CATEGORIES Movie NewsIt's been 20 years since Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez decided to lace-up his P.F. Flyers and "pickle The Beast."
Sunday, April 7 marks the original 1993 release date of "The Sandlot," the classic that celebrates the joys of baseball, summer, and a child's wild imagination. The movie centers around new kid Scotty Smalls and the make-shift baseball team he joins -- despite never having picked up a baseball -- that plays every day at the same sandlot. After a homerun leaves them with no ball to play with, their summer takes an unexpected turn and puts them face-to-face with the kid-eating dog they've dubbed "The Beast."
In honor of the anniversary of one of the greatest baseball tales ever told, here are the 20 things we love most about "The Sandlot."
20. It provides the ultimate in summer nostalgia. One of the many reasons why "The Sandlot" holds sentiment for so many people is the undeniable way it reminds us of the best parts of summer. The movie is set in 1962, but the feeling of freedom that comes with summer resonates with everyone no matter what year it is, or what age you are.
19. One of the greatest things about summer is baseball (of course) and this movie is basically a love letter to the game.
18. Scotty Smalls. It's hard not to love how clueless Scotty, aka "Smalls," is about everything baseball-related.
17. And it's even harder not to love how appalled his newfound teammates are about it.
16. When it came to expressing his disbelief about just how clueless Scotty was, no one did it better than the team's catcher Hamilton "Ham" Porter. One of his most famous lines from the movie was "You're killin' me, Smalls!," and we love him for it.
15. Getting back to Smalls, who can forget when he attempts to learn how to play catch with his stepdad, Bill (Denis Leary)? He ends up with a black eye and a frozen steak on the face, but, as Bill points out, at least he kept his eye on the ball!
14. Camp out! When the rag-tag Sandlot team was not on the field, they were camping out in their awesome treehouse.
13. Part of the reason we love it is because the treehouse was right above old Mr. Mertle's yard, where "The Beast" guarded stolen baseballs and the bones of the children he ate.
12. Which leads to another thing we love about "The Sandlot": the boys' wild imaginations.
11. Michael "Squints" Palledorous. No other team member's imagination ran wilder than Squints's. He famously told Smalls the story of "mean old Mr. Mertle" and his man-eating junkyard dog that was sentenced to be locked up FOREVER. He painted a picture of a colossal animal that ate people, "bones and all."
10. We love that this is what "The Beast" really looked like.
9. The only other thing the kids of the sandlot tolerated doing besides playing baseball was swimming at their local pool and checking out the "pool honeys," with whom they had no shot.
8. That is, until Squints snaps. We love that after years of watching the ultimate pool honey, lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn, "lotioning and oiling, oiling and lotioning," he couldn't take it anymore. So, Squints put a plan into action. He makes his way to the deep end and fakes drowning to get Wendy to administer a little mouth-to-mouth (naturally). After a few minutes of laying there like a dead fish, Squints gives his friends a wink and plants a kiss on Wendy.
7. We also love that (SPOILER ALERT) Squints and Wendy ended up married with nine kids.
6. The Fourth of July scene. As a kid, the Fourth of July was magical: block parties, barbecues, and fireworks that lit up the night sky just enough to sneak in a night game.
5. "You play ball like a girl!" While we don't agree with the insinuation, when Ham hurls this comment at a snooty rival team during an insult-exchange, the shocked expressions on all the kids' faces are awesome.
4. The carnival scene. After the sandlot kids beat that rival team in a pick-up game, they celebrate at a carnival and decide to do what all the big-leaguers do: chewing tobacco. Seconds after they stuff the tobacco into their cheeks, they get on a ride that spins, and spins, and spins. Bad move. The team gets sick and throws up all over the ride and its riders. It's gross, but hysterical.
3. Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez. Benny was the oldest and best player on the team. He took Smalls under his wing, and taught him the game when the rest of the team just saw him as an "L, Seven Weenie."
2. We love that Benny managed to "bust the guts" out of a ball he hit, which lead to what we love most about "The Sandlot"...
1. "Pickling The Beast." After Benny destroyed the team's only baseball for the day, Smalls decided to borrow his stepdad's ball. It was just autographed by "some old lady" named Babe Ruth, so, no big deal! OK, kind of a big deal. After Smalls hits his first homer into The Beast's yard he reveals who signed the ball, so the team knows they have to get it back. After failed attempts using vacuums, catapults, and erector sets, Benny takes the matter into his own hands, dons his P.F. Flyers, jumps the fence and pickles The Beast. His mad dash around town, trying to out-run the monstrous dog leads the team to realize that "The Beast" aka Hercules is actually a mush -- a big, slobbering mush.