I watched the Charlie two-fer last night, duh winning! Most people remember, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn from the hilarious baseball comedy, Major League, but do you remember Sheen as Oscar ‘Hap’ Felsch in the docudrama, Eight Men Out? Let’s get to Eight Men Out first.
This movie is very well paced and if accurate very telling of Charles Comiskey’s greed. Comiskey was the anti-Steinbrenner, not willing to open his pockets for his team at all. The bonus for making it to the World Series was flat champagne. Eddie Cicotte won 29 games for the “Black Sox” that season and went to Comiskey for a $10,000 bonus for winning 30 games. “Commie” pointed out that “29 was not 30, Eddie.”
What Eight Men Out illustrates more than anything is the arrogance of baseball players, thinking that they were above the law and would just get away with it. When the jury proudly finds the team not guilty, the eight “Black Sox” all expected to play baseball next season and win the World Series. Instead, the commissioner that the owners put in charge saw it differently and they were banned from baseball.
It’s not only and indictment of what happened in 1919, but it fits with the steroid scandal that took place in baseball a few years ago.
One of the other things that I think Eight Men Out proves is that curses do not exist. The reason I say that is shouldn’t a team that threw the World Series have been damned to baseball hell; instead the White Sox won another World Series in 2005 proving that curses are a farce or more accurately put; an excuse.
The only crime in the banning was that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and George “Buck” Weaver were banned from baseball. They played their hearts out and were banned for being in on the meetings about throwing the Series.
Major League is comedy gold as sports comedies go, and definitely a baseball classic. The new owner of the Cleveland Indians wants to put together a team of has-beens and nobodies to get the attendance under 800,000 to move the team to Miami.
The phone calls that new GM, Charlie Donovan, places to players and potential manager, Lou Brown are comedy gold. I’ve probably seen the movie at least 30 times and still laugh out loud. “Hey Lou, Charlie Donovan, GM of the Cleveland Indians, how’d you like to manage the Indians this season.”
“Ah, Charlie, I don’t know let me get back to you.”
“It’s a chance to manage in the big leagues!”
“I’ve got a set of white walls to change, I’ll let you know.”
Lou Brown played by James Gannon steals the show, he’s an old school manager who’s managed the Toledo Mud Hens for 30-years. He has the best lines that always are laugh out loud. In a way, the Indians are in the same spot now as they were back in the 80’s when Major League was filmed.
Based on Sheen’s current troubles it’s kind of ironic that his character was in jail when the movie starts.
Again, as in most sports films there’s an underlining theme, and this is the cliché, “there’s a reason they play the games.” This team was assembled to lose and they win the division, not to say that any modern teams have been assembled to lose but there have been some surprises over the years.
Comedy Central is airing Major League next weekend on the 10th and 11th, I suggest you watch if you’re looking for some good laughs.