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.