come from national champion Georgia.

Green Bay won the Super Bowl after the 2010 season; since then, they’re 7-9 in playoff games.

11:20— New England is up now; they take G Cole Strange, who played at I-AA Chattanooga. Daniel Jeremiah said he thought he was a 3rd round pick. New England thinks differently than other teams. Rich Eisen just made a Boston reference from Good Will Hunting; it is getting late.

11:22— Chiefs just took edge rusher George Karlaftis from Purdue, which is nice, seeing how he is actually there. It would suck to sit there for four hours and not get picked.

He used to be on the under-16 team for Greece’s national water polo team. Seriously. He has only been in this country for eight years, which is interesting.

I can’t really swim and I can’t see a damn thing without my glasses, so water polo has no appeal to me.

11:26— Cincinnati has the next pick, the second/last pick tonight; they take Daxton Hill, a safety from Michigan who is versatile.

News: Giants are not picking up QB Daniel Jones’ 5th-year option, which helps prove that the new regime in New Jersey knows what they’re doing.

11:33— Last pick of the night belongs to Minnesota; they select Lewis Cine, a safety from Georgia. Do the Dawgs have any players left in Athens? Five defensive players from Georgia have already been taken.

Only one quarterback got taken. Unusual.

Damn, what are all these people at the draft going to do now? It is 8:40 on a Thursday night in Las Vegas. Hopefully they can find some fund stuff to do or some good food to eat. 

Saturday’s Den: 20 of my favorite non-sports movies

In honor of Weekend at Bernie’s being on TV tonight. Here are 20 of my favorite non-sports movies (in alphabetical order)
Begin Again— A down-and-out music executive discovers a young singer in a New York City bar; the two go into business together. James Corden is excellent as the young lady’s friend from back home in England. If you like music, you’ll like this movie.

The Bodyguard— A former Secret Service agent becomes the bodyguard for a famous singer, but the singer thinks he works too hard at protecting her, until her attacker kills her sister.

Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wuhl, Ralph Waite (the father on The Waltons) have bit parts.

Bulworth— A suicidal politician puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters. In the meantime, he falls head over heels for a young lady, who turns out to be hit the hit man who was hired to kill him.

Halle Berry, Jack Warden, Don Cheadle, Paul Sorvino, Wendell Pierce; excellent cast.

Cousins— Two married people find out their spouses are having an affair with each other, which brings them closer together.

End of this movie has the two main characters (Ted Danson/Isabella Rossallini) sailing off into the sunset together. 26 years later, the final scene of CSI has William Peterson/Jorja Fox sailing off into the sunset. Very similar scenes.

Danson/Peterson were both in Cousins; they were also both head of the crime lab on CSI.

Danny Collins— An aging rock star discovers a 40-year-old letter written to him by John Lennon; he then decides to look up his son in New Jersey, who he had never met.

Quality cast: Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening.

Dave— Guy who runs a temp agency is hired by the Secret Service to become a momentary stand-in for the President of the United States- they look exactly alike. Then the President has a stroke, and the stand-in finds his role extended indefinitely.

Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Charles Grodin, Frank Langella, Ving Rhames, Kevin Dunn, Ben Kingsley. Quite a cast.

Fabulous Baker Boys— Two brothers play smaller clubs as dueling piano players; their business picks up when they add a beautiful, up-and-coming singer to their act. Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer; Jeff/Beau Bridges are the two brothers.

Good Will Hunting— A young janitor at M.I.T. has a gift for math, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Robin Williams is great in this as the psychologist; Matt Damon is the math whiz, Ben Affleck plays his friends who offers good advice now and then. Minnie Driver plays a Harvard student who is surprised that she is attracted to a janitor from south Boston.

Last Vegas— Four senior citizen friends throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal. Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen. Quite a cast.

Leap of Faith— A huckster preacher is stranded in a small town when his tour bus breaks down; they set up their tent and put on shows in a smaller down suffering through a drought.

Steve Martin, Debra Winger, Liam Neeson, Meat Loaf, Philip Seymour Hoffman. I’m a huge Steve Martin fan; this is some of his best work.

Let It Ride— Richard Dreyfuss plays a cab driver/degenerate gambler who gets a hot tip on a race horse and wins big, and for one day, he can’t seem to stop winning.

If you’ve spent any time at the track, you’ll laugh hard at some of this stuff; Dreyfuss is great, with help from David Johansen, Jennifer Tilly, Robbie Coltrane, Teri Garr.

Lost in Translation— An aging movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo, where the movie star is getting paid a 7-figure sum to do whiskey commercials. Bill Murray is great in this non-comedic role; Scarlett Johansson is his new friend.

Molly’s Game— The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game after she quit skiing. This movie is a continuation of the book she wrote to help pay all her legal bills.

Book/movie are both excellent, helping prove that real life is stranger than fiction. Idris Elba, Jessica Chastain are the stars of the movie; Kevin Costner has a small role as Molly’s father.

One More Time— Christopher Walken plays a fading singer who plots his comeback, while dealing with two adult daughters with a sibling rivalry.

Oliver Platt is in this movie; he’s been in a lot of good stuff. Bulworth, A Time to Kill, The West Wing, just to name a few. Quite a resume he has.

Prince of Tides— A high school football coach from South Carolina comes to New York City to meet with his sister’s psychiatrist, after the sister threatens suicide. Because it is a movie, the two of them fall for each other, even though both of them are married.

The scene at the dinner party with the expensive violin is the best part of this movie.

Great cast: Nick Nolte, Barbra Streisand, George Carlin, Blythe Danner, Kate Nelligan.

Rounders— A young gambler who quit after being cleaned out returns to playing big stakes poker to help his sleazy friend pay off loan sharks.

Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, John Turturro, Martin Landau make up an excellent cast. The guys who wrote this movie also write Billions, the Showtime series.

Searching for Bobby Fischer— A sportswriter realizes that his 7-year old son is a chess prodigy, then struggles with how to help his son realize his potential.

Back in junior high, I loved chess and my last name is Fischer— this was about the same time that Bobby Fischer was a world champion at chess, so I was a big fan, although Bobby Fischer turned out to be kind of a wack job, albeit the best player in the world.

Joe Mantegna is the sportswriter, Joan Allen plays his wife. Laurence Fishburne, Ben Kingsley play the kid’s two chess mentors, who have vastly different philosophies.

Excellent movie about chess, and also about how parents push their kids, whether that’s the right thing to do or not.

A Star Is Born— A famous singer discovers a young singer in a drag bar; the two become friends, as her career takes off, while he struggles with personal problems. 

This is the fourth time this movie has been made; this version is very similar to the 1954 version, with James Mason/Judy Garland.

Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga are the stars; Andrew Dice Clay adds a lot to the movie as her father.

This is Where I Leave You— After their father dies, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof for a week. 

My dad died in 2015; when I came home from the funeral, I put the TV on and this movie was on HBO, first time I had ever seen it, which was a little weird.

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Connie Britton, Corey Stoll, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda. Impressive cast.

Weekend at Bernie’s— Two young men are trying to make their way in business; when they go to the president of the company with a serious financial error on a printout, he pretends to be thrilled and invites them to his beach house for the weekend. He actually plans on having them killed, to keep his chicanery out of sight.

The boss gets murdered because he is messing around with his work partner’s wife; the two guys then pretend Bernie is still alive, because they think they’ll get blamed for his death otherwise.

I didn’t explain that very well, but the movie is on Sundance tonight. Very funny. 

Saturday’s Den: Random baseball trivia……

13) Pitching has certainly changed a lot; from 1952-55, Robin Roberts started 154 games; he finished 118 of them, going 97-52 in those four seasons. 154 starts in four years is 38.5/year; most anyone would start now is probably 32 or so. 

12) In his Hall of Fame career, Tony Gwynn was intentionally walked 203 times; he hit only 135 home runs. 

11) Pretty sure I underestimated how productive Frank Thomas was in his career; seven years in a row, he walked 100+ times, scored 100+ runs, knocked in 100+ runs, hit .300+. 

10) Mike Mussina took five no-hitters into the 8th inning, but never threw a no-hitter. Too bad he wasn’t around for the 7-inning games in doubleheaders couple years ago.

9) Ichiro Suzuki is the only player ever with 200+ singles in a season; he did it twice. Ichiro led the American League in singles ten years in a row.

8) There are seven father/son combinations in MLB history, where both father/son made an All-Star team and father/son played the same position. 

7) Hall of Famer Larry Walker was a hockey goalie growing up in Canada; one of his teammates was NHL great Cam Neely. Walker has three brothers: Barry, Carey, Gary. His parents must have a good sense of humor. 

6) Tris Speaker was a centerfielder who, in his career, pulled off six unassisted double plays. Not sure how an outfielder did that, but he did. 

5) In 1947, Johnny Mize hit 51 homers, struck out only 42 times; I’m guessing he never heard of the term “launch angle”. 

4) Of all the players since 1961 who had 3,000+ plate appearances, these players had the best batting averages:
.338 Tony Gwynn
.331 Roberto Clemente
.328 Wade Boggs

3) In 2015, Max Scherzer came pretty close to Johnny Vander Meer territory; he threw a 1-hit shutout, giving up a 7th inning single. His next start, he threw a no-hitter, the only baserunner a hit batsman with two out in the 9th inning. 

2) Remember Phil Niekro, the great knuckleball pitcher? Turns out one of his childhood friends was NBA great John Havlicek, who apparently wasn’t very good at catching knuckleballs. 

1) Three guys who today might have been passed over in the amateur draft:
1,390th pick— Mike Piazza
574th pick— John Smoltz
511th pick— Ryne Sandberg

Going forward, amateur draft will only be 20 rounds; scouting becomes even more important now, to find the kids who fall through the cracks.

Thursday’s Den: Happy Opening Day…….

13) Two Opening Day games were already postponed until Friday by weather; Boston-New York, Seattle-Minnesota. 

12) Cincinnati Reds released OF Shogo Akiyama, eating $8M in process; Akiyama hit .224 for the Reds, with no homers and 21 RBIs in 142 games. 

11) Cleveland Guardians signed 3B Jose Ramirez to a 5-year, $124M contract extension. 

10) I said the other day the that #7-seed UConn in 2014 was the lowest-seeded team to win the national title in basketball; the 1985 Villanova Wildcats were a #8-seed- they upset Georgetown to win the national title that year. 

Since today is Opening Day of baseball season, here is my starting nine of baseball movies:
9) League of Their Own— Tom Hanks manages a team in a female professional baseball league, with Madonna as an outfielder, Geena Davis as the catcher.

Janet Jones is a pitcher for Racine; she is now better known as Mrs Wayne Gretzky. Jon Lovitz is great as a scout for the league. David L Lander is an announcer; he is best known for playing Squiggy in the old Laverne & Shirley TV show. 

8) Trouble With the Curve— Clint Eastwood is an aging baseball scout whose old-school ways are at odds with modern thinking. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Amy Adams are also in this underrated movie. 

7) Bad News Bears— Walter Matthau is a Little League coach in California who turns his team around by recruiting an old girlfriend’s daughter to be his team’s pitcher. Tatum O’Neal plays the pitcher; in real-life, her half-brother is Patrick O’Neal, who these days does pregame shows for the Angels and the Anaheim Ducks. 

6) The Rookie— True story of a high school baseball coach in Texas who tells his team he’ll try out for the major leagues if the team makes the playoffs. The team makes the playoffs and the coach winds up in the majors; story would be a little sketchy, except it is true. 

5) The Natural— An older ballplayer comes out of nowhere to help a struggling team make the playoffs. Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs; Wilford Brimley is great as the manager of the New York Knights. Movie was filmed in Buffalo, where the Bills used to play before they built Rich Stadium.  

4) Little Big League— 12-year old kid inherits the Minnesota Twins after his grandfather dies; he then names himself the manager. Shaky premise but a good movie, with several big leaguers in it. 

Ashley Crow plays the kid’s mom; in real life, her son is Pete Crow-Armstrong, a first round pick of the Mets in 2020— he is now in the Cubs’ farm system. 

T3) Bull Durham— Susan Sarandon is a baseball groupie who has an affair with one player every season; when this movie was made a long time ago, the Durham Bulls were a Class A farm club. These days, they are the Tampa Bay Rays’ AAA farm team, with better pitchers than Tim Robbins.

T3) Major League— Owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely terrible team so they’ll lose and she can move the team to Miami. Movie was made before anyone realized that a baseball team in Miami was a bad idea.

Bob Uecker steals the show as the team’s radio announcer; Charlie Sheen is the relief pitcher, Tom Berenger the veteran catcher. 

2) For Love of the Game— A Hall of Fame pitcher at the tail end of his career saves his best game for last. Kevin Costner is the pitcher; JK Simmons is the manager, John C Reilly is the catcher. 

1) Moneyball— I’m an A’s fan; what did you expect? Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, GM of a major league team that succeeds despite having a cheap owner. 20 years later and the same stuff is still going on.