As America’s national past time, the sport of baseball has contributed to some of the most beloved family films in past decades. The Field of Dreams bridged fantasy and sports films, while 42 shed light on social issues through the lens of baseball. Clearly, baseball can tug at the heartstrings of audiences.
For millennials, there’s one clear standout baseball film: The Sandlot. Not only did it lead to some unforgettable quotes, such as ‘You’re killin’ me, Smalls’ and ‘Legends never die’, but it also produced unforgettable characters, from Ham to Squints to The Beast.
Some have even said that the film helped renew interest in baseball. Many who grew up mirroring Ham’s antagonist point into the outfield while at-bat or dreaming about Cindy Peppercorn are now dedicated baseball fans themselves. They might not have turned pro, but many stay up-to-date with World Series betting odds and dive into stats on the regular to keep their fantasy team lean.
The MLB seems to know this, too. Nearly three decades after the film’s release, some fans are pushing for the baseball league to host a special event game at the field where The Sandlot was filmed in Utah. Given The Sandlot’s success, it’s likely to be penciled in during the coming years.
A Pop Culture Grand Slam
As a pop cultural knockout, The Sandlot diehards are likely to get their wish. The film is a testament to the power of sports—many hail it as the best movie of a generation—as well as the poignance of growing up.
Some, like Courtney Lindley of Bustle, believe the movie is successful because it’s a coming-of-age tale. Baseball is only the medium through which Scotty Smalls and his friends grow closer and encounter The Beast.
The Sandlot wasn’t afraid to mix up a few elements. First, the film was set in the 1960s, adding a familiar yet unique setting. Second, it covered an underdog who wasn’t bullied by the all-star player (well, not for long). As mentioned above, spunky characters and a few unforgettable lines have carved The Sandlot into the hearts of many.
And it’s not just a hit within the realm of film and nostalgia. The Sandlot outperforms similar films in terms of merchandising… thirty years later. The Sandlot-themed retail is available right now from groups like Etsy, Teepublic, Amazon, Walmart, and specific sites that cater to The Sandlot nostalgia, from Sandlotvintage to Sandlotsports301.
Travelers who head to Salt Lake City can even visit the field where the film was made. Located in the Glendale neighborhood, the lot hasn’t seen the same level of tourism as the Field of Dreams in Iowa, but that could change depending on the MLB’s plans to recreate the infamous field for an event.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment